The Five Acre Shaker wants to be remembered for its great musical acts, not the footprint it leaves behind.
Music festivals have garnered a reputation for the mess they create, but organizer Lance Goddard believes it does not have to be that way at all. For that reason, the team behind the Shaker has been working hard to be well-known for its sustainability.
“We believe that if we set the bar high for our festival then the people attending will meet it,” he said. “We have a team dedicated to coming up with ways to ensure when we leave the McLean Mill National Historic Site, it is even better than when we arrived.”
Last year, the Five Acre Shaker kicked off its Green Initiative. This focused on a few key steps to being more sustainable. Organizers set out to reduce the single-use plastics by not allowing the sale of plastic water bottles. Instead, they encouraged concert goers to bring their own bottles, and set up water stations around the site. They also designed a stainless steel Shaker cup and handed them out to the first 20 people through the gates. The cups were also available for sale onsite.
The Shaker also encouraged people to leave their vehicles at home as much as possible, minimizing the carbon footprint the festival creates. Concert-goers were encouraged to bike, jump on a bus, or take the Shaker Shuttle that was provided.
By offering up compost and recycle bins, the Shaker was also able to reduce the waste created at the event.
“If people make a shift in a few of their habits, we can create change,” explained Genevieve Huneault from Social Root Consulting, a local firm hired to help the Shaker move in the right direction environmentally. “We saw that last year, and so we are increasing our initiative in 2019.”
The Shaker team conducted a base-line transportation survey to better understand how people are getting to the festival. The results show that 15 percent carpooled, while seven percent used the shuttle services. The average festival goer drove 10-15 km to get to the festival.
The 2018 waste audit showed that 52 percent of the waste went to the landfill—of that waste, 30 percent was made up of soiled items and 22 percent were plastics. Approximately 48 percent of the waste was diverted from our efforts and results show that 10 percent was organic, four percent was refundable items, seven percent was coffee and solo cups and 27 percent was non-refundable items.
This year, the Shaker will build on that success. They have six new initiatives planned. These include:
• A Rain Barrel Project
• Assessment on energy usage from camping, stages, showers etc.,
• Building capacity and partnerships for transportation alternatives
• Building dish washing stations in the VIP area, camping, and vendor spaces
• Installing donation bins in the camping area to help reduce food and item waste.
So come enjoy a weekend full of great music, knowing there is a great team behind the scenes working to make the festival more sustainable. You can get more information, and tickets, at https://www.fiveacre.ca or stay tuned for more details of these great initiates in the coming weeks.