Six short years ago, the Yackandandah Folk Festival volunteer organising committee formed an ambition to integrate more sustainable environmental practice across the range of stuff necessary to host a folk festival. What now results is an even cooler event really exploring how to offer the funk and pleasure of live music and yet neutralise our impact on this fragile little planet. But as the global climate reports tell us from February 2016, there is way more to be done!! Feel free to offer suggestions via this website or even better, join the rest of the green team volunteers to do much, much more.
This initiative has expanded across a broader population within Yackandandah. A passionate group has formed around the transformative goal of having Yack powered entirely by renewable electricity by the year 2022. Fortunately the tumbling costs and rapid development of clean energy technology is on our side! For more details, please go to Totally Renewable Yackandandah (TRY)
This is a real crowning glory of our humble little ‘greener’ folk festival; the Saturday night ‘unplugged’ acoustic concert. Originally inspired by the International Earth Hour event, we reckon this is a great way to celebrate real music. Fortunately the 2016 festival does coincide with Earth Hour, and if fact we are starting an hour earlier, so we might just be the first 2016 Earth Hour for Australia!! This hour (plus some) concert collects a bunch of performers who each showcase a single tune – without amplification! What results is a mesmerized Town Hall bursting at the seams, an audience eager to hear the ‘awesomeness’ of raw, free-range music *** and to share the passion for a healthy natural world. We are very thankful too, for the generous sponsorship from local renewable power experts; Anything Solar. Yep – all lighting comes from LED’s driven with solar charged batteries! *** Not yet banned in Victoria.
Negative Carbon Emissions:
Well the science boffins tell us the evidence is clear and compelling that humans are dramatically and negatively impacting the global climate! So we have adopted our own little ‘festival emission reduction program (FERP).’ We are thrilled to offer Australian First; a folk festival entirely offset by solar. In partnership with Yackandandah’s cooperatively owned petrol station, YCDCo, we installed in March 2014 3kW of permanently mounted grid-connected solar panels in Yackandandah.
Across each year, we have calculated that we will generate more than sufficient power to exceed demand at the registered festival venues. More music, less dirty coal.
The generation figures for the petrol station are available on line at: Petrol Station Solar Generation Data. The Folk Festival owns a quarter of the generation output which means festival patrons have helped generate 4.9MWh of power through 2015 or an average of 13.5kWh per day. A low carbon festival indeed – now to work out how to stop emitting carbon in the first place!!
This is not the end of our plans, just part of humanity’s challenging little journey! In other efforts to balance emissions, we have also partnered with Landcare and the Yackandandah Cubs to plant in excess of 2000 trees and shrubs at Yackandandah Sports Park, the venue where the festival has been conducted over the past few years. Of course we are also taking on lots of other energy saving and waste reduction measures; the unplugged concert, creative waste management and a bike for rubbish bin duty! Gee, even our ticket office/neighbourhood house boasts 6kW of solar panels and cut the last power bill by 75%!
As a side note, you may be interested to learn that our humble little Shire of Indigo boasts the highest uptake density of solar panels in Victoria (and they have just installed 15kW of solar on their new office in Yack. How cool is that! To top it all off Yackandandah is now a designated Solar Town! See, Solar Towns.
General waste and recycling bins will be placed in the main street with caps to help with the choices. To reduce the junk we buy and promptly throw away, we are trying a few things. The four-bin system at the school food court will have our patented ‘info-boards’ to help you with those hard decisions! It will make sense we promise…
Festival Food Court – The Big 4 R’s
Refuse OK do you really need the extra plate/bag/cutlery to go with your tucker? It might only be used for a total of 45.7 seconds!! Reduce Yes you have to get your food with something – but keep it simple. Reuse Yep, Yep, you guessed it – use that cup, plate, fork or drink bottle over and over (maybe a rinse might be good but!). Recycle Yeah, Yeah, Yeah you have heard the story, so help us out!! Make sure you first consider using either the food waste bins or the compostable bio-pak bins. Failing that, recycle or finally, use general waste bins. (Where possible volunteers will be on hand in the food court to assist).
Zero Food Waste Initiative As in previous years we are providing food waste bins at the community dinner and food stall. Also, two lucky high street food shops are trialing a food waste collection service… Happy worms! Failing that, eat everything!
We are now taking steps to address the sustainable pedigree of our stocks. We are pleased to say that first focus has been on the shirts; which have historically been very popular. We have sourced Australian made shirts from. We have largely decided to stop selling much else – we all have so much already. Having said that, you can buy branded reusable cups.
Other stuff to keep in mind:
There is so much more we would like to tell you about the things we are doing, but you have probably had enough reading. Come along and check it out. And:
- Bring along your own water bottle to refill;
- Share a ride and sign your wheels up to Green Fleet;
- Warm cookies and milk are good for you (perhaps). Hold hands and stick together.
Sustainability in the Border Region:
Like so many places, there is a terrific growth in understanding and concern for the environment. The Border Region, near Albury / Wodonga, has many active groups and individuals striving to address the imbalance between humans and the natural world. For a small taste of just a few of the things going on in our area, why not check out the unique sustainability website; www.ecoportal.net.au This grassroots website provides a hub for community groups working on ways to live more gently and equitably. It also hosts a sustainable events calendar.
In 2016 the Yackandandah Folk Festival is thrilled to announce a sponsorship of our very own community energy group, Totally Renewable Yackandandah. TRY, as previously stated, has galvanized around the goal of powering Yackandandah by 100% renewable power by the year 2022. Fortunately there are many a precedent for this around the world, indeed Tasmania has been this in the pas! To assist TRY, the folk festival will commit 50% of our 2016 trading surplus to the TRY ‘Perpetual Energy Fund.’ This fund will then loan money to community energy efficiency and generation projects – to keep the ball rolling.
It is this mechanism that assisted our community owned hospital to install 90kW of solar panels and a host of energy efficiency measures and launched in February, 2016. Go Yack.