After last year's festival, and a year that told us - among so many other shocking things about our environment - that we had '12 years to save the planet', we had a closer look at GJF to see if we could do things a bit differently....this is what we've come up with so far
Carbon Footprint measurement
This year we've partnered with the Ryan Institute at NUIG http://www.nuigalway.ie/ryaninstitute/ to measure accurately the entire carbon footprint of the festival. That's internet activity, travel, venue power, audience behaviour...we'll need your help with this one! There'll be a team of volunteers armed with audience survey forms that will help us collect essential data, and once we've crunched the numbers the results will be made available to interested parties.
Minimising flights, offering slow travel and using public transport where possible for our artists, and encouraging walking, cycling, public transport and car-pooling for our wonderful audiences!
It's tricky bringing international artists to Ireland and not have them fly, and air travel is one of the biggest contributors to GJF's carbon footprint. We're working on all sorts of ideas to try and improve the situation, but for next year, would you consider pledging to take one fewer flight to offset the flight of a visiting musician? Mail us on email@example.com if the answer is yes. The number of pledges will correspond to the number of international artists we invite to GJF20!
Ask any Galwegian if there was one thing they'd like improved in their city and nine out of ten will say the traffic. It's a total mess, and we don't want to add into it. If possible, please walk, cycle or use public transport to come to the festival, but if you've no option other than taking the car, then fill it with 4 or more people and we can get you free parking!
We've partnered with the Port Of Galway authority to encourage a bit of neighbourly car pooling and help minimize your impact on the roads. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for details.
Worse than drugs, just say no! We've been very aware of the curse of plastic for a few years now, but really going for zero-tolerance this year. That includes laminates, cable ties, outside advertising, backstage food packaging and of course the hideous plastic bottle of water :(
With perfectly safe potable water at the turn of a tap throughout Galway city, it seems nuts that we've bought into the whole notion of bottled water. But when you notice that there isn't a single public drinking tap from Eyre Sq. to the Prom in Salthill it might explain things a bit! So we're pushing the wonderful www.refill.ie initiative where you can find dozens of businesses across the city who'll fill your water bottle free of charge
Local, organic and preferably plant based! That's how we'll be feeding the small army of visiting musicians, and encourage everyone coming along to do likewise. The festival is supported by a huge range of fantastic eateries from the best of streetfood to Michelin starred and everything in between. What they share in common is a commitment to sourcing sustainably produced and locally sourced ingredients. Check out our 'Eat and Drink' section
Tea and Coffee
We've noticed over the last couple of years that a large proportion of the waste we produce as a festival is single use non-recyclable coffee cups. In a perfect world many of these are perfectly compostable, but we don't have the recycling infrastructure to deal with them, so they wind up going to landfill. And we love our tea and coffee!
As an alternative, this year we're introducing the Improvised Mug Collective (IMC). It's simple, each day of the festival the we'll have a selection of mugs at a designated point so if you forget/ don't have a keep cup then drop by, borrow a mug, enjoy your favourite brew then drop the mug back when you're finished. We think the empty vessels of the IMC can help reduce our waste even further!
Delighted to be working again with Standard Print, and this year we've sourced 100% vegetable oil-based inks so we can ditch the petroleum based industry standard. We're keeping the print run of the programme at the same size as last year, so please just pick up one and hang on to it!
No merch, there's enough stuff
We're trying to bring the message from backstage to centre stage - have a look through the programme and you'll notice a number of events that bring resistance, inclusivity, and environment to the heart of the festival. Cornerstones of sustainability.