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Music Festivals Must Encourage Visitors to ‘Take Your Tent Home’.

Andy Robertson

As music festival season for 2021 starts taking shape with many organisers announcing dates and line-ups its timely to remind ticket buyers of the ‘Take Your Tent Home’ initiative. Started several years ago this initiative is still relevant today as it has always been and a gentle reminder by music festival organisers will do no harm. 

With the flood of cheap tents becoming available in Europe several decades ago it became easier and easier for event goers to ditch their festival tent when leaving the event because the initial outlay was so low. This culminated in huge volumes of abandoned tests at the end of every festival adding to the burden of festival organisers in dealing with clearing a site of rubbish post event. Most abandoned tents invariably end up in landfill sites or simply get incinerated with larger festivals incurring disposal costs of up to £100k.

Event goers have provided three main reasons for abandoning their festival tents: 

  • I'm too tired = 76%
  • They're so cheap = 73%
  • It’s broken =41%     

In May 2019 the ‘Take Your Tent Home’ campaign was launched to encourage event goers to do just that and say no to single use tents. Although at that time the plan was to eliminate all tent wastage by 2021 this may well be extended given the loss of 2020 for almost all music festivals. The reason that single use tents are an issue is the high percentage of plastic used in their manufacture with each weighing in at 3.5kg. With an average of 250,000 tents abandoned at festival sites each year this is no small problem. 

One of the driving forces behind tackling this issue is 'Comp-A-Tent' set up by Amanda Campbell who has developed real world useable solutions to the single use of tents at festivals. The initiative that is probably most useful to event goers is the ‘Pick Up a Pop Up’ scheme where event goers ‘buy’ a tent and sell it back at the end of the festival. The tents are cleaned and reused at the next event. This reduces wastage and provides a circular approach to reusing festival tents. Comp-A-Tent also provide a host of other initiatives to maximise the reuse of tents with distribution to charities and youth groups where they get a useful second life.

Whilst attitude is one of the most difficult human traits to change music festival organisers can really help by supporting the ‘Take Your Tent Home’ initiative and perhaps engaging directly with Comp-A-Tent to help manage possible solutions. Probably one of the key steps festival organisers can take is to increase publicity and publish policies regarding tents at festivals. 

For any music festival organiser planning their event this year using a software management platform like
Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their festival logistics and visitor communications. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors guestlists and ticketing. 

Image by WikimediaImages from Pixabay

Andy Robertson
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