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New tool Camping Buddy to reduce waste at Australian music festivals

Launched ahead of Strawberry Fields Music Festival, Camping Buddy will help music fans tackle a major source of landfill waste at camping festivals

Green Music Australia in partnership with QUT is proud to launch its innovative festival waste reduction tool Camping Buddy.

Camping Buddy is a free web app which allows music fans to build an interactive packing checklist with their camping group, encouraging festival goers to plan ahead, make smarter packing decisions and reduce unnecessary landfill. 

The tool has been launched ahead of November’s Strawberry Fields Music Festival where attendees will find recommendations for equipment hire and custom sustainability tips to improve their festival experience. Anyone can use Camping Buddy to plan their upcoming campsite, with customised tips and messages available for users attending partnered festivals including Splendour in the Grass and Lost Paradise.

Waste at music festivals is a major environmental problem in Australia. Research commissioned by Green Music Australia found 50-80% of waste generated at music festivals comes directly from campsites. Cheap broken tents and gazebos are a primary cause of littering, linked to poor last-minute purchasing decisions and inexperience camping in rain and high winds. 

With festival organisers already facing increased adverse impacts from the climate crisis and extreme weather events, many are looking for ways to improve their environmental performance and encourage their audiences to care for Country.

Funded by the NSW Environmental Trust, the idea for Camping Buddy emerged during a 4-year research and IT creation project grant which saw Green Music Australia and Queensland University of Technology undertake the challenge “How can we use technology to battle the nationwide problem of festival campsite litter?”

Using research, insights and findings from official partners NSW EPA, Byron Shire Council, Mullum Cares, Strawberry Fields Music Festival, Lost Paradise and Splendour In The Grass, as well as wider festival sector input from the Party With The Planet festival alliance, Camping Buddy was designed in close collaboration with festivals to improve waste outcomes and make camping planning easier for fans. 

Green Music Australia CEO, Berish Bilander says “Camping Buddy is just that, the buddy every festival-goer needs when heading to their favourite multi-day music festival. With curated packing lists, informative tips and tricks, and the ability to allocate items to friends, this tool gives fans the head start they need to organise their next sustainable festival adventure.”

“One plastic tent is the equivalent of 8750 straws. When people abandon cheap single use tents at their campsite, they leave behind massive environmental damage. By using camping equipment which is built to last and borrowing items before buying, we can significantly reduce the number of camping items which end up in landfill each year.”

QUT Research Fellow, Dr Kellie Vella says “Festival camping is such an important part of youth culture, but combine that consumerism, bad weather, massive campsites, social proof, and many more factors, and you have a massive waste problem. While there is no magic bullet to fix campsite waste, we believe Camping Buddy will fill a gap by helping festival-goers plan for minimalist, waste-free camping,  and by providing weather updates and promoting festival hire services, amongst other features. 

"We want to change the culture of festival camping, to place emphasis on care for Country and each other, and let campers know they can have a great time without all the stuff.”

Strawberry Fields Director, Tara Medina says “Sustainability is a core focus for Strawberry and we pride ourselves on being early adopters and champions of new initiatives that promote overall waste minimisation whilst empowering our patrons to make greener choices. Camping Buddy gets our vote as a mechanism to help attendees to plan, pack and party with sustainability in mind.”

Lost Paradise Marketing Director, Lucy Blanshard says: "Our team works hard to employ a comprehensive range of environmental measures designed to maintain the land, animals, flora and fauna that inhabit the Lost Paradise site. As festival organisers, we can do a lot, but it’s crucial to ensure that our attendees have the knowledge and tools to play their part in leaving no trace. Camping Buddy provides exactly that; ensuring that attendees are well-equipped to make sustainable choices in the lead-up, during and as they depart the land on which they celebrate.”

Splendour In The Grass General Manager, Jade Skelly says: “Sustainability is a key pillar of Splendour in the Grass. We are deeply committed to our land and community, being leaders and great supporters in this space through numerous environmental initiatives and projects. We continue this support with Camping Buddy where we hope to further the efforts of reducing waste in festival campgrounds and educating the broader festival audiences.”


Festival goers can explore Camping Buddy now.

Camping Buddy is funded by the NSW Environment Trust.

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