When it comes to festivals the first one that pops to mind for a lot of people would be Glastonbury; Glastonbury Festival was held intermittently from 1970 until 1981; since then, it has been held every year, except for “fallow years” taken every five years, intended to give the land, local population, and organisers a break. Glastonbury is that one festival most people dream of going to, and this year I finally get to go!
It’s around six weeks to go, and the stage set up is well on its way…
But this got me thinking… what an earth happens behind the scenes? How do they get SO much electricity there? How many people work on site?
So my research began, and I was really impressed with what I found; Glastonbury is rather sustainable, not that this surprised me. Back in 2010 Michael Eavis installed an array of 1,116 solar panels on the roof of a cowshed at Worthy Farm, the site of Glastonbury Festival. It is the largest private solar power installation in the UK, providing enough power for 40 homes. During the festival, it will only replace about 6 diesel generators, but during the year, it will offset a great deal of the energy provided by the remaining fleet of over 200 diesel generators. Prior to this, in 2009 the Diesel Generators were supplied by Advanced Diesel Engineering Ltd. The power generated is enough to power the city of Bath and the Pyramid Stage is powered by 4 generators itself!
I then spoke to friends that have been to Glastonbury or ones that are heading there for the first time this year and I got some really interesting points! One friend told me the Michael Eavis’ Wi-Fi transmitting tractor was around in 2013, but he isn’t sure if that’s still a thing! And they take a very green approach to most things, a lot of traders use generators to power stands, but the organisers also offer a discount to their pitch if they invest in solar panels. Another friend said ‘If only you could generate energy from the utter madness at Arcadia!’ wouldn’t that be fabulous!
I chatted with the chap who will be attending Glastonbury for the fourth time this year about how it all works and he said if he was really honest, he hadn’t really thought about where the electricity comes from as you kind of just take it for granted that it will be there! He did mention that there were signal boosters around the site for those that wanted to use mobile phones.
I also did a very quick hour long poll on my Twitter to see how my followers thought power was generated at festivals and here’s their responses:
There are over 4,000 toilets and their water supplies come from various sources including two reservoirs holding up to a crazy two million litres of water! And they have over 2,000 volunteers organised through charities such as Oxfam that work the festival. The volunteers are paid with free entry , transport and food, and their wages they would have earned go directly to the charities. In 2005 (a little outdated I know!) Oxfam received around £200,000 from working in partnership with the festival.
On 28 August 2015 it was announced that hundreds of pairs of discarded wellington boots from the 2015 festival were donated to the migrant camp at Calais. They do ask you to take your tents with you as that would take a hell of a lot of volunteers to take them done but they do love to recycle onsite. In 2014 the Festival recycled 114 tonnes of composted organic waste, 400 tonnes of chipped wood, 23 tonnes of glass, 85 tonnes of cans and plastic bottles, 41 tonnes of cardboard, 162 tonnes of scrap metal, 11.2 tonnes of clothing, tents, sleeping bags, 0.264 tonnes of batteries, 3 tonnes of dense plastic, and 0.25 tonnes plastic sheets. That’s a huge 983 tonnes of waste that were recycled or diverted from landfill.
Pretty interesting facts!
Source for featured image.