WOMAD has always held its key principles high. Championing tolerance, equality, the stupidity of racism and the quest for environmental sustainability. These motivations have been at the centre of the vision for our festival since the beginning.With the understanding that it is a shared responsibility and joint action that will save our planet, we want to highlight our actions over the years and the new initiatives we are introducing, to help you, help us make a difference.The key areas we are focusing on are; renewable energy, waste and recycling, single use plastic, water, compostable toilets, Carbon off-setting and travel.Saving the world from environmental disaster is a shared responsibility.  At WOMAD we will continue to work with everyone to find ways to make a difference. In return we ask everyone who is part of the festival to do the same.

A festival requires the use of temporary power supplies in the form of large, carbon releasing diesel-powered generators.  Travel to and from the festival are inevitably further causes of carbon release.

Since 2019 we have been developing a new plan with our partners to reduce the festival’s carbon emissions by building a renewable energy infrastructure across the site that will power as much of the festival as we can on a green energy mains tariff.  In 2022 a uk conference announced that this was the future of renewable energy provision at festival events.  The pandemic has slowed the delivery of this initiative in the UK but we are delighted that mains power is the primary source at a n umber of international WOMAD Festivals.

Efficient use of generators makes a big difference, we have monitored generator use yearly, ensuring we use the correct sized generators and that they are only used when necessary.

The Ecotricity stage uses a hybrid generator, a combination of solar and diesel energy, reducing diesel usage by over 30%.

We use LED lighting across the site including festoon lines. This has been in place for a number of years and now extends increasingly to stage lighting and other areas.

The cleanliness of your campsite after the festival shows us that you care and don’t abandon tents and other waste. You have done this long before it was fashionable.  Thank you.

This doesn’t mean that there isn’t still waste but that you are already leaving less waste than any other comparable festival in the country.

What happens to the rest?

Over the last six years WOMAD has generated an average of 113 tons of waste per festival.  In 2012 approximately 16% of the waste was recycled.  Since 2014, by supporting a waste to energy scheme, after metal, wood, glass, and some plastics are removed for specialised recycling, 100% of our remaining waste is diverted from landfill and recycled into energy.  Ash etc from the process is then used in infrastructure projects nationally.

This means there will not be six different types of recycling bins around the site this year, just one. (Which in itself reduces vehicle movements on site).

The best solution is for everyone to take their waste away with them but this method is accepted by our partners and advisors as the most sustainable solution.

Eliminating single use plastics has been on everyone’s agenda for a while now and we have been implementing various schemes banning or reducing plastic usage where applicable, adopting the reduce, re-use, recycle, return ethos in other circumstances.

What we currently do is:

  • In line with other festivals, bottled water is only available in 100% recycled and recyclable bottles.
  • Traders are banned from using single use plastics (straws, cutlery, plates etc ). They have been required to use compostable alternatives for a few years.
  • In the bars, unlike cups provided at the bars of many festivals, ours are made from recycled materials and are also recyclable. Return them to the bars and they will be taken to specialised recycling centres. You can also rinse and reuse them.
  • If you do not wish to use plastic cups, metal cups are available to purchase. Or bring your own.
  • Crew catering will continue to use either re-usable or compostable cutlery.

To reduce the use of bottled water, we ensure that everyone onsite is given access to water and the chance to refill water bottles. WOMAD refillable drinking bottles will be available to buy onsite.

Toilets:  2022 sees the introduction of a significant number of compostable toilets around the site.  These units are taken away and the waste contents composted near-by.

Travel is one of the key areas for Co2 emissions.  Data shows that most of our audience drive to the festival and are happy to continue doing so.  For the rest, we have supported the use of public transport with shuttle buses to stations Chippenham station.