Guys! It’s November 12th! You know what that means, I’m sure… 266 days until folk fest!
I KNOW, RIGHT.
I’ve lived in Edmonton my whole life, attending the festival on and off as a little kid until a few years ago when my friends and I decided to really commit to going for the full weekend. I would say it’s probably the highlight of my year every time I go. Spending four days in the ever-so-scenic Gallagher Park, basking in the view of Edmonton’s city skyline, folking it up from the comfort of a low-backed lawn chair, I mean, what’s not to love about that?
Above all, the aspect of the festival that impresses me most every year is how well-organized it is. Considering that music festivals have a tendency to leave behind immense amounts of trash due to the apathy of their patrons, it pleases me to know that my favourite festival is actively making an effort to avoid this with their “Keep It Green” campaign.
Sixteen years ago, the festival joined forces with a composting company called “Cleanit Greenit” to help make the most of all the organic waste generated every year. Essentially, Cleanit Greenit accepts all sorts of material and processes it all into organic soil. I did some research and was surprised to learn just how much the the festival can compost. They require all food tents to use biodegradable packaging, so all the cutlery, glasses, and straws are corn-based and will eventually be composted with the rest of the food waste (even the cups in the beer gardens are 100% renewable!).
Additionally, the event runs a reusable plate program to further avoid wasteful packaging. Rather than using paper plates, the EFMF purchased 5000 washable plates for which festival patrons pay a $2 plate fee upon purchasing food, but are then refunded that toonie when they return their plate. Through such a system, the festival was able to facilitate a “No Styrofoam Policy” which I’m sure Mother Earth is thankful for.
I’M STILL NOT DONE.
So not only does the event compost just about everything, but they also do a fantastic jobof maintaining the site throughout the weekend. Every morning, a team of youth volunteers called “EnviroPower” arrive bright and early to sift through the park and pick up any garbage that was left overnight. Throughout the day, they have a Site Environment Crew to look after the hill and the neighbourhood surrounding the site. Furthermore, after the festival, the EFMF team actually takes the time to restore the grass throughout the park, so as to rid it of any potential folk fest damage.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE.
Okay so while it is a music festival and the use of electrical power is kind of inevitable, I am pleased to inform you that folk fest does their best to keep it to a minimum. One of the ways they’re able to do that is in their merchandise tents, where all of their cash registers run on solar power and they only use fluorescent light bulbs. Nothing like reduced electricity emissions, am I right?
As if we needed any more reason to love ye olde folk fest, it is quite arguably a model green event. I wish other music festivals would take up the same eco-friendly practices, but perhaps that will happen soon enough. In the meantime, there is always room for improvement and I’m quite confident that the Edmonton Folk Music Festival will continue to find ways to tweak its environmental impact. If any of you would like to brainstorm such ideas with yours truly, you know where to find me in 266 days.
“Keep It Green”. Edmontonfolkfest. np, 2015. Web. 12 November 2016.
“Cleanit Greenit Composting System Inc.” Cleanitgreenit. np, 2016. Web. 12 November 2016.
Kowalchuk, Kristine. “Edmonton’s Folk Fest is a Green Music Event”. davidsuzuki. The David Suzuki Foundation, 8 August 2011. Web. 12 November 2016.