Is the Cambridge Folk Festival one of the Greenest festivals in the UK?

The sun is going down and you’re dancing in a field, holding a can of cider and listening to a thumping band without a care in the world. Unfortunately these magical music festivals can have a really damaging impact on the environment and that can put the whole experience out of tune. We’ve been told this might not be the case for the Cambridge Folk Festival. Not only is it one of the premier folk festivals in the world, it also has a shelf of environmental awards for it’s green initiatives and a delicious selection of vegan food options. This all sounds too good to resist, that’s why we’re going to be venturing down to see if the Cambridge Folk Festival is one of the greenest festivals in the UK and find out exactly what’s on offer for all you vegans.

“International reputation for showcasing the best folk music from around the world”

From 2nd to 5th of August the Cambridge Folk Festival will be taking place in an elaborate leafy setting 10 minutes from the heart of historical Cambridge. When I said it was one of the premier folk festivals in the world I wasn’t joking. It’s been bringing in crowds since 1965 with it’s international reputation for showcasing the best folk music from around the world. It’s seen the likes of The Dubliners, Elvis Costello Sinaed O’connor, Van Morrison and Joan Baez whilst also promoting young, up-and-coming talent. This is going to be our first folk event so we’re incredibly excited to be joining in on the musical adventure.

Whilst it may be the big stars wowing people on the main stage the festival also has a variety of other intimate areas. The Den and The Hub are just some of the spots dedicated to young emerging artists, roaring open jam sessions and lively music workshops.

Is the Cambridge Folk Festival one of the Greenest festivals in the UK?
Is the Cambridge Folk Festival one of the Greenest festivals in the UK?

Besides folk music we’ve been told to expect an eclectic lineup with everything from blues and jazz to reggae and world music. The incredible Hot 8 Brass Band, Nick Mulvey and The Skatalites are just some of the acts that have broken away from the traditional festival vibe. This year’s headliners are First Aid Kit, Patti Smith and John Prine, along with St. Paul & The Broken Bones and Songhoy Blues. Everything seems to be setting up for a stormer of a weekend in the sunshine (hopefully!).

Interested in other events for vegans in Cambridge?

The Cambridge Folk Festival has the obvious appeal to music lovers but there are whole host of other things going on. Craft workshops, juggling events and singer songwriter sessions are just some of the others things you can get stuck into. Plus, there are some fantastic talks on women in music and mental health. Importantly to us the Festival Environmental Manager Liz Warwick will also be talking about the environmental initiatives of the event. We’re hoping to sit down and talk with her about the all the preparations and conservation aspects of the weekend. 

Having grown up in Cambridge we’ve cycled, walked, driven and run past the grounds of the festival countless times. It’s all set in Cherry Hinton Hall, a beautifully intimate park a short walk away from the busy Cambridge centre. It really is unique as the area is covered in magnificent trees, swan lakes and has streams running through. 

Is the Cambridge Folk Festival one of the Greenest festivals in the UK?
Beautiful scenes at Cherry Hinton Hall

Is the Cambridge Folk Festival one of the greenest festivals in the UK?

However great this all sounds, this isn’t why we’re going to the Cambridge Folk Festival. The event stood out not because of the Irish jam sessions, late night folk stompings and the leafy setting. We’re in search of all the vegan options and to see if the Cambridge Folk Festival is one of the greenest festivals in the UK. It’s doing much more than just asking people to clean up their litter – the festival has actually earned awards for it’s sustainability and green initiatives. Having won the Greener Festival Award for years in a row it’s been noted as ‘outstanding’ by award organisers. It was also shortlisted for Green Operations by the European Festival Awards. To be shortlisted into a group of 6 out of ALL of the festivals in Europe is bloody brilliant. 

You can take a look at more of the festival’s sustainable achievements and targets here

Taking a look on their website it’s clear to see that sustainability is huge concern. Each year they’ve lowered their carbon emissions, reduced waste and cut negative environmental impacts. It’s what gained our attention and with such a good job they’ve gained international recognition as well.

As a nice vegan icing on the cake we’ve also been told that this year 99% of food traders will be offering vegetarian options and 50% will be offering vegan options. That’s a lot of food for us to try…

“One of the easiest steps to sustainability is veganism”

Having set an impressive environmental benchmark we’re going to see exactly how the festival is kept so green. Going behind the scenes we’ll shed some light on how other festivals can follow in their footsteps. 

More than this, we’re going to see if it should be on the calendar for sustainable travellers. As you well know, at the Veggie Vagabonds we believe that one of the easiest steps to sustainability is veganism so we’re going to explore exactly what’s on offer for all you ethical eaters!

Is the Cambridge Folk Festival one of the Greenest festivals in the UK?
Is the Cambridge Folk Festival one of the Greenest festivals in the UK?

In part two of this article you can find out exactly what we discovered during our weekend at the Cambridge Folk Festival. Detailing all the mouth watering vegan food we hope to uncover and looking at the steps the festival has taken to make it an award winning green festival. There will be tips on how you can make your festival experience more sustainable and a message from the pros on how to make similar events more energy conscious. 

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