It’s no brainer that when attending any kind of music festival that efficiency is the main goal for most, but sometimes things that are quick fixes can also be detrimental to the environment, and even to your wallet. The more cash and products that are bought and used, the less likely you are able to sustain them for future keep – in this case future festivals. BBC Earth reported noted that per UK festival goers is the equivalent of over 2.7kg (almost 6lbs!) of waste per day. Another article by FLOWATER also reported that in conjunction to 52% of Americans attending a live music event per year, the majority of these events sell single-use plastic water bottles – these festivals can contribute to 107 tons of waste, and only 20% of it are recycled.
DJ Eric Sharp, who’s been a house music artist for 16 years and who has an EP ‘Emergence’ dropping April 29, 2022, is well aware of the issue of festival sustainability. He’s performed at Coachella, SXSW, Outside Land, and even LA’s Sound Nightclub. His habits of maintaining health, spiritualism, veganism, surrealism, and freedom is more than just a lifestyle — it’s his day-to-day ethos.
Below, this guest post from Eric Sharp shares 5 easy ways you can be sustainable at any festival, while still soaking in all of the festival’s good vibes.
This is low-hanging fruit, but it is always helpful to have reminders. Meeting up with peeps and rolling to events together, whether driving ourselves, or sharing car services, conserves a lot of resources. It is also more fun, and if you have cool friends, it makes the party start before you even get to the venue.
Bonus tip: Uber now has an eco-friendly car option we can choose.
Many festivals will let you bring in your own empty bottle or hydration pack, so if that is an option, then it is the best one. Most festivals these days offer free, filtered cold water to make sure that their audiences stay safe and hydrated. While most nightclubs won’t let you bring a container in, many do have water stations where you can refill a plastic water bottle that you purchased on-site instead of buying a second, third, or fourth one.
Bonus tip: when you do finish at the club, ask the bartender if there is a recycling bin before you throw yours in the trash.
Let’s be honest: foam ear plugs are unattractive, uncomfortable, unsustainable, and muffle the music to the point where you can barely make out if you’re listening to David Guetta or Loco Dice. As a producer and someone who cares how the music I make sounds, I recommend high-end custom molded ear plugs, which provide an even decibel drop that allows you to hear music the way it was intended to sound. These can get pricey, so if you’re not willing or able to invest in them right now, there are also cost-effective reusable etymonic options on the market. These are a decent substitute for the custom ones.
The first and best place to shop is our own closets. Some of us, myself included, love retail therapy and new clothes, but getting a lot of use out of garments is the primary way to minimize our style footprint. It’s also fairly easy to find fashion-forward outfits second-hand. Not only are thrift shops abundant, but a bunch of online upcycling retailers are popping up. Buying clothes second-hand and selling or donating outfits instead of throwing them away is the next most sustainable option behind reusing them. Next up would be shopping from eco-friendly brands. If you’re going this route, just make sure that the company is actually walking their talk. It’s helpful to research brands through third-party rating systems to make sure that they aren’t just greenwashing their marketing.
A lot of the time we just fly through life and eating becomes a bare necessity rather than a thoughtful practice. Since consuming food gives us the energy to dance, this is an important place to focus on making sustainable choices. I’m not going to say that everyone should go vegan, although that is one of the best ways to lower your carbon footprint and water usage. Ok, maybe I am saying that everyone should go vegan… but I know that is not realistic. Even just lowering one’s meat consumption a couple of meals per week is an incredibly effective way to conserve environmental resources. Shopping at local farmer’s markets is both cost-effective and environmentally friendly because it reduces shipping emissions.
Beyond these tips, it’s most important to simply be mindful of where your food is coming from. This can include buying from local companies and sustainably run businesses, pesticide usage, etc. Choosing organic is another way to have a positive impact. It isn’t perfect, but it does help.
Bonus tip: compost when you can. There are a lot of free services where you can drop off your food scraps insteadof sending them to a landfill. Most people don’t know that throwing biodegradable waste out with the trash creates toxic greenhouse gasses.
These are just a few of the ways that we can up our green game when we are out partying. Festivals and clubs do use a lot of resources, and we have a long way to go on that front, but when each of us does our small part it makes a big difference. I don’t know about you, but I, for one, hope that this planet is here for a long time so that I can continue to shake my ass.