Going Green – Our Push for a Sustainable Festival
Written by Karly Blats
Port Alberni’s Five Acre Shaker and Social Root Consulting have teamed up to create a more sustainable music festival.
For the second year in a row, the Shaker will be held at McLean Mill for three full days of music, comedy, art, vendors, workshops and much more from Aug. 10-12.
Thinking green, Shaker organizer Lance Goddard and Genevieve Huneault, co-founder of Social Root Consulting, collaborated to come up with three sustainability goals for the festival.
The first goal is that the Shaker will not be selling or distributing any single-use plastics.
“Specifically we’ve banned plastic straws and the sale of plastic water bottles which means no vendor will sell plastic water bottles and we’re going to have water stations instead,” Huneault said “On the side of drink pourers and beer pourers, we’re either going to have biodegradable cups or reusable bottles for sale or giveaway.”
Shaker organizers encourage festival goers to bring their own water bottles.
The second goal is to reduce waste by offering three options for trash: compost, recycling and garbage.
“We’re also going to be doing a waste audit, so after the festival we will be digging through that garbage and we’ll see basically how well it worked,” Huneault said. “Ideally, the purpose is to decrease the load on our local landfill.”
Thirdly, the Shaker has a goal to cut down on the amount of vehicle traffic at the site.
“We’re working with the City of Port Alberni and they’ve agreed to extend a bus route out to the Shaker which is going to help in terms of individuals driving there,” Huneault said. “We’re also going to be pushing alternative transportation.”
Folks are encouraged to take the Shaker shuttle, carpool or bike.
“It’s only 30 minutes (to bike) from the city core to McLean Mill, so we do challenge and want to encourage people to bike,” Huneault said. “We’re also going to be doing a survey, so anyone that arrives we’re hoping to get where they came from and how they got there. What we’re hoping to do with that information is to measure it for potential carbon offsetting and what worked and what didn’t.”
A schedule for the Shaker shuttle will be up on www.fiveacre.ca and on social media shortly.
The Shaker’s green initiatives work towards a bigger goal for organizers of supporting and providing change in consumer behaviour and attitude while still celebrating music and culture.
“From a global perspective we’re facing a lot of unprecedented challenges to repair and sustain social and ecological issues and systems, so this is kind of a chance for music festivals, particularly the shaker to respond to some of those challenges,” Huneault said.
The Shaker is also working towards social inclusion.
“We’ve reached out to the local First Nations and Tseshaht has agreed to be on board so we do have a member from their council who is on the planning committee,” Huneault said. “We’re just hoping to build our relationships and increase our capacity, whether that looks like a First Nation’s section on the festival grounds, in our operations, or in our artists. We want to really ensure that there’s a holistic, inclusive approach to everything we’re doing.”
Goddard said sustainable initiatives will continue to be implemented each year as the Shaker grows.
“We cannot wait to see what this new collaborative relationship will bring to the Shaker,” Goddard said.
Visit www.fiveacre.ca for more information and tickets.