Earth Frequency festival in South East Queensland hit its 9th anniversary in 2013, with Madeleine heading up the waste management for the 2nd year running. The event has a massive personal connection with its audience, with over a third of attendees contributing to the creative program or in other areas of the event.
This year was again a testament to a little communication going a long way, with the simple Leave No Trace message resulting in the total on-site waste volumes per person reducing by one third. This is an extraordinary result. Particularly with foul weather and a site ‘evacuation’ on the last day of the festival, we were impressed to see this did not end up in the usual wet weather ‘dump-and-run’ behaviour. This communication was achieved with the help of pre-event marketing, on site roving performance, signage and some extra reinforcement by the traffic management team.
We also broadened the sustainability program with a carbon offset donation project, the now popular participatory dance floor clean ups, and a little bit of public speaking by Madeleine. Her workshop on changing cultural habits through festival design mechanisms held an intrigued audience, and proved that the community has a keen interest in watching and improving their collective behaviours. Following on from a well-attended festival waste-themed workshop at the Eclipse festival, the Green Chief team has seen that there is a real public demand for information and guidance on the matters of sustainable events issues.
The Earth Frequency community also demonstrated a demand for a carbon offset initiative, with our pilot project raising over $1700 for conservation based carbon credits. Greg Howell of Climate Wave helped to collect donations and audience survey data, as well as ironing out some hurdles in the pilot project. Like all good pilots, we used this opportunity to map what needs to be done for a more effective emissions tracking and carbon offset scheme in the future. The task is not simple, as the key focus should always be on emissions tracking and reduction first, offsetting as a last resort. Nonetheless we were happy that the sometimes contentious subject of carbon offsetting was received positively by the community and by the festival organisers.
Lastly, again massive thanks goes to the amazing team that made it all happen, especially those who remained behind in inclement weather and who put in 200% to keep the recycling happening. I am hugely grateful.