Bestival – sustainable, green, fun and funky!

As you may know, a couple of weeks ago I was kindly invited by the lovely people at Alpro Soya to enjoy a weekend of fabulousness at Bestival, on the Isle of Wight – and what a weekend it was.

Bestival, sited on Robin Hill Country Park, is one of the biggest, most magical and greenest festival on the calendar. When I say biggest, I reaIly mean it, with a sell-­out crowd of 50,000 people attending, I’ve never seen so many tents in one place, all vying for a tiny piece of ground to call their own. Luckily, we were in the family camping area and managed to bag ourselves a huge plot (we had room to cook outside our tent!).

So, what makes Bestival so fantastic, aside from the brilliant music (which was on from 10am until 4am everyday!), where do I start…?

First stop, of course, was the Alpro Soya stand – this was really cute, designed to look like a breakfast table the Alpro Breakfest experience was all about giving people a chance to try their delicious desserts, cream and smoothies, for free, throughout the day. We were lucky enough to get some lovely vanilla smoothies and granola for breakfast, then a little later some strawberries and cream – delicious, especially in the surprisingly hot sunshine that graced all of Saturday. My boys loved the stand too, mainly because of the fun they were having in the giant breakfast bowl which was full of white balls, giant ‘slices’ of strawberries and a huge silver spoon. They were not the only ‘kids’ that enjoyed it, queues of festival-goers all lined up to jump in the pool and have their photo taken, these are soon to be posted on Alpro Soya’s Facebook page, so people can tag them selves too.

What else did we love, well being the Queen of Easy Green™ my next stop had to be the ‘Tomorrow’s World’ area, where everything was inspired by living in a sustainable and green future.

Greeted by Gweido who was playing in the Solar Powered tent, the ‘Tomorrow’s World’ area was very reminiscent of a village fete. People eating picnics, children having fun in the play area, crowds of people playing crazy golf, the farmer’s market and of course, a people –powered dancefloor…! Yes, you read that correctly.

You may recall that a little while ago, I wrote an article about Pavegen, the award-winning technology company that produce energy generating flooring systems from recycled materials, well they were there and this time they’d brought along their specially designed ‘dance floor’. Encouraging festival goers to have a bop, the power produced by the dancers illuminated a 6ft LED screen showing the amount of energy they were harvesting from their dancing feet. In return for a dance, people could also use the electricity generated from the activity to charge up their mobile phone which was hugely popular and a fantastically fun, free, sustainable solution to an all too common festival problem. How fantastic is that!

In fact when it came to charging up mobile phones there was quite a choice, as well as Pavegen’s ‘dancing feet’ power solution, the 10:10 tent provided pedal power charging and the EcoMobile VW Camper which aimed to break its 2010 record of charging 700 phones using solar power.

Being green also extended throughout the festival with everybody being given a recycling sack on entry, lots of recycling points, bins, a cup deposit scheme and the Campsite Hubs where the Green Team exchanged a free cup of tea for every bag of recycled rubbish brought back. There were also huge rows of compost toilets – yuk, you’d think, but I can vouch they were surprisingly odourless and far more roomy than the conventional portaloo’s we’re generally used to.

These were all fantastic initiatives, however with piles of recycled rubbish mixed with general rubbish accumulated in the pick up points, it was clearly evident that many people don’t know how to, or are not that conscientious about sorting their rubbish. It was also disheartening to hear the ‘boos’ that 10:10 creator Franny Armstrong got when she took to the stage to discuss global warming and how festivals can do their bit to reduce carbon emissions. Were the crowd booing because they don’t agree with the principles of being green or was it because addressing an audience ‘hyped’ to hear music, is not to most opportune timing. I’d hope the latter.

So to summarise, Bestival was amazing from the surreal ‘Wishing Tree’, to the thrills of the Free Sports Park – mountainboarding is now my boys latest ‘craze’- to the brilliant music, Grandmaster Flash being my favouite (I am old school) we all had a ball.

Thank you again Alpro Soya from us all – now the only issue we have is how we can top that next year!!

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