Please Festival Responsibly

The places we gather to celebrate art, life, and music are special places that receive a great deal of impact from our festivities.  Teams of volunteers and staff work hard to clean up the grounds every morning after the late night shows.  

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So whether you prefer bluegrass or electronic, it’s generally agreed upon that festivals are excellent for dance, making friends, and enjoying the outdoors. They are also an excellent opportunity to practice Leave No Trace.  

Here are some impact hacks to help you be a star on the dance floor through Sunday night. Planning ahead and preparing is the most important way to get you there. Before you leave, do your research.  

Plan Ahead and Prepare, Leave Waste at Home

  • Read the festival’s rules on their website.  Many festivals do not allow glass of any kind at the venue.  Some festivals do not provide eating utensils or cups through their vendors, you need to bring your own.  Other festivals ban glow sticks due to being a high source of litter. Reusable battery power light up toys are cooler anyways.  This helps all of us dispose of our waste properly by having less.

  • We are inspired by our neighbors at String Summit who did a microtrash sweep around their camp every morning while enjoying their coffee.

 

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Get Festive and Comfortable... and Be Nice to Plants

  • What’s the weather doing?  Is there shade or shelter at the event?  Whatever the forecast does say, still bring sunscreen and something warm to wear at night... and a chair. You will be glad you did.

  • Is there a theme for the festival?  Plan your costumes accordingly with the themes and weather.

  • Bring solar powered lights and charging stations to sustainably illuminate your camp long into the night.  There are even some awesome solar powered decorations out there.

 

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Leave the Venue How You Found It

  • Hanging tapestries and festive lights around camp is a beautiful way to up your festival game.  Find alternate ways hang these like webbing and cord that can be removed afterwards, rather than nailing into the trees.

  • Hanging in a hammock between sets is a relaxing part of every festival.  If you are putting up a hammock for a few days, use wide straps to minimize cutting into the trees' cambium. minimize squeezing and cutting into the tree’s cambium.  Putting some cardboard or other padding between the bark and straps will help reduce your hammock’s impact on trees.

  • While wandering the labyrinth between the stages and tent-city, make sure to keep on trails and camp on durable surfaces.  The plants that make festival venues magical can be fragile and are habitat for animals when we aren’t there partying.  

Mmm...Food

  • How are you going to clean your dishes?  Find out at the venue what is the best way to properly dispose of your greywater.  

  • Think of simple to cook and simple to clean meals for you and your friends (and neighbors) to enjoy.  Buying food at farm stands or markets near the venue is a delicious way to contribute to the local economy.

  • Hygiene: hand sanitizer, extra toilet paper, and baby wipes.  Do I need to paint a picture of why these might become essential - at the same time?

Finally, the best way to have that magical festival experience is to take care of yourself and take care of your neighbors.  Festivals are marathons, not sprints.  Drink water, make sure your friends are drinking water too.  Bring extra hand sanitizer, sunscreen, and food to share.  Check in on others who may have boarded the struggle bus and offer a helping hand.  Finally, contribute to the creativity and love that festivals inspire.  

 

 

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We hope you all have a wonderful festival season practicing these Leave No Trace tips.

 

Have Fun. Be Safe. Leave No Trace.

 

Leave No Trace’s Emy Gelb and Alex Roberts are part of the 2016 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, REI, Fjall Raven, ENO, Deuter, Thule, and SmartWool.