Blues fest set to move to a new greener site

Byron Council planners have recommended an application to stage next year’s East Coast Blues and Roots Festival on festival-owned land at Tyagarah be approved.

They have also recommended that consent to stage the festival on the 120-ha site be given initially for five years, at which time the suitability of continuing to hold the festival on the site will be assessed.

Organisers are planning to have 20,000 people attend each day of the five-day festival at Easter, with 6250 people camping on site.

Councillors were due to make a decision on the recommendation at an extraordinary council meeting yesterday.

A report to the meeting said the development application had attracted 86 submissions – 85 against and one in support.

The environmental credentials of the festival have again been recognised with the event named an international winner of the Greener Festival Awards for 2009 for the third time in a row.

Bluesfest joins 15 UK and international festivals, including Glastonbury (England), T-in-The-Park (Scotland), Atlanta Jazz Festival (USA), Bonnaroo (USA) and Peats Ridge Festival (Australia) as recipients of the award this year.

The Greener Festival Award is based on a 56-point checklist which covers green office policies, energy use and carbon reduction, travel and transport, support for green initiatives, waste management, recycling, water use and environmental protection and noise pollution.

Additionally, awards organisers have a team of environmental auditors who visit festivals to assess environmental good practice and effective green policies.

“As an event that has been waste-wise since 1997, we take our environmentally responsible actions very, very seriously. Bluesfest is known for putting the world’s leading socially and environmentally aware artists on stage – and that has to be reflected by everything we do in front of the stage too,” said Bluesfest director, Peter Noble.

“This year we recycled 36.2 tonnes of waste at our 20th birthday event – a great feat as it was probably the wettest event in our history, which posed all sorts of challenges.

“The only packaging you could get on site was recyclable cardboard and it’s using the right packaging that counts, not abandoning packaging altogether. I do believe you have to give people viable alternatives that are environmentally sound, the opportunity to do the right thing.

Fundamentalism won’t save the planet – awareness and action will.”

Mr Noble said when Bluesfest moved to its new site it would be greener still with the installation of wind and solar power, plus bio-diesel fuel.

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