How to be a conscious festival-goer?

Image of happy girls at a festival

The season of conscious festivals in Hong Kong is in hiatus now.

In the first half of 2018, Hong Kong was spoiled with IRIS, Conscious Festival by Green is The New Black and The Conscious Collective, where sustainability and consciousness were both discussed and executed to an extent that the city can be truly proud of! We have to wait until September for the next edition of IRIS, but meanwhile we can tour around a countless number of festivals across Europe, the United States and SE Asia and have a true blast enjoying music, food and the company of our loved ones and random, happy people we cross paths with.
However, in the midst of chilling, raving and festival-romancing we should not forget ourselves, our bodies and our planet. We’d like to give you some tips on how to be a more conscious (and prepared for every occasion) festival-goer.

Ready? Rave on! Read on… that is.

1. Remember your raincoat!

Fooled ya! We bet you all thought we would start with reminding to bring your reusable xyz to the festival (not until point 3, ha!), but raincoats are a pretty big deal. If you don’t bring one with you, you will probably end up buying a single-use rain-cape that your mildly intoxicated self will end up losing or throwing away in the end of the night.
And now imagine the whole festival doing that… Got the picture? Oh right, you can’t see beyond all the plastic.

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

2. Cut the… crown

Yes, a head-wreath does give you that carefree, summery boho look, but maybe it’s time to think about what the “floral” wreaths are made of? It’s plastic, dears! Of course, if you happen to live somewhere by a beautiful meadow, go all the way and try making a wreath yourself (and please do send us pictures of that!).
For the non-braiders: if you want to hold your hair back or simply pimp your outfit, try using a cotton bandana. We got a beautiful headband from Agape International Missions: an organisation based in Cambodia supporting and re-employing the survivors of sex-trafficking.
Same applies to other accessories like bracelets or chaplets - they are most likely made of plastic and meant for single-use only, so maybe this festival season you can get by without.

3. your own bottle, cup, straw and cutlery

We are fully aware of the fact that there is nothing more inconvenient that carrying stuff with you at a festival. Therefore this point was edited from also encouraging you to bring your reusable container for festival food (super cool of you can and want to!). However we do believe that everyone can fit a straw and a spork in their backpack (or even fanny-pack!), and we would strongly encourage you to do so.

Obstacle! There are festivals where water-refill facilities are not installed. Like WE THE FEST in Jakarta, that we went to recently. You can either be hard-core activist and go to medical points (calmly sneaking in next to those who actually need medical assistance) asking to fill up your bottle with water or you can buy it in plastic bottles that you will make sure to recycle afterwards.
Nonetheless, the most important is to get enough water and stay hydrated. Nothing is more unsustainable than passing out of dehydration!

4. Refuse the gadgets

Train your assertive self and say no to fans, balloons, key-chains and other items that will be offered to you. You will most likely never look at them again after the festival, and they will still be piling up in the landfill even by the time your grandchildren start going to festivals.

festival gadgets.jpg

Bonus tip!

We can’t stress this enough: a single biggest way to impact our planet in a positive way is to stop or reduce eating meat and dairy. What you could do this festival season is try going vegetarian or vegan, even if it’s just for one meal each day. Who knows, maybe you end up liking it!?

Ethical tip!

Think of how you dress and what your outfit and behavior represents. Read this article by Lucy Hollamby from A.C.F. Clothing and don’t be oblivious to the hidden (or sometimes rather obvious) meaning and impact of your fashion choices.

Shiny-tip! We do get that you want to pimp your looks at a festival and shine bright like a diamond (which is a paradox, because diamonds don't shine but reflect...).
Anyway! Have you checked out biodegradable glitter? Sparkly and guilt-free!