Summer is an amazing time of the year, complete the sunshine we crave on those cold winter days, ice cream cones, beach days, and music festivals. Every summer I find myself having to carefully budget my finances to allow myself enough disposable income to see my favourite bands play at various different music festivals across this part of the country. Every genre you can imagine finds itself on display in front of heat stroked fans, who in some cases have been camping out in tents in the rain for days taking in the sights and sounds and atmosphere of the music festival scene.
Now a days there seems to be a festival every weekend, and at a growing cost to festival goers. Festivals fight to bring in the hottest bands from around the world, they set up stands to sell over priced food, and drinks, whilst preventing you from bringing in your own. They encourage you to drive, bus, train, and fly from wherever you are, to attend the best, biggest, and hippest festival of the summer.
Naturally, very little about most music festivals is sustainable, from the inflated prices, to the travel emissions of bands and fans alike, to the ridiculous and I mean ridiculous amount of waste from water bottles and wrappers that is created over the course of the festival. This is changing however. There is an increased drive to make festivals green, but maybe in doing this there should also be more focus on bringing festivals back to the local scene.
This past weekend I found myself at Ottawa Explosion and I was thrilled with the brilliant display of... well Ottawa. Local talent filled local bars, galleries and courtyards, drawing in local fans to drink local beers, and cumulatively build up the local music and art community. Mind you there were some bands that came from far away, and I’m sure some fans who also covered some far spans of distance to attend, but overwhelmingly it was a homegrown experience.
Recycling cans were set up and heavily used at all outside events, and local business and bands were supportive. Personally, I’m sold! I’ll be less eager to travel great distances to fly through crowds again, when I can stay home and take in the local scene instead, and reduce my footprint while I’m at it. Long live the local scene!