Our ‘Green’ ethos is embedded in all we do

The Green Gathering is a showcase of real life, low-impact alternatives. Its focus is education for sustainability, with the emphasis that education should be hands-on and fun. The festival’s philosophy is ‘beyond hedonism’ and we aim to provide an environment where creativity can be applied to ecological and social dilemmas in a tapestry of skill-sharing and entertainment, all powered by wind, sun, people and passion.

Campaign stalls and a Speakers’ Forum vie for attention with tiny music stages showcasing up-and-coming talent and socially conscious performers. Traders and caterers are picked for their ethical sourcing and the quality of their wares. Workers’ co-op stalls, handmade goods and organic produce are abundant. Traditional sustainable crafts are passed on to new generations. The Permaculture community teaches practical future-proofing skills and taster workshops in permaculture design.

Festival-goers frequently say that attendance at a Green Gathering inspired them to change their outlook, habits and lifestyle. Where many festivals are all about forgetting responsibilities and enjoying the show, GG aims to trigger a sense of responsibility and to equip festival-goers with the mindset and skills to transform their lives, and the world, for the better.

The Green Gathering Policy

All contractors, volunteers and directors undertake to respect people, animals and the environment in the production of the festival. Waste, destruction, pollution, fossil fuel use and feeding corporate profits are to be minimised in the production of the festival.

All activities undertaken by The Green Gathering – the festival, its production company and charity – aim to promote environmental sustainability, ecological awareness, biodiversity, human rights, and appropriate education, technology and communication.

Implementing the Policy

Electrical Power & Lighting

Policy: Power used at the festival to be derived from renewable source


  • Our on-site electrical requirements are primarily met by solar generation
  • A small amount of our on-site electrical requirements may be wind- or pedal-generated, or stored in batteries charged whilst driving to the event. This includes all venues, traders, workshops, lighting, on-site offices, water pump, and charging of mobility vehicles
  • No generators – diesel, petrol, gas or bio-fuel – are used
  • A soft-start water pump was bought in 2016 to reduce load on solar power providers
  • All on-site festoon and stage lighting is LED
  • The tower lights in our off site carparks and campervan area are solar powered


Policy: Crew, artists and public to be encouraged to minimise emissions in their travel choices. On site journeys should be minimised when possible and fuel efficient driving methods adhered to.


  • In 2019 we launched a #GreenTraveller campaign and guide
  • We encourage public transport use, cycling, walking and lift-sharing; we provide detailed information to help make these options easy to choose, and we offer incentives (eg free programmes)
  • We provide and promote a stewarded shuttle bus from the local train station to the festival, on a donation basis
  • We arrange free guided cycle rides to the event (with incentives)
  • We offer affordable tent hire and camping accessory hire options in partnership with Camplight– making it easier for people to travel without heavy loads
  • We provide a shuttle bus from our off-site carpark to the main event site; only essential vehicles ever drive onto the site, and movement of those essential vehicles once on site is strictly limited
  • We encourage people to pack light with our ‘Joys of packing less‘ guide (including sample kit-lists) and a ‘Quick Turnaround Shuttle’ for people who can carry their load in one go
  • We charge for public vehicle passes
  • We limit the number of free crew and artist vehicle passes available; we reduced the % of these vehicle pass allocations from over 50% in 2016 to under 47% in 2019
  • We have a no idling policy on site
  • We arrange deliveries of locally produced bread, veg, milk and eggs so traders don’t need to drive off site for these and food-miles remain low; we also arrange delivery of bottled gas and dried staple foodstuffs to avoid multiple trips off site
  • We provide cargo-trike transport to and from venues for performers’ equipment and bar supplies
  • Our Medical team use bicycles to attend non-emergencies and short distance call-outs which are often quicker to reach by bicycle than by motor vehicle
  • We ask our Security team to minimise vehicle movements as much as possible
  • We’re registered with ecolibrium and offer festival goers chance to check out the carbon emissions associated with different forms of transport. Ecolibrium also offers the chance to ‘balance’ travel emissions by donating to their renewable energy projects (we don’t push that because we’d rather focus on behaviour change than offsetting, but we do include the option)
  • We partner with Tuned in Travel to provide coaches from Bristol, London and Brighton.

Heating & Cooking

Policy: Energy for heating and cooking to be derived from sustainable sources where possible.


  • Our main showers and sauna are wood-fired, using over 50% scrap wood
  • Our caterers mainly use bottled gas but we encourage alternatives
  • In 2019 two of our public-facing cafes were wood-fired and two of our crew catering operations were partially wood fired; our Permaculture crew utilised wood-gas, solar and biomass ovens and rocket stoves; we hosted an interactive showcase of working solar ovens; and we held workshops in building and using biochar, wood-gas and rocket stoves
  • In 2019 we used solar ovens to heat some of the water used by our washing-up / reuseable serveware team
  • We provide communal fires for warmth in the evenings, using at least 50% scrap wood and offcuts sourced locally; this prevents lots of individual fires being lit, without imposing a ban which would cause a loss of valuable community-building
  • Campers are reminded to respect woodland and wildlife habitat by not removing/burning green or rotting wood from the festival environs
  • All wood used for fuel is locally sourced scrap wood or from sustainably managed local woodland

Food & Drink

Policy: Local and affordable 100% meat- & fish-free food and ethically/sustainably sourced fair trade products such as beverages. Strict rules for minimising disposable waste and fully compostable system.


  • We ask all caterers to use our suppliers
  • Our bread is from a local bakery, baked fresh and delivered to site daily, high % is organic
  • Our milk and eggs are organic, from local farms, delivered to site daily
  • Our veg is delivered twice during the festival, by Four Seasons Organic, a small Bristol-based family-run company which uses local growers where possible (Bristol is 18 miles away)
  • Dried foods are delivered pre-event by Essential Trading, a Bristol-based wholefood co-op
  • Organic caterers are given priority in the application process, as are those with a commitment to using local produce and those using re-useable cups
  • We don’t accept traders who sell meat or fish
  • We always have some 100% vegan food stalls, and most stalls offer a good range of vegan options (>40% of foodstalls entirely vegan in 2022)
  • All food waste and single-use serveware (which must be fully compostable without industrial processing) is composted on site and we improved our composting facility in 2019
  • We have strict trading conditions for caterers; trading conditions ‘bonds’ may be retained if conditions are broken: no polystyrene or disposable plastic containers/bottles; no non-organic canned drinks; no palm oil unless certified sustainable; no GM ingredients; no Coca-Cola or Nestle products; no one-portion condiment sachets; use only organic milk and free-range eggs; use only Fair Trade coffee, tea, sugar, chocolate and bananas; cleaning products to be biodegradable (where these can be found that meet food hygiene requirements); avoid products made by large multinational corporations
  • A Green Gathering Ethical Trader award scheme (with pitch discount for winners) encourages caterers and other traders to consider their environmental impact and to aim high
  • Caterers using single-use serveware pay a £50 surcharge
  • 2016-2019 we held workshops on subjects such as vegan baking, vegan cheese making, ethical cooking, avoiding food waste, foraging, permaculture systems of food-growing, low-energy cooking (eg rocket stoves, solar ovens), preserving and composting
  • We run a donation based crockery-hire-and-washing service – Crock ‘n’ Rock – to reduce use of disposable serveware. In 2019 this expanded from a mainly public-facing operation to a service providing real crockery to the festival food stalls, reducing use of disposable serveware considerably
  • We aim to ensure the less financially well off aren’t excluded from cafes by high prices (all caterers agree to provide a child-friendly meal for £5 or less)
  • All crew catering operations use reuseable serveware


Policy: Alcohol sourced from local producers and/or sustainable sources and served in reusable containers.


  • Our bars sell ciders and beers from small producers based mostly in Wales, Bristol, Somerset and Gloucester; organic wines and organic or artisan spirits; elderflower champagne; and locally produced or artisan soft drinks such as apple juice, temperance cordials, ginger beer and kefir tonic
  • Our bars do not sell bottled water or soft drinks in disposable containers but offer water refills to those with their own bottles
  • Our bars only use sturdy re-useable glasses, with deposits to encourage their return
  • Our cocktail bar has an extensive temperance (alcohol-free) menu

Re-use, Recycling & Waste

Policy: The use of disposable items and production of waste is discouraged and minimised by promotion of reuse, upcycling and repair. Genuine waste is composted or recycled where possible and education is provided on recycling categories and minimising waste to landfill/incineration.


  1. Our wristbands are made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic
  2. We have multiple sets of highly visible and educational recycling bins, where waste is separated into 14 different categories and Greensweep, our recycling team, hand separates any waste that gets mixed up, and is available to explain the different categories of waste
  3. Upcycling workshops creatively re-use waste on site
  4. As mentioned in ‘food’, all food waste and disposable serveware is composted on site
  5. Compost produced on site is available for use by our Permaculture community for planting and educational purposes
  6. Hazard tape used minimally until 2019 then replaced with reuseable ‘danger bunting’
  7. Recycling rate 73% in 2019 (the remaining 27% was incinerated for energy production in Cardiff)
  8. Total waste produced at the festival has reduced from 13.5 tonnes in 2016 (when we began recording waste data) to 11.82 tonnes in 2019
  9. We increased our proportion of compost toilets (from 20% in 2014 to 70%); the waste is composted in Somerset, for agricultural use
  10. Camplight demonstrates the importance and possibilities of saving, reusing, repairing and upcycling camping gear
  11. We include workshops such as ‘Make Do and Mend’ or a ‘Repair Cafe’, a free shop and swap shop
  12. Sale of items in/of single-use plastic has been banned in our bars and food stalls since 2014
  13. Plastic glitter banned since 2016; ‘bioglitter’ advised against since Dec 2017 (we’re uncertain research into biodegradability in fields and water courses has been sufficiently completed and ethical sourcing is unconfirmed)
  14. We discourage use of disposable items such as hazard tape, gaffer tape and single-use cable ties; site crew use reusable cable ties wherever practical
  15. In 2018 we launched a ‘Don’t Be A Mug – Bring Your Own!’ campaign calling for festival goers to Bring Your Own Mug (#BYOM) to reduce waste; mugs to hire or buy are available for those who don’t bring their own
  16. We’re promoting the concept of ‘deep recycling‘ which goes beyond sorting waste and transporting it off site
  17. In 2019 we launched a Plastic Free Periods campaign alongside City To Sea, aimed at raising awareness of reuseable and plastic free period wear; we had a stall on site providing information and offering a range of plastic free period wear. In 2022 we will have dedicated ‘Moon Loos’ to support use of washable period wear
  18. In 2022 we hoped to be trialling a water filtration and recycling system on one of our shower blocks, a massive potential water saving! The engineer hasn’t quite managed to get this certificated in time for GG but we’re encouraging him to try for next year.

Education, Social Impact & Behaviour Change

Policy: To encourage positivity, communication, offer information and knowledge across the festival and through social media to stimulate and inspire current and future generations of responsible humans.


  • Many of the talks in our Speakers’ Forum, Voices of Gaia dome and workshops in the Kids, Campaigns, Permaculture, Nature’s Way, Hill Village and Crafts areas are geared to informing and inspiring festival-goers to engage positively with environmental, sustainability and climate change issues
  • The event as a whole is a showcase of what can be done with renewable energy and low impact alternatives
  • Several workshops each year are specifically geared to practical skill-sharing in renewable technologies and low impact alternatives, with all ages and skill levels catered for
  • Our publicity, website etc also carry these messages
  • The Green Gathering charity has a mission to reach out beyond the annual August festival and bring the wealth of expertise in our community to a wider audience
  • The GG charity runs the Crock ‘n’ Rock service, has funded a Radical Youth Space and free Craft workshops, supported a ‘Celebration of Sustainable Futures’ event in rural Carmarthenshire, has improved Assisted Access facilities at the GG festival and funded a Biodiversity Assessment of the festival site to help us protect and respect local flora and fauna
  • Family-friendly moth, flora and wildlife spotting workshops are a regular part of the programme and we’ve collaborated with an MSc research project into bat activity
  • Our on site Resource Hub is a centre of practical skill sharing and one-to-one ‘clinics’ for those wanting to incorporate renewable technology into their home or business
  • We curated a Solution Zone at the Extinction Rebellion Spring Uprising festival in Bristol in 2019
  • In 2022 we launched a Not Just Net Zero campaign to raise awareness that carbon counting and offsetting isn’t sufficient to mitigate climate change
  • In 2022 we will have an area dedicated to Transformative Adaptation – accepting and working with the reality and grief of climate change and biodiversity loss, while remaining positive about taking action to mitigate further damage
  • In 2022 we’ll extend our showcasing and skillsharing of endangered heritage crafts
  • In 2022 we offered ‘activist tickets‘ as a thankyou to campaigners & to highlight their causes
  • In 2022 we provided a guest lecture on event sustainability at the BIMM institute in Manchester (college of music and creative industries)
  • Involvement with the festival has inspired contributors to make practical changes in other parts of their work life, eg creating sustainability policies & training programmes, ditching plastic bottles etc.
  • We are gathering data about social impact and behaviour changes brought about as a result of attending Green Gatherings


Policy: To act ethically and sustainably in all we do

A Few Examples of Implementation:

  • We bank with Unity Trust Bank (promotes a socially responsible and sustainable approach to banking)
  • We switched from Skype to Zoom for remote meetings to avoid Microsoft (Ethical Consumer 2020 rates Zoom considerably higher)
  • We have never paid for Facebook ads due to ethical concerns (we were way ahead of 2020’s boycott!)
  • Our t-shirts are organic, fairtrade cotton printed with plant-based ink
  • We network and work with other organisations to promote ethical and sustainable messages; to this end we are members of A Greener Festival and the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), attend and contribute to events such as the Green Events and Innovations conference; took the Festival Vision 2025 and Keychange pledges, signed up to and spread the message of AIF’s Safer Spaces charter and Yourope’s Take A Stand initiative
  • We leave the site in a better condition than we found it and have been praised by local residents for our respect for the land
  • In 2022 we began a tree planting project on our festival site
  • Our website is powered by renewable energy via our hosts Green ISP, an Ethical Consumer ‘Top Choice’ company in 2019

Achievements & recognition

  • Welsh Enterprise Awards Best Family Friendly Festival 2019
  • A Greener Festival award winner at UK Festival Awards 2019
  • A Greener Festival Outstanding Award 2017, 2018 & 2019
  • International Greener Festival Award for Power 2018 & 2019
  • Shortlisted for European Green Operations Award 2018
  • A Greener Festival award winner at UK Festival Awards 2017

Priority areas to improve upon beyond 2022

  • Reduce fuel miles further – customer, crew, traders and artists
  • Build demand for dedicated coaches so we can offer them from more locations
  • Further improve waste reduction, reuse and recycling
  • Continue research into onsite water saving, including recycling of grey water
  • Research feasibility of providing more and better female urinals
  • Keep searching for more solar or wood-powered showers
  • Better promote what we do across public platforms and within the events industry, with a view to providing encouragement, inspiration and knowledge to others seeking sustainable pathways

Barriers to improvement

  • Customer & crew habits/expectations
  • Costs
  • Capacity
  • Lack of available or affordable quality infrastructure
  • Difficulty reaching new audiences

Solutions: ongoing work to make improvements and overcome barriers

  • Continue to build on current financial sustainability through careful budgeting, good marketing, provision of a great event and research ethical funding opportunities
  • Prioritise environmental sustainability when budgeting
  • Encourage the Green Gathering charity trustees to raise funds and invest in sustainability solutions for the festival
  • Continue to expand Crock n Rock service, Bring Your Own Mug and other waste reduction schemes
  • Continue to increase incentives and make it easier for people to choose car-sharing, public transport or dedicated coach
  • Prioritise crew, traders and artists who don’t need to make long vehicle journeys
  • Continue to discuss issues and improvements with infrastructure providers
  • Continue to monitor and record what we do
  • Put more time and funding into promoting and sharing what we do
  • Continue to collaborate with like-minded organisations
  • Engage more crew or bring on more volunteers to increase capacity to do this work
  • Do the research required to compare Green Gathering attendees’ environmental impact during their travel to/from and time spent at the festival with their impact during a similar amount of time spent at home or elsewhere, and look into the positive social and behavioural impacts of the Gathering

This is a living document…

Tickets to The Green Gathering | 4 – 7 August 2022