Say No to Single Plastics and Take Your Tent Home, say Festival Organisers

REDUCING the impact on the environment will be a key theme of this year’s Reading Festival.

More than 105,000 revellers will descend on St John’s Farm this year for what will be the biggest ever festival event in Reading. The Council is joining forces with Festival Republic to urge festival goers to take action to care for their environment.

Reading Borough Council declared a climate change emergency earlier this year, committing to a carbon neutral town by 2030, and also pledged to do all it could to become plastic free. Together with Festival Republic it is urging festival goers to:

  • Say no to ‘single use’ plastics and take your tent home with you. Don’t forget the majority of abandoned tents end up in landfill.
  • Think about how you get here and get home – car share, catch a coach, catch a train and use the station shuttle bus provided
  • Bring your own water bottle and refill it as much as you like at the taps provided
  • Make use of the 10p refundable deposit for all bottles and cups, redeemable at refund points in the arena
  • Take some time to put the right waste in the right bin by making use of the ‘three bin’ system in operation

As part of this year’s push to make the event the greenest ever, Festival Republic is challenging revellers to become a ‘zero waste’ festival goer and appear on the main stage screens, alongside festival artists, to help spread the green festival message. Crews will be filming across campsites on the Thursday.

Single use plastic cutlery has been banned since 2009; all water bottles sold are made from 50% recycled plastic; all trader soft drinks will be served from cans and decanted into paper cups in the arena; and all bottled alcoholic drinks will be decanted into cups to increase recycling rates further, which already stand at 67% at the Reading Festival.

More information on the environmental initiatives running at this year’s Reading Festival can be found at https://www.readingfestival.com/information-category/staying-green

Melvin Benn, MD of Festival Republic, said:

“We have put in place a number of initiatives to help Reading Festival goers take proactive decisions about their carbon footprint and deal with their stuff responsibly. As a company we have committed to eliminating single use plastic by 2021 and reducing our carbon emissions by 50% by 2030.  We do everything that we can, but we need your help too. Have fun, enjoy your weekend, keep each other safe, and take your tent home!”

Tony Page, Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:

“The Council’s commitment to a climate emergency and a carbon neutral Reading by 2030 means we are delighted to support Festival Republic on a range of environmentally friendly initiatives in place at this year’s festival. A big part of that is of course how people choose to travel to and from the campsites. We would urge festival goers to car share wherever it is possible or even better arrange for coach or rail travel into Reading, where they can then make use of the regular shuttle bus which operates to and from the campsites from the station.

“Local residents will know very well how busy the town is before, during and after the festival weekend and we would again advise them to plan ahead and use public transport wherever possible, as it is often the quickest way to get around.”

Sophia James, the Council’s Lead Councillor for Neighbourhoods, said:

“Earlier this year Reading Council pledged to do all it can to become a plastic free Council. An important part of that is to work closely with partners such as Festival Republic to reduce the use of single use plastics as far as possible. With 105,000 people attending this year’s event that is a huge challenge, but together with Festival Republic we are appealing to people to say no to single use plastics by taking their tents home with them on Sunday and Monday.

“There are a range of other initiatives in operation both in the arena and in the campsites all aimed at reducing plastic use, further improving recycling rates and reducing the impact on the environment. People come to Reading Festival to have a good time, but we ask them to think about their environment while they are here.”

Traffic and Travel During the Festival

All roads in and around Reading will again be busy throughout the week beginning August 19th, but congestion is expected to peak from Wednesday August 21st and Thursday August 22nd as festival-goers arrive in town. It will peak again on Bank Holiday Monday (August 26th) as crowds depart. The town will also be busy for the duration of the festival, which runs from Friday August 23rd to Sunday August 25th.

Local residents who need to get around town should consider their journey carefully. Where possible taking the bus, cycling and walking may offer a speedier journey. People who do need to travel are being advised to allow plenty of time.

Parking restrictions will be in place around the Richfield Avenue site as usual and the area should be avoided if possible. Festival car parking is available at Mapledurham and Kings Meadow for parking pass holders. Hills Meadow Car Park will be the dedicated area for drop off/pick up. From here festival goers can either walk to the site, or use the free shuttle boats provided. For festival visitors parking at Mapledurham, a pedestrian bridge has again been constructed direct to the site to ensure easy access. For those parking in Kings Meadow, a boat service is provided free of charge to help transport everyone, including tents and belongings, to the festival site.

As usual, temporary traffic management will be in place at various locations around town. For security and safety, a night-time closure of the Thames Path (from 9pm to 6am) will again be in operation from Thursday August 22nd, to Saturday August 24th inclusive. The closure will apply between Scours Lane to the far end of Thames Side Promenade.

There is again a full closure of Richfield Avenue – between its junctions with Cardiff Road and Tessa Road – from 10.30pm to 1.00am, on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday (August 23rd, 24th and 25th). This closure is to assist a safe exit from the festival site of the 20,000 day ticket holders.

During Bank Holiday Monday, the Napier Road / Vastern Road roundabout will be particularly busy, with temporary traffic management utilised if required. The northbound closure of Cow Lane is likely to be reinstated between 8am and 3pm to assist with the coach transfers and exit of service vehicles on the festival site, depending on traffic levels in this area. It is advisable to avoid driving through these areas if possible, in addition to the areas immediately around the site and main event car parks, during Bank Holiday Monday.

Reading Borough Council has again worked with the festival organisers to produce travel information leaflets. These have been sent out with tickets with details of bus, rail and park and ride services.

The quickest walking route from Reading Station to the site is via the Northern Interchange. Festival visitors also have the option of travelling to the site via hackney carriages, or a special festival shuttle bus that will operate from the northern exit of the station.

To help maintain traffic flow, the Council’s parking enforcement officers will as always be working alongside police to crack down on people who park illegally and cause an obstruction.

Throughout the duration of the festival a temporary taxi rank will be operating in Tessa Road – opposite the Rivermead Leisure Centre next to the festival site – as a further option when travelling to and from the site. There will be a second taxi rank at Thames Prom for those exiting the site on Monday only. Visitors are being reminded that they should pre-book private hire vehicles and not hail them from the roadside. All licensed vehicles will display a Reading Borough Council plate on the back and all drivers should have an identity badge in full view.

For private cars, the only pick-up and drop-off is Hills Meadow car park. Festival goers then have the option of walking along the tow path to the festival site via Christchurch Bridge, the Council’s pedestrian and cycle bridge over the Thames, or taking the free boat up to one of the ticket entrance gates.

Rivermead Leisure Centre and its facilities will be closed for normal activities for the three days of the festival.

A special hotline number – 0208 396 7621 – has been set up for local residents’ use who wish to offer comments, or to raise queries during the event. The line will be answered between 9am and 5pm on Wednesday 21st August, and then 24 hours from 9am on Thursday 22nd until 3pm Monday 26th August. Residents can also email: licensing@reading.gov.uk. Emails will be checked regularly during main event hours. Alternatively people can contact organisers Festival Republic directly on info@festivalrepublic.com during office hours.

Oscar Mortali

For media enquiries about this release email oscar.mortali@reading.gov.uk or call 0118 937 2301