Festivals: Come, have fun, but please, please clean up after yourself
Sound Off: Body & Soul festival director Avril Stanley on festival sustainability
Body & Soul festival director Avril Stanley: “Festivals are wonderful occasions, but that doesn’t mean you have to abandon all rules of common decency when it comes to cleaning up after yourself.”
Every summer festivals across Ireland take over hundreds of fields, forests, beaches and places of natural beauty. Festivals are, of course, all about celebration but increasingly I see people attend as guests rather than participants, without any sense of responsibility towards the land that is hosting them.
We’re incredibly lucky to call Ballinlough Castle – with its 300-year-old walled gardens, forests and lakes – our home for Body & Soul, but each year we spend weeks restoring it to its former state in the wake of our festival.
We’ve been very lucky, we have an increasing number of Body & Soulers staying in our Us&You campsite where they commit to leaving no trace, but this level of participation is the exception rather than the rule and it’s something we’re desperate to change.
After we leave the fields leased from landowners and farmers around the country the regular tenants return – the animals. Next time you think about leaving behind the remnants of your festival weekend give a thought to the cows, sheep and horses that might step on or swallow your rubbish.
Bring your tent
We equally implore you not to leave your tent behind. While there’s been misinformation circulating about charities coming to take these after you leave this is almost never the case. Tent fibres can clog up recycling machines, and so all tents that are left behind end up in landfill.
Festivals are wonderful, joyous and life-changing occasions, but that doesn’t mean you have to abandon all rules of common decency when it comes to cleaning up after yourself and respecting your surroundings.
We make a huge effort to ensure that we return the land to the Nugent family of Ballinlough Castle as we found it, and implore festival-goers across the country to take the same approach. Change happens from the inside out. Help us turn the tide.