Unless the venue for your favourite festival or sporting event is in your town, attending is likely to involve travelling an unusually long distance. Emissions generated by audience travel to music venues was estimated in 2008 to account for at least 43% of the music industry’s environmental impact, so it’s worth considering your options carefully.
Almost any mode of transport is greener than flying, but if you absolutely have to, a non-stop flight is greener, and keeping your luggage light will use less fuel.
Any other communal form of transport is likely to be greener, so look at the options in each particular case. If you can use rail transport for the whole journey, that’s likely to be both greener and more comfortable, but don’t forget to consider any transport to and from railway stations. Big festivals like Glastonbury offer shuttle transport, but don’t rely on this without checking first.
Road transport has a greater impact, but communal forms of transport can reduce this, while also contributing to reducing traffic congestion by up to 25 cars per coach, so you’ll spend less time inhaling fumes. If you can do the whole journey on a coach with other festivalgoers, that’s often your best bet. Coach travel is between 4 to 6 times more environmentally friendly than taking a car, but also look for a company that makes a point of servicing your chosen event.
National Express runs coaches direct to most major UK concerts, festivals and sporting events. Happy Bus specialises in UK music events, particularly gigs.
Big Green Coach covers UK and European festivals and sporting events. Its green claims are based on a scheme of sponsoring Peruvian rainforest to offset their carbon emissions.
If you’re in Brighton, you can also consider The Big Lemon, a Community Interest Company running both local buses and festival transport on used cooking oil collected from local restaurants.
Sometimes the location of the event, or your home, means you can only really contemplate travelling by car. If you have to do this, try to at least offer or find a lift share. Websites like Liftshare.com’s FestivalBudi are a great idea if your own network of friends doesn’t turn up a potential sharer. This has personal safety implications, of course, so always make sure your first meeting is in a public place, don’t give out your address or other details until you’re sure, and let someone else know your plans. Anyone decent will understand if you decide not to travel with them after all.
Cycling to a festival is an increasingly popular option. The Green Gathering in Chepstow even offers an organised cycling option from Bristol this year – you can have your gear carried for you and get a £10 reduction on your ticket into the bargain.