Festival Republic launching new environmental collaboration at Reading Festival

UK: Each year, tens of thousands of festivalgoers head to Reading Festival over the August Bank Holiday weekend and after, many leave behind their camping equipment. Festival Republic has announced a collaborative partnership with Knowledge Transfer Network and Julie’s Bicycle to tackle this environmental issue.
After every festival, volunteers take part in a salvage operation to scour camp sites, recovering tents, sleeping bags, and camping equipment left behind at the end of the festival. In 2013, 20 tonnes of reusable items were salvaged from Reading Festival camp sites and in 2014, 19 tonnes were salvaged.
The project will test festivalgoers’ interest in additional camping services, such as tent cleaning and packing away, designed to add value to tents and camping equipment, encouraging festivalgoers to treat their equipment better and ultimately take it away at the end of the festival.
A survey conducted by Festival Republic discovered that 30% of Reading Festival attendees left their tents and camping equipment, with 79% reasoning that they were ‘too tired’ after the festival, and another 59% viewed tents and camping equipment as ‘cheap and easily replaceable’.
To address this, Festival Republic, not-for-profit environmental sustainability organisation Julie’s Bicycle, outdoor and leisure retailer Blacks, and design and sustainability consultancy WeAllDesignare collaborating to understand this behavioural issue and to trial alternative services at Reading Festival 2015.
This group were brought together by the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) and their trial is made possible by a grant of £20,000 from Innovate UK.
Melvin Benn, Managing Director of Festival Republic, commented: “We’re extremely proud of our partnership with KTN and Julie’s Bicycle, tackling camp site waste is an issue we’re extremely focused on changing. This trial at Reading Festival 2015 will see brand-new services available that will aide keeping camping equipment in the long run. We’re excited for the outcome and moving this initiative forward.”
Alison Tickell, Founder and CEO of Julie’s Bicycle, commented: “Re-thinking our work so that environmental impacts are addressed as a matter of course is not only better for our planet – it’s better for our long term business prospects too. This project brings together the key protagonists who can help to make our festivals more sustainable, in every sense.”
Frank Boyd, Director of Creative, Design and Digital Industries at the Knowledge Transfer Network, which brought together the group, said:
“As is so often the case with a big challenge like this, the solution can be found when you bring together different expertise and abilities. The KTN exists to help bring businesses and people together for this very purpose. We’re delighted that the work we’ve been doing with partners on this problem has meant that, with the support of funding from our sponsoring body Innovate UK, we are bringing to fruition a project that could be transformative for festivals in the UK and beyond.”

For more information on Festival Republic, check out its official website.

Header photo credit: Dan Dennison