It’s been a couple of weeks since Glastonbury ended but I’m still revelling in the positive energy. It’s just a happy place, like Never-Neverland but without the threat of pirates. It was my forth time at the festival, the first was 2007 – one of the wettest and muddiest on record yet still I had the time of my life. I wouldn’t put up with five days without showering anywhere else, but at Glastonbury I couldn’t care less. At Glastonbury anything goes, and for a few days you can just focus on pure, hedonistic fun.
As much as I don’t feel a need to justify blogging about such adventures, I will pull it back to the theme of my blog – its eco/green credentials. Clearly when 170,000 people descend on an area normally left as fields, it’s going to have some kind of impact, but Glastonbury has its roots in the free festival movement (some might say hippie) and as such remains committed to limiting negative effects on the environment wherever possible. After lazy campers left behind a bumper crop of tents in 2007 leading to the death of one of Michael Eavis’s cows after it ingested a metal tent-peg left in the soil, the Festival devised its ‘Love the Farm, Leave No Trace’ campaign. The campaign encourages and reminds revellers to respect the environment and clear up after themselves. New initiatives in 2008 included biodegradable tent pegs handed out free to all campers and biotractors running on waste vegetable oil. These new efforts were rewarded with The Greener Festival Award in 2008.
This year, the festival organisers pushed hard for visitors to make use of public transport. Those who arrived by bike (as one of our crew did) had their own camping field complete with nice showers. And it wasn’t just the party-goers who were targeted; they also ran Green Trader’s Awards, commending traders for energy efficiency, ethical trade and sustainable food. Greenpeace used their presence at Glastonbury to highlight the plight of the Arctic. Sadly, I missed it but they had an Arctic Dome which offered people the opportunity to disappear through a crack in the ice and take a magical 15-minute trip to the North Pole, where ice towered and the Northern Lights danced, amazing! 4,000 people signed up to the ‘Save the Arctic’ campaign, the same one which had six female activists scale The Shard in London last week.
As always Oxfam had a strong presence at the festival, providing more than 2000 stewards who volunteered their time to help the smooth running of the event. The festival was the charity’s biggest opportunity of the summer to encourage people to show solidarity for the people of Syria who are suffering an unprecedented crisis. Oxfam asked visitors to show their support for the campaign by posing for photos sharing a heart symbol, wearing a badge, having their face painted and, most importantly, signing the charity’s petition. They collected 10,000 signatures over five days. They also had not one, but three Oxfam shops selling on manner of vintage clothes, accessories and fancy dress.
There’s so much to see at Glastonbury, you could never see it all. I had a fantastic time and was really sad to leave, but then I realised real-life is pretty awesome too and although Never-Neverland is great for a visit, I couldn’t live there forever, could I?