The Five Acre Shaker in Port Alberni has achieved something no other music festival in Canada has done before – a membership partnership with Leave No Trace Canada.
Leave No Trace Canada is a national non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and inspiring responsible outdoor recreation through education, research, and partnerships. The organization focuses on seven principles: plan ahead and prepare, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, minimize campfire impacts, respect wildlife and be considerate of other visitors.
“The Shaker is the first festival in Canada to hold this membership. We want to make sure that the festival leaves behind only good vibes, not garbage,” explained Genevieve Huneault, principal consultant with Social Root Consulting, which is working with the Shaker organizers to make the event sustainable. “There is an increased need and demand for sustainable products, services, experiences, and operations. We support this change in consumer behaviour, while celebrating arts, culture, music and place.”
Festival goers are asked to plan ahead and prepare, as Shaker organizers are trying to decrease the garbage left behind by the event. People are asked to bring their re-usable plates, cutlery, and cups, while organizers have arranged to have wash and water stations onsite at no cost. This means there is no reason to bring flats of water with you when you attend the festival.
Huneault says part of planning ahead includes thinking about how much food you really need to bring. Bring what you need, and if you have unopened food at the end of the festival, take it home or donate it to one of the donation bins that will be located around the festival site.
In their 2018 waste audit, Social Root Consulting found that 52 per cent of the Five Acre Shaker’s waste went to the landfill. Of that waste, 30 per cent was made up of soiled items and 22 per cent were plastics. Approximately 48 per cent of the waste was diverted from the efforts and results show that 10 per cent were organic, four per cent were refundable items, seven per cent were coffee and solo cups, and 27 per cent were non-refundable items. Huneault hopes to see a dramatic improvement over last year.
Pack it in, pack it out focuses on keeping campsites and rest areas free of spoiled food and trash. The festival will supply waste stations for organics, recyclables, non-recyclables and garbage. It also offers a charity bin for any equipment you don’t want to take home.
Finally, be culturally appropriate. The Shaker is committed to providing a culturally safe environment for the whole community.
“Cultural appropriation is the adoption of elements of one culture by members of a different cultural group,” Huneault explains. “It is important to know the implications of what you say, wear, and believe.”
This year’s Five Acre Shaker takes place on August 9-11 at McLean Mill. With more than 30 different performers—including headliners Daniel Wesley, Said the Whale and Harlequin—it is sure to please any kind of music lover. Find tickets and more details at www.fiveacre.ca.