Sustainability at the Winter Droving 2021

2019 Winter Droving masks credit Cathy Masser 65

A greener Winter Droving

Eden Arts are passionate about producing the best and most environmentally conscious Winter Droving possible. In a first of its kind study, Eden Arts - who created the Droving - and researchers from the University of Huddersfield are going to take a snapshot of the carbon footprint of the Winter Droving on Saturday 30 October. Eden Arts will be conducting a mass survey, asking audiences where they have travelled from and via which mode of transport. They will also collect the same data from the festival’s performers, including artists and crew. Transport for festival staging will also be collated, along with that of the food and beverage concessions (and their food miles and power usage). The power used by acts and the transport of staff and contractors will also be included. Once all the data is collected, it will be studied by researchers to give organisers a sense of the Winter Droving’s carbon footprint.

“We know that we all have to take our responsibilities seriously,” says event Director Adrian Lochhead, “and we need to study the reality to inform taking action. We want to try and understand the big causes of carbon use at the Droving, hopefully this research will go a long way towards establishing that”.

Eden Arts are leading this initiative to provide useful insight into the carbon footprint of the festival and to help create environmentally sustainable events in the future. It may also help other organisations develop sustainability best practice for arts events. Eden Arts Project Manager Nikki Dawson says, ‘It is wonderful to be working with well respected researchers at the University of Huddersfield on this snapshot data collection. It would be impossible to ask every single Drover where they have travelled from, via what form of transport, but by collecting this information from a snapshot of the audience from 5-6pm and 7-8pm, we can get a strong sense of how far people have travelled. Combining that with data about the stall holders and artists etc, we get a better idea of the event’s carbon footprint.’

Along with this study, Eden Arts will be engaging with attendees via a series of banners around the event, asking the attendees to suggest what they think is the biggest carbon producer. The food stalls? Or could it be the audience? Is it the Wall of Death? This is designed to get an idea of people’s perceptions as well as encouraging everyone to think about pollution and sustainability. Attendees will be asked to vote, using a QR code and results will be unveiled on social media after the Winter Droving.

Eden District Council will also be collecting air pollution levels on the Saturday before the festival and the Saturday of the Winter Droving, to compare data. This will help determine if the festival creates more air pollution in Penrith town centre, than on average Saturdays.

Food and beverage providers will also be doing their bit to help the festival become more sustainable. No single use plastic can be used, this includes no single sauce sachets, salt packets or milk. Bulk dispensers will be used instead to dramatically reduce the amount of waste produced. All serve-ware waste will be made from compostable, reusable or recyclable materials.

This year Eden Arts are using wristbands to help monitor attendee numbers and prevent overcrowding, in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. These wristbands are made from silicone which can be recycled by specialist recyclers or you can make use of your wristbands for years to come. Organisers hope that attendees will carry on wearing the wristbands - proud to be an official Drover!

Alternatively, Eden Arts have come up with some inventive ways in which you can use your wristbands after the event. They can make great labels for bottles and jars as they are impervious to moisture, which makes them freezer and fridge safe. They also make handy labels for plants. Simply turn them inside out and write on the inside of the wristband with a marker. Because they are silicone, even permanent marker can be easily washed off, allowing them to be reused indefinitely. They are also great jar lids openers! Securing the wristband to the sides of the cap can give you just enough extra grip to easily open stubborn jars.

Every aspect of the festival this year has been scrutinised by the organisers in order to make sustainable changes where possible. Any food provided by Eden Arts during the event for performers and guests will be vegan.

This year Eden Arts are making a public and conscious effort to create a sustainable festival and produce research that can hopefully lower the carbon footprint of future Winter Drovings.

You can help support this year’s event by becoming an Official Drover by making a donation and getting your wristbands here -

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  • Eden District Council
  • Supported using public funding by Arts Council England