Environmental Stewardship

The Vancouver Folk Music Festival is a leader in environmental stewardship; environmental consciousness continues to be one of the principle guides in the operation of our organization.

We’re always striving to minimize our impact on the environment and work hard to keep Jericho Beach Park clean and green. This means that we’re not only trying to improve what we do at the Festival, but we’re working to make it easier for Festival-goers to do the same each and every day of the year, not just over the Festival weekend.

Our continued efforts towards a waste-free Festival wouldn’t be possible without strong partnerships with Big Rock Brewery, PickupPal, Recycling Alternative, TransLink, and Water Matters.

Gettin’ Around
Of course, many use their legs to carry them to Jericho Beach Park each July to enjoy our Festival, but for others that do not live within walking distance there are numerous environmentally friendly options:

Taking public transit saves you money and eliminates the stress of searching for a parking spot. Plus! It’s great for the environment.

We proudly provide bicycle parking for only $2 per bike per day. Pushin’ your pedals to the Festival is guaranteed exercise so you can enjoy numerous Folk Festival goodies guilt free!

Ride sharing is a great option to cut down on emissions and meet fellow Folkies at the same time; join the Vancouver Folk Music Festival PickupPal group and make a great weekend at the Festival less impactful on the environment.

Vancouverites know: water is the source of life. And Jericho Beach Park is brimming with it; it is home to a sensitive marsh area inhabited by a wide range of plants and wildlife, including ducks, fish, bullfrogs, dragonflies, turtles, and other creatures. That’s why we’re working with the City of Vancouver to explore greywater disposal strategies.

Regulation Note: Please do not wash your dishes at public taps as this may contaminate the park; City of Vancouver health regulations forbid the use of plates or cutlery from home. Festival vendors cannot serve you food on your own plate, however, the use of your own cups and napkins is encouraged.

Waste Reduction
Recycle and Compost
The VFMF Environment Committee has been working hard for many years to reduce the amount of waste generated by the festival through diverting recyclable and compostable materials away from landfills. Since 1991 we have been working closely with Recycling Alternative, a locally owned recycling company, to strive towards a zero-waste Festival; our combined success saw a 24% reduction in waste reaching the landfill following the 2011 Festival.

In 2011 we reduced the number of garbage cans on our Festival site in hopes of encouraging Festival-goers to be mindful of their consumption. Garbage cans were replaced with a new recycling and composting system that now allows us to recycle paper and plastic, and compost appropriate food products (all food material except raw meat).

The Environment Committee thanks all Festival-goers for their efforts in adopting our new recycling and composting program. We continue to encourage all Festival-goers to look for the signs and put waste, compost, and recyclables in appropriate bins and not on the ground; cleaning up after yourself is cool.

Waste Elimination
In an effort to eliminate our contribution to plastic bottle waste, no bottled water is sold on site over the Festival weekend. We encourage all Festival-goers to bring their own water containers or to purchase a refillable water bottle at the Merchandise Tent (for a fun Festival souvenir too!). Water stations are located throughout the Festival for refilling water containers – FREE of charge. Thanks to Metro Vancouver and Water Matters for keeping the Festival hydrated!

All of our cups, stir sticks, eating utensils, and even straws are compostable. This even includes the cups we have in the Big Rock Beer Garden; special thanks to Big Rock for providing Poly Lactic Acid (PLA) beer cups.

The reusable Folk Fest plates are back in 2013

  • The cutlery and cups you’ll get from our food vendors are all compostable so don’t trash them. Compost them at the waste stations.
  • You’ll pay a $2 deposit when purchasing your food. Please return your plate to the plate return depots as soon as possible to get your $2 back and help us keep them circulating.
  • Bring your own “real” coffee mug or cup to help us with our environmental initiatives!

Cigarette-iquette: A Vancouver Parks Board bylaw prohibits smoking in all municipal parks. If you must smoke, please do so outside the park and away from others. We suggest bringing a tin or a bag for your fully-extinguished tobacco waste.

Education is the best way to promote environmental consciousness and build environmentally friendly habits that take place outside of the Festival weekend.

In addition to removing debris (and sometimes people!) from the sensitive riparian habitat at Jericho Beach Park, our Nature Committee also educates Festival goers on the importance of eco-systems and marine protected areas.

Our Community Village is an active education area showcasing numerous organizations that make environmental advocacy their priority; plans for the Little Folks Village in 2013 include providing our young Festival-goers with opportunities to learn about positive environmental practices including: water conservation and use, composting, and recycling.