Official Festival Transport and your visiting public

Transport is one of the major areas you will need to consider if you want to improve the sustainability of your festival

You should look at the festival’s transport management and also at how the public arrive at your festival. Your own transport management is much easier to control than the public but there are incentives you can put in place to help people choose a lower impacting transport source.

Official Transport

  • Encourage any of your invited guests/artists to travel to your venue by public transport as far as possible. Offer to book transport arrangements to make it easy for them.

  • Where possible, use public transport for staff journeys.

  • If you have to use cars, ensure you plan staff journeys to minimise travel and maximise the use of time.

  • Consider training your official drivers in defensive driving techniques, these train drivers to anticipate situations more effectively, reducing hard braking and accelerating and thereby cutting fuel consumption.

  • Use telephone and video conferencing if possible during your planning rather than always travelling to meetings.

  • As technology advances, consider the options of live video link-ups rather than bringing artists from all around the world.

  • Consider using bio-diesel for your own transport requirements. However there are major sustainability issues over the use of food crops for bio-diesel so you should try to source recycled cooking fat.

  • Hire a bio-diesel tank for your site and use it in generators, fork-lifts, official cars etc. Make sure you check with the hiring company that they are content with bio-diesel being used. You may need to use a mix of bio-diesel and normal diesel.

  • Electric buggies now come in all shapes and sizes including ones with flat bed loading platforms, with or without sides. As they are very quiet they are ideal for using where vehicle noise would interrupt performances and if you have a green electricity supply, they are carbon minimal.

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The Visiting Public

It is highly unlikely that you will have complete control over how the visiting public transport themselves to your Festival. However there are a number of ways in which you can influence their decision.

  • Offer a discount on ticket prices for those people who arrive by public transport, foot or bike. The Eden Project in Cornwall do this very well at present.

  • Ensure that you have good, secure bike parking, close to the venues – make it easy for people to choose this option.

  • As an incentive - offer a bike maintenance service to people arriving at the site. When they come back from their events, their bike has been checked and serviced.

  • On your websites and publications ensure that all the options for public transport are clear and unambiguous, do the work for the visitor and don't hide it away at the back somewhere.

  • Highlight any pedestrian and cycle routes to and from your venue.

  • In your press releases, always promote the sustainable transport links when relevant.

  • If you have a message-board on your web-site, set up a car-sharing page. Not only can this reduce the number of cars coming to your venue, it is also a great way for people coming on their own to the Festival to meet like minded people before they even arrive.

  • Consider the location of your Festival venues, if you have a choice, look for venues with good public transport links.

  • If appropriate, use park and ride schemes to reduce congestion around your site. This is particularly appropriate if your are running Festivals in an urban situation.

  • Use a shuttle bus to ferry people around dispersed venues or into town if appropriate to your location.

  • Cycle-rickshaws are a sustainable and fun way of transporting small numbers of people around. They will require a taxi licence if they are charging for the service.

  • Charter buses or trains and promote these as 'Special Festival Transport Links'. You could consider paying a poet, author or musician to be on board to provide a special event for the visitors as they travel to the Festival. Include this in the ticket price of the transport and everyone wins.

  • Public Transport – the key to getting people out of their cars and onto public transport is to make it easy to use, competitively priced and marketed profusely. We have worked with Aveola to provide a regular bus service to meet the main trains arriving at the nearest station Hereford. For our first year, the bus ran approximately every two hours with a journey time of one hour from Hereford to Hay. Since the success of the 2008 service, we have organised buses every year, decreasing waiting times to a maximum of one hour, offering a more attractive service. For the bus services to work most effectively, ensure you arrange through ticketing with the rail operators. This ensures that when people ring to book a train ticket to your location they are automatically offered a bus ticket to take them from the station.

  • Of course if people have arrived by public transport from a distance and are staying over night, they will need to be able to get to and from their accommodation. This is normally easy if your are city based but more difficult in a rural situation when during festival period, taxi firms are stretched and accommodation can be quite a distance from the Festival site. We have now been running three minibuses around the surrounding villages with the support of Sky. A total of 2,104 passengers were carried during the 11 days of the Festival, raising a total of £1,806 for the Sky Rainforest Rescue Appeal. We have also worked with our accommodation providers to encourage them to either offer lifts, identify good working routes to site or to offer bike hire as part of their package.

Related Links

Traveline Cymru –
Arriva Trains Wales –
Freedom of Wales Flexi Pass –
Visit Wales Carshare –
Wales Midwales Car Share –
Sustrans –