Festival to go green this year
THE Airlie Beach Festival of Music has gone green for 2018.
For the first time in its six-year history the event will be plastic bag-free, straw-free and offering re-usable bottles and cups.
Festival co-ordinator Ellie Hanlon said these initiatives were a natural progression for an event that took place in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef.
"At the ticket office last year, everyone was asking for plastic bags to take their merchandise home in and I just thought, 'we can change this',” Ms Hanlon said.
"And the amount of plastic waste from a couple of thousand people having a fresh cup with every drink of water or spirits is mammoth.
"We can't do it with beer for hygiene reasons but by offering re-usable cups for those types of drinks I'm hoping we can at least halve our waste.”
Having joined the growing list of businesses signed up to the Whitsundays' No Straw Campaign the festival has committed to having no plastic straws in the main tent at Whitsunday Sailing Club and has asked each of the other 17 venues to follow suit.
"We're on the edge of the Barrier Reef - we don't get any closer than this - there's no other festival on the ocean like us so we just felt there had to be a better way,” Ms Hanlon said.
Tourism Whitsundays CEO Tash Wheeler said these environmental introductions should not be underestimated.
"I think we all need to take responsibility for our footprint and if we all implement the things we can to make a difference, what a difference we will make,” Mrs Wheeler said.
Festival-branded calico bags, which make a great souvenir in their own right, will be available from the ticket office and main stage merchandise stall at a cost of $5. Re-usable cups will cost $5 and branded water bottles will be available for $10.
These can be used in any of the festival venues and re-filled from two water stations in the main tent.