Promotional poster for Flashback Festival at Platt Fields Park.

Festivals and the environment: are we doing enough?

  • Flashback Festival returns for it’s second year at Platt Fields Park
  • How can festivals become more environmentally friendly?
  • Noise concerns by residents of Fallowfield

There is nothing quite like the feeling of going to a festival. From the music to the people, it’s an experience like no other. But what happens when the festival is over?

Crowds disperse and organisers begin to pack up and what is left behind is often a field of litter looking like a post-apocalyptic world.

Festivals have a significant impact on the environment and when festivalgoers leave behind litter it can have serious consequences for the natural world.

Flashback Festival returned for a second year in Platt Fields Park on Saturday 20 May, but many have concerns about the aftermath.

Promotional poster outside of Platt Fields Park with this years line up for Flashback Festival.
The line-up for this years Flashback Festival Credit: Zara Gallimore

How can festivals help the environment?

Moss Side Eco Squad is a volunteering group who regularly work together to clean up litter and has seen the impact these festivals create on the environment.

Rebecca Goulding, a member from the group, told us how event organisers can do a lot to reduce the amount of litter left behind.

They said the festival should consider how to reduce waste that they are likely to create, and one option is to introduce reusable containers for drinks and ask for a small deposit on these, so they are more likely to be returned than dropped on the floor.

Organisers need to ensure that there are lots of bins, so people don’t have to walk far to get to one, and that the bins are emptied frequently and are big enough for all the waste people are likely to produce.

Another option is to employ litter pickers throughout the event as people are more likely to drop their rubbish if there is already litter on the floor. 

View of Platt Fields Park featuring ducks and pigeons next to the water.
Platt Fields Park Credit: Zara Gallimore

When it comes to the impact this mess has, they said: “Litter is unsightly at best and dangerous at worst. It can discourage people from using and reduce their enjoyment of their local green spaces.

“Dropped rubbish can also attract pests and cause injuries or illness, particularly for children, animals and wildlife. 

“Sadly, littering is often not limited to the place where the event takes place but happens in the surrounding areas as well, and messy streets encourage others to drop and dump rubbish.”

What do residents think?

Jordan Phillips, 24, believes that the mess leaves a bad image for the organisers of the festival.

“It should be a joint responsibility of the event organisers and local council to prevent mass littering and other antisocial behaviours at festivals

“With ridiculously loud music playing late into the night in an area which is not just full of students with exams to do but families and elderly who were disturbed by the noise.”