Creating an ecologically conscious festival

Bram Merkx August 01, 2023

"The involvement of our audience has been mind blowing"

One of the core components of Boom Festival's vision is to create an ecologically conscious festival, leaving their visitors and festival grounds better than they found it.

With a sustainability program that is based on 12(!) dimensions, the festival has developed different levels of intervention to continuously reduce their festival footprint. Boom Festival’s Artur Mendes tells us what steps this Portuguese GDCF member festival has taken to become more circular:

"Boom Festival takes place on its own land. Our eco-policy is not only about the festival itself but primarily about regeneration of the land based on permaculture and regenerative design principles, around which the festival is designed and sustained. Our is “to transform people and regenerate the land”.

All of our food vendors fill out a Know Your Food charter to monitor the sustainability of menus. We support local producers and a majority plant-based policy. Yet we do not want to be orthodox and believe that having a goal of 85% plant-based options, whilst also allowing for local producers that have an ethical stance on animal based food production, give the public an opportunity to make informed choices.

Most of Boom’s architecture is made with a minimum range of materials: certified wood, bamboo, re-used steel and also fabric that is re-purposed edition after edition. We also create a lot of land art with local materials.

We rely on solar energy for daily life at Boomland, including office and administration requirements and water pumps. We also have a solar-grid. For the festival we use eco-efficient generators. Our goal is to increase clean generator use, but as of yet this is not available in Portugal.

Boom has two biological water treatment stations. Water comes from the grid. After treatment, it is introduced onto the land for reforestation and regeneration. We are working on a project to re-use the water not only for regeneration but also for showers, creating a closed water cycle. As Portugal is facing systemic drought, water is one of our main priorities.

The involvement of our audience has been mind blowing

The involvement of our audience has been mind blowing. Countries that have industry ecosystems favouring sustainable development generally support the festival industry. In Portugal this is not the case, which has led to us following a do-it-yourself approach and the adoption of permaculture techniques on a massive scale. We also create a festival on our own land, which is very remote, adding to our logistical challenges.

Our next step is to keep on regenerating the land and innovating with solutions that can become available to everyone, following the principles of permaculture and circular economy."

Read all about Boom Festival's environmental efforts here


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