The Guardian festival blog: Tents, toilets, transport: eco-friendly festivals tackle the unholy trinity | Music

by Nosheen Iqbal
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When Chris Johnson first started putting on outdoor parties with his mates, they were small, impromptu and shambolic – or “really good fun”, as he puts it. Seventeen years later and he and the same four university friends are still pioneering in their field of partying, albeit Shambala is now a four-day festival in rural Northamptonshire with 15,000 people that has set an industry standard for its eco-credentials.

“We’re a purpose-led organisation, the point of it existing is to contribute something to the world,” says Johnson, “and the environment is an important part of our outlook; we have a responsibility – but also an chance to experiment.”

The festival now uses 100% renewable power from a mix of vegetable oil and solar power units, has eradicated disposable plastics, and became fully meat and fish free in 2015. “It caused a storm initially,” says Johnson, “but the appetite is there. This year…


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