UWE Bristol students evaluating energy use and recycling management at Glastonbury Festival

Issue date: 19 June 2015

Glastonbury Festival

Students from the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) are working with the organisers of the Glastonbury Festival to help with a project looking at the use of energy and recycling management on the festival site.

Each year the festival runs a high profile 'Love the Farm, Leave no Trace' campaign which encourages festival-goers to bring only what they intend to use or take away with them at the end of the festival and to recycle where possible during the event itself.

The team of six student volunteers from the MSc Events Management,MSc Sustainable Development in Practice and BA Business Team Entrepreneurship programmes, will be undertaking research designed to help the festival organisers monitor and reduce the waste at the Pennard Hill and Arcadia campsites.

This year, an innovative approach is being adopted to encouraging campers to take personal responsibility for reducing waste at their campsites. The Arcadia and Pennard Hill campsites will be using a variety of techniques to encourage a sense of community spirit and collective responsibility amongst their campers.

The UWE students will be evaluating the impact of this new approach on the festival camping experience and the extent to which it reduces waste during and after the event. Students will be interviewing campers and carrying out a survey at the end of the event. Their findings will feed directly into the festival's sustainability planning for next year and beyond.

The project is co-ordinated by Dr Fiona Jordan, Associate Dean (External Engagement) in UWE Bristol's Faculty of Business and Law and Miriam Firth, Lecturer in Education at The University of Manchester based in the Manchester Institute of Education (MIE).

Dr Jordan has been working with Glastonbury over the past few years to develop volunteering, work-based learning and research opportunities. She said, “It's really exciting that our relationship with Glastonbury Festival is developing year-on-year. For UWE Events students in particular the festival offers a unique opportunity to gain experience through their contributions. This year's research project enables UWE students from a variety of programmes to use their knowledge and research skills to help the festival organisers evaluate the impact of their innovative approaches to sustainability.”

Patrick O'Flynn from UWE Bristol, a Senior Lecturer in Building Services and Energy Management, said, “The festival is powered by over 270 electric generators, with the biggest users being stage lighting and acoustics, power for retail traders and motors.

“Always wishing to be efficient and to explore alternative sources of energy, the festival organisers have instigated a number of improvements to their energy system which they want UWE students to help manage and record.

“These include wireless monitoring systems, stage management protocols, generator/battery hybrid systems and retail traders' energy management guides. If successful this could be the next step in making the festival a test bed in the study of temporary power.”

Student Volunteer, Paula Bisordi Huwel, will be evaluating the energy system. She said, “As president of UWE Engineers Without Borders (EWB) society, I and some of the EWB team are delighted to be part of the UWE Glastonbury energy challenge. Not only will it be a great experience for all the students involved, but developing insights into the practical aspects of temporary power generation, will hopefully lay the foundation of knowledge exchange activities we have planned with parts of the world more dependent on such power systems.

“Most of the team, myself included, are studying BEng (Hons) Architecture and Environmental Engineering at UWE and our course has taught us building services such as power distribution, combustion physics, lighting technology, acoustics and thermal energy systems all of which will be useful as we work with the festival organisers, stage production teams and mobile traders to improve energy efficiency and help to plan the transition to more sustainable energy sources.

“I'll be working with a friend to focus on the Arcadia Stage power supply. With close monitoring and working with the stage production team, we hope to come up with tips to make more efficient energy stage management. We are both very excited and are sure it will be a challenging but very rewarding experience and look forward to sharing all of our findings and developments.”

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