8 sustainable and eco-friendly European festivals you should visit
© Delfino Sisto Legnani
Party big, but leave a minimal environmental impact at these environmentally conscious music festivals this summer.
Just because they take place in fields and have a historically hippy rep, that doesn't mean that festivals are inherently eco-friendly. In fact, mini makeshift cities impose a shocking bounty of rubbish and greenhouse gasses on the planet – and that's not even mentioning the tonnes of ocean-annihilating glitter.
New festivals are emerging with a focus on big ideas for saving the planet, though, and already established events are re-thinking old habits. Here are some European festivals that are doing their bit to minimise their impact, while maximising their opportunity to educate the raving masses.
Where: Villa Arconati, Milan, Italy | Map
When: July 5–7
Sustainability is Terraforma's very raison d'etre. A far cry from urinating in streams and throwing away rubbish, here festival goers actively take part in restoring the festival space they inhabit, with the option of working on the rebuilding of a historical Labyrinth gardens.
A waste-management programme looks set to become the benchmark that all others will follow, with an investigative report following each event. Work is carried out with local young architects to build a space made from sustainable materials. Alongside three days of workshops and lectures on a range of big ideas for the future generations, music includes DJ sets from Bambounou, DJ Stingray, and Mica Levi.
Where: Archangelkade, Amsterdam, the Netherlands | Map
When: April 19–21
DGTL's goal is to become the world's first circular festival. At the heart of its manifesto lies its sustainable big three: reusable cups, a smart energy plan, and a meat-free menu. It sees the festival as an opportunity to learn, creating a mini-city within an abandoned shipyard in which forward-focussed eco-designs of the future can be tested out. The lineup is equally dynamic, with exciting dance music illuminati – including Honey Dijon, HAAi,Larry Heard, Bicep, and John Talabot – littering the bill.
Where: Secret country estate, Northamptonshire, UK
When: August 22–25
Shambala's tagline is 'Adventures in utopia', and the whole experience is unabashed in its change-your-outlook goals. The entire festival is powered by 100 percent renewable energy, plus it has recently gone meat and fish free. Also, Recycling Exchanges mean they recycle at double the rate of an average festival. This year's lineup is still largely under wraps, but expect circus acts, drag bingo, a kids area, and an activist hub alongside a reliably left field musical offering.
4. Green Man
Where: Crickhowell, Brecon Beacons, UK | Map
When: August 15–18
The Settlement, the site of this firm festival favourite, is renowned for its naturally beauty – a perfect reminder that this land is worth saving. And Green Man is all about making sustainability work for you.
Its website reminds you that reusable stacking cups are 'brilliant for carrying five pints at once', cigarette butt pouches are provided, while nappies even get their own special bins. Its big plan for waste has a double benefit, with festival-goers encouraged to donate their unwanted food and camping equipment to a team from Help Refugees at the end of the festival. Imagine the sheer joy of not carrying your tent all the way home! Music comes courtesy of the likes ofFour Tet, A Certain Ratio, Father John Misty, and Sons of Kemet.
5. EDP Cool Jazz
Where: Lisbon, Portugal | Map
When: August 8–31
EDP is Europe's largest electricity provider, so there's a serious reputation on the line when it comes to proving green-minded credentials. The company do this each year by pledging to completely neutralise the carbon footprint of the event, including the travel of all artists. Star-studded summer soirees take place throughout the month of July in two lush outdoor locations just outside Lisbon. Take your pick from a stellar lineup, including The Roots, Tom Jonesand Kraftwerk.
Where: Aarhus, Denmark | Map
When: June 6–8
Since starting out in 2010, it's always been this progressive festival's goal to be 'the world’s most green and sustainable cultural event'. Similar to Terraforma, Northside aims to, as it puts it, Lead The Way. This means that after each festival, a report is produced considering ways that it can continue pushing boundaries in festival management for a green-hungry age. At the festival itself, Trash Talkers help you sort your rubbish into six sections, the food is 100 percent organic, and there are no car parks on site. Lineup announcements so far include Migos, Kaytranada, The Streets, New Order,andTame Impala.
Where: Worthy Farm, Somerset, UK | Map
When: June 26–30
When the cows make way for over 200,000 hedonists, sustainability at the largest greenfield festival in the world is equal parts important and hard to pull off. The Eavis family's efforts have become increasingly commendable over the years.
Alongside the legendary long drops, you'll find multiple stages run on cooking oil, one of the largest solar panels in the country, and 1,300 recycling volunteers. Attempts to minimise the aftermath impact include monitoring of local water supplies, and the planting of more than 10,000 native trees. This year’s big ticket announcements include Stormzy, Kylie and Janelle Monae.
8. We Love Green
Where: Le Bois de Vincennes, Paris, France | Map
When: June 1–2
You can see We Love Green as a very well-soundtracked sustainability summer camp. At the Think Tank lab, all ideas on aiding sustainable development are gratefully received, and you'll be brainstorming alongside leading NGO heads, entrepreneurs, and campaigners. At the Residence Workshop, meanwhile, the next generation of design students get the opportunity to submit eco-design ideas for the festival that could see them mentored and funded for the next edition. Its lineup includes the most innovative offerings in current big name pop, including Kali Uchis, Christine And The Queens, Future and FKA twigs.