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Rock Werchter sets sustainable festival bar high

Belgian event aims to set the standard of environmentally friendly festivals with a plastic straw ban, bicycles and green energy

By Molly Long on 01 Jun 2018

Belgium festival, Rock Werchter

Fans at Rock Werchter in 2017

image © Nele Bigare, Rock Werchter Festival

Organisers of this year’s Rock Werchter are aiming for it be the most sustainable in the festival’s history. A series of measures have been put in place for the upcoming festival which aim to lessen the impact of the event on both the local environment and the wider world.

Plastic consumption is the issue of the moment and Rock Werchter, promoted by Live Nation Belgium, intends to shine a spotlight on the use of plastic at festivals at this year’s event. After continued success, the festival will once again roll out its drinks token trade-in scheme.

Organisers of the event have underlined their desire to reduce and replace environmentally unfriendly aspects of the festival. Echoing sentiment felt around the world, this year’s festival will be a plastic straw-free zone. Additionally, green energy will power much of the festival this year, replacing many of the diesel generators the festival has relied on in the past.

For many years, Rock Werchter has encouraged festivalgoers to use local public transport and reduce their reliance on cars to and from the event. Every Rock Werchter ticket comes with a complimentary train ticket and shuttle buses are used to ferry people from the surrounding stations.

“2018 is the ‘year of the bike'”

However, this year will see the festival turn more of its attention to its park & ride schemes. According to organisers, 2018 is the ‘year of the bike’. Ticket holders will be able to use park & ride services free of charge – providing they pedal their way to see headliners like Pearl Jam and Arctic Monkeys.

But perhaps the initiative that will make festivalgoers the happiest, is the sustainable sanitary facilities. Vacuum toilets were introduced into the festival in 2015 and according to the organisers, are easy to keep clean and practically odourless. As well as being less offensive to the senses than the average festival toilet, vacuum toilets also use markedly less water and water can be treated onsite.

This years initiatives are just the start of a longterm sustainable plan for the festival. Next year will see organisers produce their first sustainability status report and a comprehensive plan of action will follow.


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