Now in its third year, Winterstorm is a rock festival held in the pretty seaside town of Troon in Scotland. I had the pleasure of going last year and it’s one of the first festivals I’ve been to which really gets stuck into being eco friendly without jumping on the greenwashing* trend we’re seeing so much of at the moment. Basically, it’s green because it is, not because it wants to sell tickets on the back of it. A quick glance at their website shows very little sign of promoting just how much of a social conscience they have so I thought I’d do it for them.
- They support local businesses. Running a local business is hard when you’ve got the global corporate machine to compete with so it’s great to see a festival taking pride in supporting local businesses. The food at the festival is provided by local bakers Brownings (trust me, The Winterstormer Pie is not to be missed), the bar is provided by local boozer The Harbour Bar and the laundry is done by Scottish laundry company Fishers (seriously, rockers get through towels). Supporting local businesses also reduces the carbon footprint of the festival as less transport is involved.
- They clean the beach. . One of the great things about Winterstorm is the fact that even though it’s an indoor event, it’s near a beautiful beach. Whilst many festivals clear their hangovers with a hair of the dog, this one organises a beach clean up in the morning. What better way to get rid of the cobwebs than with some sea air? We make a ridiculous amount of mess as human beings so it’s only fair we clear up after ourselves.
- They get the kids involved. There is a real family feel to Winterstorm with lots of activities for under 18s. The artists spend time mingling with fans and it’s great to see them interacting with a younger crowd too. The environmentally friendly aspect of the festival is something which kids get involved in too so as they grow up, these things will likely become more important to them. This little lady was the star of the show for many last year and rocked out harder than most of us! Winterstorm also offers free tickets to youth groups between selected hours. It’s much better to hang out at a rock festival with your mates than play computer games all day!
- They’ve banished plastic straws in favour of paper straws. The enemy of every eco warrior under the sun, single use plastic straws are the work of the devil. I used to use them myself until I saw the devastating effect they have on our marine life when I saw one lodged in a turtle’s nose. It brought me to tears that I may have contributed towards that just because I didn’t want to smudge my lippy on a gin! If you don’t really care about this then head over to this video here and you’ll soon change your mind (be warned, you need a strong stomach.)
- Those cups. One of the most iconic photos from last year’s Winterstorm is the sight of a Winterstorm cup. The aftermath of many festivals is a sea of plastic cups and they’re just not necessary! Winterstorm brought in these branded reusable plastic cups which many festival goers are using at home! The only way to get a drink was to get one of these for £2 (I think that’s how much it was). Once you’d finished with it, you could either trade it in and get your money back or just keep it as a souvenir which most folk did to be honest. A great memento from a festival and you know you’ve done your bit for the environment. A small price to pay I’m sure you’ll agree.
- They support local talent. Supporting local talent is super important and as well as the festival itself, Winterstorm hosts gigs throughout the year showcasing local bands. Aside from this being awesome, it again reduces the carbon footprint of the festival. This isn’t to say there isn’t a place for international acts (there absolutely is) but by selecting them carefully and not filling your festival bill with them, you get the best of both worlds.
In short, Winterstorm is a festival on the rise with a social conscience to match. They’re putting some of the bigger festivals to shame. I can’t wait to see what else they come up with. Tickets are pretty much nearly gone (unsurprisingly) but you can find out more about Winterstorm here. If you’re lucky, you might be able to get your hands on one of those last remaining tickets.
So what do you think guys? Are festivals who care about the environment more appealing to you? Let me know in the comments…
*Look it up but basically, it’s folks spending more money on advertising how green they are than actually being green!