Festival wins Premier’s award

January 7, 2021 BY

Volunteers show off the waste system. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

QUEENSCLIFF Music Festival has been recognised for its ‘War On Waste’ program in 2019, which saw it partner with Bellarine Catchment Network to reduce the landfill generated by the festival.

The approach was multi-tiered and included a dedicated waste bin system, a central dish cleaning kitchen for all 30 vendors meaning cutlery, bowls and cups were recycled and an education program which included a tree propagation station.

The results were remarkable. At a festival where 25,000 pass through over three days, the festival sent a mere 178 kilograms of waste to landfill, a whopping 95 per cent decrease from the prior year.

The festival partnered with Feed Me Bellarine which rescued 500 kilograms of food with help from the food vendors, which was recycled into meals for people in need.
Festival Director Andrew Orvis said the festival had been working toward this goal for a couple of years and was honoured to win a community award in the Premier’s Sustainability Awards.

“We have been working with Bellarine Catchment Network for a few years in different capacities on reducing our impact on the environment down here, but this was the first time on this scale,” he said.

“In the previous years we changed our waste streams to organic and we started using reusable beer and wine cups and things like that – but 2019 was the first year we used this system that included knives, forks, bowls, spoons and everything else.”

Although the approach was expensive and required more administrative and operational management, Mr Orvis hoped other festivals would be inspired by their commitment and results.

“The effort and the money involved in doing what we’re doing is huge, but the alternative is that you throw everything in the bin which go straight to landfill and we weren’t comfortable with that. We weren’t being responsible citizens or event organisers by simply throwing everything in the bin,” he said.

“The award was a nice pat on the back. Showing other festivals and events that this kind of thing is achievable and doable, especially for an event our size … it hasn’t been done before. I think we showed some other people out there what is possible.”

Despite this year not going ahead due to COVID, festival organisers adapted by quickly creating The Pelican Bar, which has held a diverse array of events in recent months.

“Without COVID, we may never have tried the Pelican Bar, but we are now seeing that it works. So maybe it is something we’d look at doing in the future. We are very much shooting for music festival in November 2021 and that is our primary goal.”

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