Conscious Camping – at Music Festivals
Mullum Cares promotes and supports the growing consumer demand for conservation! We are passionate about supporting people to avoid purchasing cheap consumer products – including camping gear! We’ve been working with local festivals to promote alternatives, like sharing and hiring. We run Repair Cafes in the camp grounds at Splendour in the Grass (SITG) and Falls Festival Byron. Our vision is to extend our Repair Cafe & Upcycling precinct to include a Wash Station where patrons can wash reusable cups/plates/etc that they BYO or hire from us and The Exchange (piloted at Falls 2019), a party clothing swap shop. Check out how much fun we had at the last Falls Fest.
Our first year at Falls was 2017 where we set up a Disposable Free Camping stall where we wore outfits we’d upcycled from broken tents collected at Splendour 6 months earlier. We conducted surveys with campers to understand their relationship with the camping gear they had brought and what would cause them to leave it behind as our team had been unable to recover all of the 400+ tents and other items that had been abandoned at Splendour. Of those who admitted they’d left camping gear behind at festivals, the most common reason was that it was broken (78%) but an alarming 18% told us they just buy gear for one festival because they said it wasn’t worth the effort at the end to pack it up and take it home.
Inspired by Splendour’s Camp Little Foot initiative where campers who pledged to leave no trace got preferential treatment we devised a grand vision to grow the initiative to inspire all patrons to want to be included. SITG has since ditched the initiative as it is committed to a whole-of-festival approach to waste reduction.
As a gift for our contribution Splendour allowed Mullum Cares to collect and redeem the 10c container deposit on 134 285 bottles and cans. This raised over $10 000 for our Library of Stuff (we bought more quality marquees and camping gear for our members and to use at future festivals.) It also resulted in Mullum Cares winning a Keep Australia Beautiful, Tidy Towns Sustainable Communities Award in the Return & Earn Litter Prevention category. Check out this clip of the action.
In 2019 we partnered with B-Alternative to set up a waste reduction precinct in the SITG campground. We provided a Repair & Upcyling stall with filtered water available for campers to refill their bottles while the B-Alternative crew got out into the crowd delivering advise and education. We also supported Green Music Australia to set up and operate a Cinema we called G.A.S. – Films that inspire Giving A Shit. North Coast Events sponsored the Cinema with AV equipment.
In early 2020 Mullum Cares, Splendour, Green Music Australia and the Byron Shire Council supported Queensland University of Technology to secure a $238 000 grant to create a tech based solution to driving behaviour change in festival campgrounds to eliminate the unacceptable waste outcomes. This is a four year project that was sadly stalled due to COVID but restarted activity in April 2021.