Is an eco-friendly festival possible? How All Points East is leading the way for greener events

Festival reveller at All Points East in Tower Hamlets, 2021

All Points East is taking action to become an environmentally-friendly festival with a number of sustainability initiatives - Credit: Jordan Curtis Hughes

In an increasingly environmentally-conscious society, the potential carbon footprint of festivals can no longer be ignored.  

Fortunately, a growing number of event organisers in the music industry are taking positive steps to minimise their impact on the planet, with festival-goers getting in on the action too. 

One event leading the way for green credentials is All Points East, which will be returning to Victoria Park from August 19-28 over the bank holiday weekend. 

Crowds at All Points East music festival in Victoria Park, 2019

Organisers of All Points East have introduced a carbon calculator on ticket purchases to balance the audience’s travel emissions - Credit: Tom Hancock

This year, organisers AEG Presents will be working alongside sustainability partners to promote environmentally-friendly practices and significantly reduce the event’s footprint. 

We chat to All Points East organiser, Darcey Jackson, about what green initiatives they are undertaking for 2022 and how attendees can get involved.  

Q: How does All Points East stand out from other festivals in its approach to environmental issues? 

A: All Points East follows a wide range of environmental initiatives in regards to waste, food, energy and transport, but we also take great pride in our In the Neighbourhood community event. This five-day festival takes place in between the two music weekends in collaboration with Tower Hamlets council and includes a variety of locally-based content providers and suppliers.  

It's ‘for the community, from the community’ and puts a spotlight on the local supplier chain and the incredible organisations from the East London area. Although it’s not what people initially think of when they hear ‘green’, working with local businesses is one of the most sustainable and beneficial things you can do for the climate. 

Q: Who are you partnering with to make the festival more sustainable?  

The organisers of All Points East Festival in Victoria Park

The team at All Points East are building on previous sustainability plans to create an even greener event for 2022 - Credit: Tom Hancock

A: We’re working with A Greener Festival (AGF) to enhance and support our sustainability initiatives and strategy from 2022 onwards. We’re also applying for the Greener Festival Award certification for the first time. This is a detailed assessment of our sustainability from local ecosystems and community impacts, to waste, power, transport, food and sanitation, through to behaviour change, communications, diversity and inclusion.  

Most Read

AGF is also completing a detailed CO2 analysis of the entire event, including audience and supplier travel, embodied carbon in food and materials, as well as operational emissions. This is the start of our strategy towards being a net-zero event. 

Q: Can you give some examples of the green initiatives you are working on this year?  

A: There are several initiatives we are working on and building up from previous years. To summarise a few, we have:  

  • 100 per cent HVO Biofuel (which releases 90 per cent fewer emissions) 
  • 100 per cent compostable serveware and an improved composting system 
  • Zero waste to landfill 
  • 100 per cent of food traders serving a vegan option and increasing plant-based ingredients  
  • Green artist rider provided to all artists and agents  
  • Carbon calculator on ticket purchases to balance our audience’s travel emissions  
  • Free and accessible bike parking 
  • Fairtrade tea and coffee 
  • Free drinking water and refill points  
  • Single-use plastic and plastic bottles banned across the site 
  • Promotion of public transport and cycling to the festival  
  • Collaboration with Music Declares Emergency to raise awareness of the climate crisis.  

Q: How can festival-goers reduce their carbon footprint? 

Festival attendees at All Points East in Victoria Park, 2021

The festival site will have a number of recycling and waste disposable areas, as well as free and accessible bike parking around the perimeter - Credit: Tom Hancock

A: We’ve partnered with Energy Revolution / ecolibrium again this year and have an add-on option to our ticket purchases, where customers can ‘balance out’ their carbon emissions from travel. This money is then used to invest in community-led projects that generate clean, renewable energy. It’s a great way to tackle the issue around travel and engage customers from the first point of the event journey. 

We encourage all customers to arrive via public transport or to cycle and have increased the provisions for bike parking around the festival perimeter. There are no car parks on site to keep this number down (excluding blue badge parking). We also have a great deal of signage to help people recycle and dispose of their waste properly, as well as having Music Declares Emergency on site to interact with attendees about the climate emergency. 

With AGF, we are having regular sustainability meetings as a part of the event pre-production and are working with all departments to not only give direction but also gather feedback to shape the event’s sustainability initiatives in the future.  

To find out more or buy a ticket for All Points East festival, visit allpointseastfestival.com.