“Love the farm, leave no trace” is a mantra well-known by regular Glastonbury-goers. It’s the festival’s plea for attendees to refrain from littering, from peeing anywhere but the loos, and an encouragement to recycle and – crucially – to pack up your tent and take it home after the five-day party has ended.
And this year’s festival, which took place this past weekend, saw record numbers of people taking their tents home with them.
“Just heard that 99.3% of all tents were taken home. That is absolutely incredible,” Emily Eavis, who co-organises Glastonbury wrote on Instagram. “HUGE thanks to the record numbers who loved the farm and left no trace!”
The news is a welcome change from previous years. Typically Worthy Farm, where the festival takes place, is left looking apocalyptic, with discarded tents and rubbish strewn across the fields. (Of course, the picture above is likely taken after the mass clean-up operation that takes place once the festival has ended.)
This year’s festival – which was a total scorcher – saw a complete ban on plastic bottles for the first time, a move praised by Sir David Attenborough on the Pyramid Stage, shortly before Kylie’s performance in the legend’s slot on Sunday afternoon.
In an interview with the Glastonbury Free Press, Eavis predicted this year might be different in terms of waste: “I think people are really starting to understand how important it is to treat the land with respect and to stop living a disposable lifestyle.”
Like plastic water bottles, festival tents are often treated like single-use plastic. This year, the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) launched a campaign earlier this year, urging revellers to “take your tent home” and “say no to single use”.
The membership body for 60 independent festivals, including Boomtown and End if the Road, estimates as many as 250,000 tents left behind at music festivals across the UK every year. Contrary to common belief, most of these aren’t collected by charities and can’t be recycled, meaning they end up in landfill.