Kendal Mountain Festival 2018 – Sustainability at the festival (Preview)


Suddenly the mass media have coined this word into popular culture. Brands everywhere are racing to shout about their sustainability credentials, even those in dirty industries i.e “clean coal”. We all want the benefits that come with less pollution, less waste and a full circle from concept to end of life of a product. However, what sacrifices and changes are we willing to make?

Last year, at the festival, I remember walking around the Brewery Arts Centre, prior to the Fell Running Session, where I came across a leaflet pinned to the notice board. On it, a link to a sustainability questionnaire. Fast forward 51 weeks and I’m preparing to head back to the KMF, this time as a Sustainability Ambassador for the festival.

I’m the first to put my hands up and say I use my car too much. I should cycle and run to work more. I have cut down my purchases of single use plastic, but I’m far from achieving a perfect score. My purchases of textiles are down and I am looking more into what they are made of, how are they are produced, but more than anything, repairing and wearing, rather then throwing out and using this years shade thats just slightly different. I will admit, reviewing products can be tricky, as it does put excess kit that wont be used in my hands – but where I can, friends benefit.

To me, sustainability isn’t going eco warrior and pinning my heart to my chest publicly. It’s about becoming more aware, spreading knowledge and ideas in a controlled, thought out way. Encourage and educate, rather than criticise. It’s also about the overall picture, after all, if we all switch from A to B immediately, where is B sourced and with the demand spike, will that be done in a sustainable way, without a huge ecological impact? Take reducing your meat intake. Over the past two years, my partner and I have reduced our meat intake, however, we aren’t vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan or which every niche of label you may wish to pin on your chest. Life for us is about balance, and moreover, where are all these avocados coming from in unlimited supply now?! One lifestyle choice is not necessarily the answer and researching a broad array of options provides you to make a judged, informed decision.

With a little bit of thought, you can be prepared and in doing so, more sustainable at the festival

  1. Travel – if you can catch a train or car share to and from Kendal, rather then drive alone, you’ll cut emissions down significantly.
  2. Carry a reusable flask. For double points, carry 2! One for coffee, one for water!
  3. Carry cutlery – if you’re like me and love lightweight kit, you can’t beat some titanium cutlery. Save using plastic cutlery from a street vendor, shop or service station.
  4. Avoid plastic straws
  5. Use your flask for water refills, rather than purchasing bottled water
  6. Use recycling bins where possible
  7. Do your best to avoid single use plastic packaging
  8. Considered purchases from local vendors, with produce grown/produced locally
  9. Bring your favourite trail pack or tote, to carry essentials and purchases in
  10. Repair your kit, or even better bring it to Patagonia’s Worn Wear Tour for a repair in the Basecamp
  11. Enjoy yourself, it Kendal Mountain Festival!

The question is what has Kendal Mountain Festival been getting up to and what will be at the 2018 festival?

I reached out to to the festival to find out about their plans for this year and what had been going on in the background.

2018 has been an exciting year for Kendal Mountain Festival. The team have evaluated their journey so far and looked inwards at what they do, and outwards at what they want to do. Consequently, the team, their ideas and Festival partnerships, content and tours continue to grow. There has been a lot of work behind the scenes, and the Festival’s commitment to sustainability is evident in this years program. The team have worked creatively to deliver entertaining content that celebrates connection: Of people, ideas, community and passion, to our environment. 
Last year, a survey showed a large proportion of the audience attended to reinforce their sense of belonging within the outdoor community and be inspired by athletes and adventurers they admire. It highlighted that the audience exhibit strong values and awareness of sustainability, and seek to live more sustainably and create a sustainable community. This survey will run again, alongside deeper exploration and feedback from key partners (audience, speakers, venues, sponsors, governmental and non governmental partners). This will help the Festival understand if their values and message is clear in the content they deliver and actions they take. Firstly to determine what is sustainable and then identify routes to making it more so. The research will be supplemented by stories – something intrinsic to the Festival – by interviewing those involved in shaping this event.  All of this research will be guided by the UN’s Good Life Goals, which are a call for individual action to work collectively towards sustainability.”
And the role of the sustainability ambassadors?
“At Kendal Mountain Festival 2017, a group of Sustainability Ambassadors were recruited to participate in continued monitoring of the Festival’s drive towards sustainability. They will play a key role this year, by scoring individual events. Their input is crucial, as it will provide the academic rigour necessary to prompt action and build a sustainable strategy for Kendal Mountain Festival.”

Now there is plenty to see and do, for the full programme you will need to have a look at the festival website, where they have now released details of every session and activity on offer……

But, for good measure here are some of the related sessions below