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Our pick of the best eco forward festivals

Posted May 25 2010 2:19am

We’ve hand-picked the greenest festivals happening in the UK and Europe this Summer, so all you need to worry about is piecing together your most mud-friendly vintage outfits. (Because we’re so awesome we’ve also solved that for you too; just throw an Eighties denim waistcoat over a Seventies print maxi. Voila!) Clare Saxon writes.

Having just been blessed with the finest weather in a painfully long time, your festival sensor will undoubtedly be on red alert. But seeing as you’re naturally eco-conscious about your fashion, it makes sense to choose a festival with true green issues at its heart. Believe us, you’ll dance with a much lighter conscience.

There are a few things to watch out for when finessing your festival favourites list. Check that public and shared transport is promoted and incentivised, and that companies involved are locally based. Try to pick festivals where recycling is rife and the huge carbon footprint of performers and festival-goers alike are kept to a minimum or offset through charity focused schemes.

To save you doing homework, here’s our pick of the top eco festivals in UK and Europe this Summer.

Hove Festival , Arendal, Norway  June 29 – July 2

This coveted Norwegian party has big name acts such as Muse, Massive Attack, Arcade Fire, Vampire Weekend, Empire of the Sun, Florence + the Machine, Dizzee Rascal and Pendulum rocking the beautiful lake side location.

With help from environmental group Bellona, Hove has become the first carbon neutral festival in Scandinavia and there’s a useful guide on how you can help party with a conscience on the website.

Blissfields , Hampshire, UK  2 – 4 July

This still fairly underground festival features a host of quirky indie and dance acts including: Fenech-Soler, Band of Skulls, Ou Est le Swimming Pool, Dub Pistols, James Yuill and Beans on Toast.

Blissfields works hard to minimise their carbon footprint and any waste. and it shouts all about it online as well as at the festival, so everyone gets involved in making hedonism that bit greener.

Exit , Novi Sad, Serbia  8 – 11 July

The incredible line-up this year sees the Chemical Brothers, Mika, Placebo, Missy Elliot, LCD Soundsystem, Suicidal Tendencies, Crystal Castles, Crookers, The Exploited and Boys Noize head a superb mix of punk, electro, indie and pop spread across a heavenly hedonistic week in a Petrovaradin Fortress high up on the banks of the Danube River. It’s no wonder it wins awards for its greatness.

Ethically, Exit’s camping site ‘Exit Village’ offers a plethora of social issue and environment workshops as well as improving recycling schemes across the site in order to preserve the pristine venue.

Pohoda , Trensin, Slovakia  8 – 10 July

Leftfield, Ian Brown, Scissor Sisters, The XX, Juliette Lewis, Klaxons, Friendly Fires, DJ Zinc, Autechre, These New Puritans, Metronomy, The Futureheads and New Young Pony Club prove that Slovakia knows how to rock out.

This year, Pohoda is greener than ever thanks to successful collaborations with environmental companies, making it the only Slovak festival with recyclable waste management in full swing; you won’t see overflowing bins of the mixed excesses of party-goers here and Pohoda fully pride themselves on it.

200o Trees Festival , Cheltenham, UK  16 – 17

Frank Turner, Bombay Bicycle Club, Sonic Boom Six, Three Trapped Tigers, Errors, Metronomy, The Subways and Pulled Apart by Horses reveal this fairly small festival in the depths of the stunning Cheltenham countryside to be one to watch.

Already having won a ‘Greener Festival’ award in the proud company of Glastonbury and Latitude, ethical credentials is surely 2000 Trees main selling point to many. Picking only UK based artists, biodegradable packaging, an awesome 90% recycling rate and promotion of sustainable travel, 2000 Trees are way ahead of the game.

Lovebox , London  16 – 18 July

Running for the first time as a three day event, Lovebox once again smashes Londoner’s expectations with Dizzee Rascal, Chase & Status, Ellie Goulding, Mystery Jets, Roxy Music, Mark Ronson, Paloma Faith, Grace Jones, Hot Chip, Peaches and Chromeo drawing the fashion crowds.

Being a London festival, Lovebox already promises strong public transport and you can now download its environmental policy as well as read up on how to be green that weekend. Once there take advantage of its secure cycle parking and colour coded recycling points too.

Secret Garden Party , Cambridgeshire, UK  22 – 25 July

Example, Golden Filter, Crystal Fighters, Gorillaz, I Blame Coco, Marina and the Diamonds, Mercury Rev and the Skatalites are just a few of the laid-back and off-beat artists to grace the independent, dreamy affair which will leave you feeling enchanted by the power of collective creativity.

Secret Garden Party aims to cut carbon emissions by providing special coach services to and from the festival as well as a conscious effort to eschew the common infestation of sponsors and generally capitalist nature of many of today’s larger festivals.

Oya , Oslo, Norway  10 – 14 August

Pavement, M.I.A, Iggy & The Stooges, La Roux, LCD Soundsystem, The Specials, Jonsi, The XX, Girls, Raekwon, Miike Snow, Panda Bear, Marina and the Diamonds as well as a fantastic array of Norwegian indie bands you most likely won’t have heard of, Oya offers an eclectic mix of bands for real music lovers.

Oya strives to be one of the most environmentally aware festivals in Europe, through its arena, suppliers and management and participation in The Climate Promise which aims to reduce Norway’s carbon footprint on an impressive scale.

Sziget Festival , Obudai Island, Hungary  10 – 16 August

Iron Maiden, Children of Bodom, Faithless, Kasabian, Madness, Muse, Papa Roach, The Cribs, The Hives, Simian Mobile Disco, Bad Religion, Calvin Harris and Madness reveal a nostalgic metal and electro orientated passion, but there’s various stages packed full of specific music styles to suit all music fans.

Sziget is serious about sustaining the land of the festival site with strong waste collections, relationships with green organisations and a Greenpeace presence on site.

Green Man , Brecon Beacons, UK  20 – 22 August

F**k Buttons, Joanna Newsom, Flaming Lips, Mumford & Sons, Doves, Wild Beasts, Laura Marling, Bear in Heaven, Summer Camp, Chew Lips, Egyptian Hip Hop, Darwin Deez and Billy Bragg offer a slightly folkier side of festival fun with a healthy dose of cutting edge indie acts, all in what has to be one of the most beautiful locations in the UK.

Green Man is one of the more famous eco orientated festivals, with no glass allowed on site, plenty of easy to spot recycle points and a commitment to sustainable fun.

Shambala , Dorset, UK  27 – 30 August

Shambala is famed for being very hush-hush about its inevitably fabulous line-up, as the focus is more about a massive exchange of creativity which includes performance art, installations, poetry, crafts and comedy.

Sustainability has always been a priority for Shambala with a whole host of impressive initiatives to obliterate the festival’s carbon footprint such as the fact it uses biodiesel, wind and solar power for 100% of the festival’s power and much more. This has all helped win Shambala the award of ‘most sustainable event in the UK’.

Field Day , London UK  31 July

Caribou, Phoenix, Lightspeed Champion, No Age, Yuck, Ramadanman and The Fall once again marks Field Day as the hottest London event to be seen at with an underground line-up to impress even the most hardened East-ender. You can also expect a kitsch frolicsome rural England village fete theme with tug of wars and hay bales ahoy.

As with most urban events, Field Day’s carbon footprint is low and it recycles everything possible. This year the Field Day team is looking at stewarded bike racks as well as a cup recycling scheme.

Whichever festival takes your fancy this year, take a couple of minutes to research the festival’s environmental policies before you dress up, drop out and party with the rest of them in your effortless, conscious style.

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