R&A ups its eco credentials

Kartents: tents made out of cardboard | Photo: Lauren Constable

Festivals can be messy affairs which generate a huge amount of waste. Tens of thousands of plastic cups, and food dishes, along with cheap discarded tents has created tonnes of waste in the past. But the demand for more eco responsibility is creating a new culture amongst music lovers, and Wanaka’s Rhythm & Alps (R&A) is leading the way.

Festival organisers are now offering a more sustainable option; tents made out of cardboard. The Kartents arrive flatpacked, and are really quick to build. They're set up in advance for campers, and while the cardboard has got a waterproof coating, it is recyclable.
A little rain fell overnight testing the collection of 50 cardboard tents put up by festival organisers as a recyclable alternative to the thousands of $20 nylon tents usually used for two nights and then dumped.

The tents are popular in Europe, but it's the first time they've featured at a Kiwi festival. R&A communications manager Celia Crosbie said she’s pretty sure the Kartents (pictured) will feature again in future festivals as “they were a big success”.
This event also saw the end of the single-use drinking vessel and festival goers purchased a more solid cup to last through the event. These efforts combined to make R&A the most sustainable festival so far. “Festivals do produce a lot of waste, huge amounts. So any step you can take to divert, or educate or have a better impact is really crucial and important," event manager Fiona McMartin said.

Festival director, Alex Turnbull said, "It's an immaculate, very clean festival site - the cleanest we've seen."

The globally renowned music festival, now in its eighth year, wrapped after three days of incredible live music at Robrosa Station in Cardrona Valley. Some 5500 campers and 4500 non-campers attended the event, which boasted chart-topping international acts such as Australian singer-songwriter Matt Corby and rock band The Cat Empire, American rappers Action Bronson and Vince Staples and UK-based DJ Wilkinson.
Despite the large crowd of party-goers, R&A festival director Alex Turnbull said the event ran smoothly with no arrests or concerns.
“Rhythm & Alps has a reputation as a positive, relaxed event and everyone is generally pretty well-behaved. We always get a good crowd of people who come to see amazing live music and just enjoy the general vibe of the festival,” he says. “We have an exceptional local team who pull this together every year and we couldn’t be happier with how this year’s event turned out.”
Kiwi acts such as reggae group The Blacks Seeds, electronic star Baynk, Christchurch band The Butlers and singer-songwriter Julia Deans of Fur Patrol fame also took the stage, along with many other international acts.
“We are stoked with all of our artists – many of them travelled halfway around the world to get here and when they did, they put on a hell of a show. The atmosphere was electric for the entire three days,” Turnbull added. “The support they had behind the scenes, as well as the quality of the stage production, really took all of the performances to the next level.”



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