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Cambridge Folk Case Study

Cambridge Folk Festival: Measuring and tackling travel impacts

Cambridge Folk Festival have just joined Energy Revolution and will be pointing their audience to our travel carbon calculator to measure and balance the carbon emissions from their journey. The team Cambridge Folk Festival take their environmental impacts seriously and have been working year on year to cut their travel impacts and a first and vital step. Here their environmental consultant Liz Warwick talks about how they have focused on reducing the carbon emissions from audience, crew and supplier travel. 

“Held in urban green parks, Cambridge Folk Festival is close to bus routes serving the train and main coach/bus stations and the City centre. To promote audience use of public transport we offer a free bus pass for the return trip from the stations and a free shuttle bus between the campsite and festival. As we’re not far from the city a significant number of attendees walk or cycle with plenty of cycle spaces provided. 

For the last few years the Festival has built up a social media/ communications campaign and enhanced internal processes to promote eco awareness, including sustainable travel, actively promoting public transport, car share options available and locating nearby electric vehicle charging points.

In 2019 Cambridge is partnering with Tuned In Travel, a specialist travel operator, to offer dedicated coaches and minibuses to cut down on individual car use. The Folk Festival is also partnering with Energy Revolution to offer the audience the opportunity to carbon balance their journey miles. 

We closely monitor and record the impacts of transport to pinpoint areas we need to tackle – each year new ideas for increasing sustainable travel at Cambridge Folk Festival are reviewed and put into action.

Recent detailed transport measurement and analysis has shown:

  • Car use at 60% (down from 74%) 
  • Staff and contractor car passes decreased by one third by encouraging car share and low carbon travel.
  • Traders’ and caterers’ travel emissions reduced by 30% over 2 years due to the actively selecting more local suppliers – saving over 2 tonnes CO2e.
  • Car share at about 4% of audience travel.
  • 10% audience walking and nearly 7% cycling.
  • Public transport used by 11% of the audience

Find out more about Cambridge Folk Festival at their profile HERE.

Photo credit: Ollie Millington for Cambridge Live

Energy Revolution join Julie’s Bicycle and Believe Music at the Great Escape 2019

Energy Revolution is heading to The Great Escape 2019 to join the teams from Believe Music Group and Julie’s Bicycle who are hosting a discussion on how to empower artist and industry action on climate change within the music sector.

The session, runs from 4-5pm at Believe Social @ Dead Wax Social, 18A Bond Street Brighton BN1 1RD – it will focus on the recent work of artist Novo Amor, who in 2018 released his album Birthplace with a commitment to make the tour and album more environmentally responsible. 

Hear Dave Grinnell, senior marketing manager at AllPoints / Believe and Chiara Badiali from Julie’s Bicycle in conversation: They’ll talk about how the Believe team worked to bring environmental sustainability into the album campaign and manufacture, the impact that it’s had at Believe Music Group and what they’re doing to green their operations, and how Novo Amor worked with Julie’s Bicycle and Energy Revolution around his tour.

Register for the session here

Association of Independent Festivals Launch “No Single Use Tent” Campaign

Organisers of more than 60 independent festivals across the UK, including many Energy Revolution festival members, have issued a call to retailers such as Argos and Tesco to stop marketing and selling ‘festival tents’ as single-use items, which result in almost 900 tonnes of plastic waste every year.

The call comes as part of a new initiativefrom the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), which has also launched a consumer-facing campaign urging festival-goers to ‘Take Your Tent Home’ and ‘Say No To Single Use’. AIF members include some of the biggest and most well-known independent festivals in the country such as Shambala, Boomtown Fair, Boardmasters, Kendal Calling and End Of The Road.

AIF estimates that each year 250,000 tents are left at music festivals across the UK. Most aren’t collected by charities and can’t be recycled, meaning the vast majority end up in landfill. The average tent weighs 3.5kg and is mostly made of plastic – the equivalent of 8,750 straws or 250 pint cups.

Major retailers have a history of selling cheap tents marketed specifically for festival-use.

Research by Comp-A-Tent, who have been researching festival waste and testing solutions since 2015, suggests that as many as 36% of tents left at festivals are bought from either Argos or Tesco. As part of its ‘Festival Season’ range, Argos offers a four-man tent for £29.99, a sleeping bag or £9.99, an airbed for £14.99 and camping chair for £7.99 – a total of £62.96 (1). Amazon also offers two-man tents for festivals for as little as £19.99 (2).

Research from environmental charity Julie’s Bicycle says that the carbon impact of manufacturing a 3.5 kg tent that ends up in landfill is 25 kg CO2e (3).

AIF’s ten-year report, published in 2018, revealed that 9.7% of people attending its member events had ditched a tent during that year’s festival season, equating to an estimated 875 tonnes of plastic waste – the equivalent of 70 Routemaster buses or eight blue whales.

Whatsmore the “ditch” rate is higher for some other festivals, averaging 1 in 5 according to research with Love Your Tent, Bucks New Uni and AGF, in which case the actual plastic impact is even greater.

The AIF campaign includes an animated educational video that will be displayed across social media for all participating festivals, as well as assets being displayed on screens and at entrances to festival campsites throughout the 2019 season. The Take Your Tent Home campaign follows the Drastic On Plastic campaign, launched by AIF last year in partnership with RAW Foundation, which empowered 65 of the trade body’s member festivals commit to eliminating all single-use plastic at their events by 2021.

In 2018, the first year of the Drastic On Plastic pledge, festivals have reported some significant changes at their events: 93% of signatories ditched plastic straws, 40% banned the sale of drinks in single-use plastic on-site, 40% replaced single-use bar cups with reusable cups, 67% sold branded reusable drinks bottles, and 87% promoted the use of reusable bottles.

AIF CEO Paul Reed said: “We call upon major retailers to stop marketing and selling tents and other camping items as essentially single-use, and profiting from disposable culture. AIF launches this campaign to raise awareness and highlight abandoned tents as part of the single-use plastics problem. The message here is not to buy a more expensive tent – with a single tent carrying the same amount of plastic as more than 8,700 plastic straws, festival audiences can take positive action and reduce their carbon footprint simply by taking their tent home and reusing it, ensuring that it doesn’t become a single-use item this summer.”

Chair of Powerful Thinking Chris Johnson said: “We’re finally waking up to the climate crisis en masse. The stuff we use is part of the problem – everything has an impact, usually hidden from the user. As festivals, we can work with audiences to inspire better decisions, reduce single use and waste, and minimise ecological damage at this critical moment in history.”  

Campaign partners:

Julie’s Bicycle:
RAW Foundation:
A Greener Festival:



(3) This figure is based on a lifecycle analysis undertaken by Julie’s Bicycle in 2017 on behalf of Comp-A-Tent, partly funded by Innovate UK and in collaboration with festival promoter Festival Republic, circular designer Sophie Thomas, and business developer Matt Elliot. It includes impacts from materials, manufacturing, distribution, and landfill, but excludes audience transport to the shops for buying the tent or transport to the festival site.

Just So Festival: campers arriving

8 ways to cut your festival travel footprint

When you think of the environmental footprint impact of festivals what springs to mind? A field marred by broken tents and discarded plastic bottles? The hum of a diesel generator at 3am? The weird blue chemicals in festival toilets…or the pollution to the water table from punters too busting to queue to use them…

These are all problems that impact on the environment BUT…  Did you know that the CO2 emissions from travel have by far the largest impact on the average UK festivals’ carbon footprint? Audience travel alone typically accounts for up to 60-80% of their footprint!  …and that figure will increase as we find out more about additional impacts of crew, supplier and artist travel.

Luckily there are easy ways that every festival-goer can help reduce their travel emissions and help their favourite festival cut overall emissions: 

1/ Buy a ticket that includes public transport: Many festivals offer coach + entry tickets – which means you get a discount on the cost of your travel – and you might even get an extra perk: Boomtown offer all coach ticket holders free early entry… and travelling with a coachload of friends means your party starts even earlier! 

Check out National Express, Big Green Coach or Tuned in Travel – who all provide coaches to many of the UK’s favourite events. If you go with Tuned in Travel have the added bonus of offering passengers the chance to offset or balance their emissions with a small donation to renewable energy projects through Energy Revolution. 

2/ Go by public transport: Look into train or bus routes – festivals usually provide all the info you need – and many even have deals with local bus companies meaning your travel from the station to site is free. The team behind Timber Festival work with local bus company Midland Classic to offer a bus route direct the site. Cambridge Folk Festival go the extra mile by offering free bus rides from the main bus and train stations onto site.

Worried about carrying all of your kit there and back? More festivals are offering affordable pre-pitched tents – check out tent provider with Camplight to see which festivals you can rock up to a ready-made canvas home from home. The Green Gathering have created a detailed Green Traveller Guide to the event and are working with Camplight who will throw in FREE hire of a thermarest and camping chair for every public transport traveller who books a tent with them. 

Some events even have onsite shops meaning you can lighten your load by saving your booze shopping until you’re there – Download, Latitude, and Reading and Leeds festivals all welcomed the Co-op into their grounds for the first time last year selling food, water, beer and wine, toiletries including medicines and, to cover all eventualities, both sun cream and rain ponchos! 

3/ Use leg power! Many festivals organise guided bike rides – which means all your festival kit gets delivered for you while you freewheel onsite to meet it! You might even get an extra perk – Shambala Festival offer free programmes to all those who arrive by bike! Red Fox Cyclingoffer guided rides to a number of events including Boomtown, Shindig Weekender, Bluedot, Wilderness, Timber Festival and many more…  

4/ Fill your car with friends! With four people in your car you cut your CO2 per passenger mile by 25%! Want to make new friends? Sign up to a lift share scheme and hop in someone else’s ride or pick up some travellers. Try LiftshareBlablacaror GoCarShare. Got a lot of friends? Consider hiring a minibus at Tuned in Travel offer a range of options to get your crew there in style. 

5/ Go electric! Electric vehicles (EV) are the way ahead with the government committing to making 60% of all vehicles manufactured EV by 2030. Don’t own one yet? Check out the benefits and find your perfect match at Go Ultra Low– they event offer grantsto help you make the switch. EV charging is also becoming available at events across the UK so you can hop back into your car for the return journey fully charged… check out S2VS who offer a meet and greet “valet” charging service for all types of EV at festivals. 

6/ Be a happy camper… Driving solo in a campervan is one of the worst things you can do – the CO2 emissions are, on average, over double that of a solo journey by car. Worryingly the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) 10-year reportshowed that in 2017, 38.34% of travellers arrived by campervan – if you’re going to bring yours remember to fill it with friends or leave it in the drive this year and look into other ways of getting there. 

7/ Drive efficiently: Over 70% of people still travel by car… if that’s you remember you can cut emissions by driving with care: Drive smoothly. Shift up early to a higher gear.  Switch off your engine instead of idling. Slow down! Use your air-con wisely – if you’re travelling below 60 mph opening the windows is more efficient. Check your tyre pressure. Lighten your load & ditch the roof rack: To learn more check out the Energy Saving Trust’s guide on fuel efficient driving for businesses.

8/ Balance your travel emissions: However you decide to travel you can choose to do something positive to balance the negative impact of your emissions. Of course, the first step is ALWAYS to cut emissions at source, but for unavoidable emissions you can calculate your individual journey’s CO2 and make a small donation to Energy Revolution – we’ll give 100% of your donation directly to projects that create clean renewable energy. Balance your travel here:

Photo credit: Ten Eight for Just So Festival

Green Gathering

Green Gathering’s Green Traveller Challenge

In the face of climate emergency, The Green Gathering is inviting festival goers to take a leap and become ‘Green Travellers’. The festival’s onsite carbon emissions are almost zero, an achievement recognised by the European Green Operations Group and the International Greener Festival Awards. The last big hurdle for organisers aiming to create a carbon neutral event is travel; in 2018 this accounted for 98% of The Green Gathering’s emissions!

Launched this spring, the festival’s Green Traveller Guide aims to empower ticket buyers to choose low impact transport. The Guide has tips for finding the best public transport deals, packing light, cycling and liftsharing. Incentives include complementary festival programmes, express shuttle bus from Chepstow railway station, free guided cycle rides from Bath and Bristol, and special offers on camping accessories courtesy of upcycled tent pioneers Camplight.

Choosing public transport can reduce a festival-goer’s emissions by up to 87%. By teaming up with Energy Revolution, The Green Gathering offers travellers chance to use a carbon calculator to compare modes of transport. There’s also an option to balance travel emissions by donating to Energy Revolutions’ renewable energy projects. In 2018, 100% of donations went to Solar For Schools, putting panels on school roofs and renewable energy education on the curriculum.

“Our aim this year is to directly reduce the carbon emissions of our festival-goers travel by encouraging and incentivising behaviour change. Once we’ve gone as far as we can with that, in maybe a year or two, we’ll focus on balancing travel through donations to Energy Revolution projects.” 

– Em Weirdigan, Green Gathering director

SMC coach hire

SMC Coach Hire passengers balance over 15,500 vehicle miles in first 6 weeks

SMC Coach Hire are one of the leading providers of coach and minibus hire across the UK. They are part of the National Coach Network Ltd, along with Energy Revolution supplier member Tuned in Travel – a transport company offering travel to some of the UK’s favourite festivals.

In 2018 Tuned in Travel balanced the CO2 from 100% of their staff travel miles and passenger miles with investment in renewable energy projects, and in March this year SMC Coach Hire decided to roll out the option for passengers to balance their travel miles at point of booking too.  Since the initiative when live on March the 4thover 3,000 passengers have opted in to taking part – with the result that over 15,500 vehicle miles carbon have been balanced in the first 6 weeks. 100% of these donations will be invested in projects that create renewable energy. 

At the National Coach Network we see it as our duty to be a driving force for an environmental revolution within the coach and minibus hire industries in which we operate. So naturally reducing carbon emissions, where possible, and offsetting carbon emissions are key objectives of ours. It is also something that our customers believe strongly about and we’re over the moon that there has been such a positive response. We’re proud to be working with Energy Revolution – with 2019 set to be our greenest yet!” Doug Grant, Marketing Manager, National Coach Network Ltd. 

Meanwhile, Tuned in Travel (also part of National Coach Network Ltd) continues to set an eco-friendly precedent for festival travel by guaranteeing to balance 100% of the carbon emissions for every booking. Find out more about Tuned in Travel’s commitmenthere.

DGTL Festival win AFG International Festival & Greener Transport Award

The debut International A Greener Festival (AGF) Awards recognised festivals from eight countries across three continents for their environmental practices at the conference earlier this month. Amongst the winners was DGTL Festival who won both the International Greener Festival Award, for their boundary-pushing work in reducing the event’s overall environmental impacts, and the Greener Transport Award for targeting reductions in audience, artist and production travel emissions.  

DGTL Amsterdam doesn’t only seek to reduce their environmental impact, but pushes boundaries to innovate, using the event as a test bed to find better ways that we can organise ourselves as individuals and as a society – Waste problem becomes resource solution. They have put sustainability at the forefront of their ambitions as an organisation. 

DGTL Amsterdam takes place across the water behind Amsterdam Central Station and has its own ferry service for three days. Being the culture of the Netherlands most people travel by bike – zero emissions transport!
Only 10% of the audience arrive by car and car occupancy is high. The event makes provision so that public transport and cycling are the cheapest and easiest options for people attending the event. Bikes are provided for production staff and electric “Stint” vehicles for production transport. Off site DGTL use Segways for litter collection and transport, being next to a dock means the festival can take advantage of river freight for deliveries. DGTL also measure and aim to reduce the artist travel impacts, beginning with ground transport efficiencies and lift sharing. 

Find out more about DGTL’s sustainability initiatives: HERE

Find out about the other festival winners of the International Greener Festival Awards HERE.

Photo Credit: Hanna Norlin

Boomtown Fair Travel Case Study

Boomtown Fair Tackle Travel Emissions

Boomtown Fair is set over four days in August, at the Matterley Estate in Hampshire. The first Boomtown took place in 2009 and it now attracts over 64,000 festival-goers annually. 

The team at Boomtown have a strong commitment to running the event sustainably. In 2016 they took the Festival Vision:2025 pledge to act on climate change, alongside 75 other UK festivals, pledging to cut the CO2 footprint of the event by 50% by 2025 and targeting areas such as fuel use, waste, food and transport. With audience travel accounting for up to 80% of the average festival’s carbon footprint, it is clearly a key area to focus on. 

Boomtown’s recognition of the need to tackle audience travel lead them to collaborate with the teams behind Kendal Calling, Bluedot, Shambala and Secret Garden Festival to set up Energy Revolution in 2015.

Realising that reducing travel related emissions is the first step, Boomtown have a number of initiatives in place to engage their audience and artists in travelling sustainably. They work with dedicated coach companies and promote discounted ‘Public Transport Saver’ tickets to their audience which include coach and shuttle bus travel and the option to arrive at the event a day early at no extra cost. In fact, everyone who travelled by coach, train, bike or shared their car (3+) is invited to arrive a day early! In 2018 they worked with Red Fox cycling to offer a guided 2-day cycle experience from Bristol to Boomtown and in 2019 they are extending their ‘Boomtown Bike Ride’ by offering a London – Boomtown route.

By incentivising sustainable travel in 2018 they encouraged 35% of audience arrived by coach or train.In 2018 Boomtown gave £1 from every audience car-parking pass to Energy Revolution to invest in renewable energy to help balance CO2 emissions. So far they’ve supported their audience in donating over £10,000 to balance their travel emissions. 

This year they want to increase this positive impact by giving the artists and contractors travelling to the event the chance to balance their travel emissions too.  In 2019 Boomtown are introducing a “Green Ambassador” initiative as part of the artist sustainability campaign for 2019. Artists can pledge to balance all of their travel to and from site in return for being awarded a green leaf emoji next to their programme listing.   

To benchmark travel data, identify new areas to tackle and to help quantify the success of their car-sharing incentive, Boomtown worked with Face Your Elephant to carry out a car park survey. Over two thousand vehicles were surveyed, counting the number of people, the number of vehicles and the fuel type from Wednesday – Sunday.  The results showed that Boomtown effectively managed to gain above average car occupancy on the Wednesday proving the early day entry initiative was successful. 

Find out more about Boomtown’ environmental mission here

100% of 2018 donations into Solar for Schools

Energy Revolution festival, audience, supplier and artist members balanced over three million (average car) travel miles from festivals and tours in 2018 – with all donations going to Solar for Schools projects across the UK

In 2018, our 50+ members – including UK touring artists, a growing number of festivals and their audiences, and suppliers – worked with us to record their travel miles to events and the associated carbon emissions, and then balance or ‘offset’ these emissions with donations to projects that generate renewable energy. 

This year 100% of donations will go to Solar for Schools, an initiative that puts solar panels on the roofs of schools in the UK, allowing them to produce low-cost clean electricity, while also educating children about the importance of a low carbon future.

New Energy Revolution members in 2018 included: Download and Reading festivals, produced by Festival Republic, who have long championed festival sustainability initiatives. They donated £1 from every car-parking pass sold to Energy Revolution.  Artist, Novo Amor joined the charity in 2018 to balance the CO2 from his 2018 European and North American tour travel. Festival travel provider, Tuned in Travel joined last year balancing 100% of the CO2 from passenger travel to events. 

Since we began in 2015 Energy Revolution has helped its members balance over 8.4 million average car miles – that’s more that 2.6 million kg CO2e – with donations in previous years supporting; reforestation and wind turbines in India and community-owned solar and wind projects across the UK. 

Energy Revolution’s original aim was to help our members balance 10 million travel miles by 2020, but, with growing commitment from the industry and more festivals, suppliers and artists joining the movement, we’re on track to reach the goal ahead this this year.

Ultimately we aim to create a grant-making legacy fund, which can support on-going work to reduce carbon emissions created by the festival and touring sector. Find out more about becoming a member

Bluedot sustainability


This year Bluedot have pledged to donate £10 to Energy Revolution for every 2019 weekend ticket sold throughout December! Bluedot has been working with Energy Revolution since the very beginning, when festival director, Ben Robinson, helped to found the project in 2015. 

Here’s Ben’s message to Bluedot fans… 

“As we approach the festive season, we’re more aware than ever of the environmental impact of this time of year.

Unwanted gifts, miles of wrapping paper and millions driving home to see family, all leave a carbon imprint that is having a huge effect on the planet.

That’s why this festive season for every weekend ticket you order for bluedot 2019, we’ll be donating £10 to EnergyRevolution, which invests in sustainable energy projects… This is just one part of a wider sustainability programme that bluedot will be co-ordinating year round, and we’d love you to be part of it.” We’ll see you in July! – Ben Robinson, Festival Director

Read more about the brilliant sustainability initiatives Bluedot have in place to cut their environmental impacts HERE