Be More Sustainable at Music Festivals!


Festival season is officially here! One of our favorite things about summer is how much more live music there is to enjoy. Tennessee is full of music festivals of all sizes and genres such as Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Pilgrimage Festival, and Lightning 100‘s very own (and free!!) Live On The Green. While soaking up the sun with friends and live music is a great way to spend a weekend, it isn’t always great for the environment. Here’s some tips and simple switches for ways you can be more sustainable at music festivals this season! 

Ditch plastic water bottles!

Single-use plastics like water bottles can cause some pesky problems at music festivals. Plastic bottles easily turn into litter, and having to hold onto them all day can get rather annoying. Hydration backpacks serve as the perfect fix! Most music festivals will allow smaller hydropacks as long as they are empty with fewer than two pockets. Once you’re inside, you can fill the pack at water stations. Now you have water with easy access, a place for your belongings, and you’re reducing waste! 


Food can sometimes be a difficult department to be environmentally friendly in, but even small initiatives contribute to the greater good. When shopping for snacks, see if there are any plastic free options. If not, try opting for a larger size and portion out servings into reusable or compostable food storage bags. Bringing your own reusable plates and utensils cuts back on excessive plastic waste, too. Many festivals are starting to make the switch to compostable utensils along with providing compost collection bins for food waste. Be sure to be aware of your festival’s food waste systems so that as little food is wasted as possible! 

Say no to fast fashion

Festival fashion is a perfect way to express yourself and your style! While it can be very tempting to buy cute new outfits just for festivals, this often leads to overconsumption and supporting the fast fashion industry. Try forming fun, fresh outfits from items you already own, or borrow something from a friend! If you must buy new festival clothing, buying vintage or thrifting is a great way to spruce up your wardrobe without hurting the planet. Nearly 85% of clothes end up in landfills—don’t let your festival ‘fits be part of that! 

Sustainable sparkles

Glitter is a staple for so many festival-goers every year. While we love how it makes us sparkle and shine, we don’t love how bad it is for the environment! Glitter particles are often too small to be filtered out of water, contributing to tons of microplastics infiltrating and harming ecosystems. But there are still ways to get your glitter on without harming the planet! Biodegradable glitter brands such as Eco Glitter Fun allow for guilt-free glitter use so you can shine! 

Follow festival sustainability guidelines

Climate change measures and pushes to be more sustainable are happening around the world, and many music festivals are following suit as well. This year, Bonnaroo has multiple sustainability efforts including Planet Roo, a center featuring a solar powered stage and activities such as gardening, using compostable dining utensils throughout the festival, and many other measures. Bonnaroo uses $1 from each ticket sale to dedicate to their sustainability. Many festivals like Bonnaroo also offer waste sorting programs such as Clean Vibes. These funds helped the Bonnaroo convert nearly 180 tons of trash into compost in 2019! These programs let volunteers offer a few hours of their time in exchange for tickets to attend the festival. 

Leave no trace

This is especially important if you’re attending a camping festival, but applies to really any scenario. Don’t litter, and leave your occupied spaces better than you found them! Tents are one of the most common things left behind at music festivals; many usually then end up in landfills. If you don’t want your tent, don’t ditch it! Instead, pack it up with you and look into organizations that will donate them to people in need. There are also biodegradable trash bags available to keep your clean-up as eco-friendly as possible! 

If you’re attending festivals this summer, be sure to be informed on their own unique sustainability measures so you can enjoy music and help the planet. When everyone does their part to help out even a little, so much progress can be made! Let us know what tips you’ll be using to be more sustainable at music festivals, and let us know which fest you’re excited for!


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