How music festivals are responding to the climate crisis

To launch a new series on RA dedicated to electronic music and the climate crisis, we explore the different ways that festivals are tackling their environmental footprints.

At Glastonbury festival last weekend, Sir David Attenborough, the environmentalist and documentary maker behind Blue Planet and Planet Earth, strode onto The Pyramid Stage to address the thousands of people gathered there. «This great festival has gone plastic-free,» he said. «That is more than a million bottles of water that have not been drunk by you. Thank you. Thank you.»That Glastonbury’s decision to go plastic-free should earn praise from one of the world’s preeminent environmentalists shows the role festivals can play in our response to the climate crisis. On a simple level, music festivals have significant carbon footprints, and efforts to mitigate them are necessary. More intriguingly, though, festivals are an apt testing ground for new ideas in sustainability. Whether it’s Glastonbury’s ban on plastic, the «circular waste economies» at We Love Green and DGTL, or the many other initiatives at events like Gottwood, Terraforma and Meadows In The Mountains, more and more festivals are trialling bold new methods of sustainability, in some cases winning awards for them. It’s an encouraging sign of how dance music can play a positive role in the world’s response to the climate crisis.In this film, we look at a small selection of electronic music festivals rising to this challenge, and examine the ways they’re pushing sustainability practices forward.