Music festivals tend to make the headlines when it comes to festival season, but for the eco-conscious, it can be hard to reconcile the waste produced by these mega shows. Fear not; for those seeking a nature-positive experience, there are so many sustainable festivals out there, each one harnessing the power of the natural world. From parties in deep forests to inspirational discussions about biodiversity and workshops on upcycling; these festivals have a nature focus running through their core.
1. Green Gathering
Date: 4th – 7th August
Price: £130 for adults, from £20 for children
Location: Chepstow, Wales
One of the UK’s biggest nature festivals, Green Gathering is a feast of music, comedy, poetry, spoken word, yoga and more. Throughout this family-friendly festival, there are sustainable-focused workshops on everything from permaculture and healing to pottery and upcycling. In terms of the organisation, the festival’s environmental impact is as low as possible. Just for one example, all power at the festival is derived from 100% renewable energy.
Place to stay: Homely Caradoc has everything you need to enjoy a stay at the Welsh Borders, with a spacious living area and wood-burning stove.
2. Into the Wild
Date: 26th – 29th August
Price: £150 for adults, £60 for children
Location: Chiddinglye Farm, West Sussex
If you’re looking for a way to introduce your children to the natural world, the Into the Wild festival is the place to start. Focusing on biodiversity, rewilding and regeneration, the festival is a wonderland of fun and interactive sessions, with bush crafts, den making and foraging scheduled alongside stargazing, movement classes and child-friendly yoga.
Place to stay: In keeping with a nature festival, the stunning Miswells Cottage – Lake View has a decking area that leads directly onto the lake. Be lulled to sleep by the sounds of the woods.
Date: 4th – 7th August
Price: From £90
Location: Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire
Wilderness has become a firm festival favourite on the summer music scene. Drawing acts spanning funk and soul, folk, world music and much more, the music is a key part of the festival. But their green credentials make top billing; they partner with Big Green Coach to sustainably transfer festival-goers in their carbon-neutral coaches. Being hosted on a nature reserve also means operating responsibly is essential. The elimination of single-use plastics is just one example of this.
Place to stay: Be whisked away into rural Oxfordshire with a stay at Deer View. With room for two and a private hot tub at your disposal, it’s ideal for a romantic break.
4. Timber Festival
Date: 7th – 9th July
Price: From £42 for an adult; £16 for a child
Location: Feanedock, Leicestershire
Based in the lush woods of the National Forest, in the Midlands, Timber Festival bills itself as ‘three days of music, forests, art, ideas’. It certainly delivers on its promise, with a line-up of thought-provoking talks, music, discussions, film and other entertainment, all centered around the magic of the natural world. If you want to get a little pre-festival taster, check out their Sounds of the Forest; a beautiful collection of woodland and forest noises from around the world.
Place to stay: 24 Via Devana is perfectly located for access to the Timber Festival, and has lots of amenities for a comfortable stay.
Date: 3rd – 1st July
Price: £150 for adults; £120 for concessions
Location: Rewilding Coombeshead, Devon
Held at what was once a working farm, Wilderfest’s inspiring location is a unique rewilding project, where the landscape is slowly transforming as nature resets its course. This natural environment nurtures thought-provoking discussion from conservationists and rewilding experts. It is the perfect setting for nature-influenced music, as well as tours of the estate’s rewilding projects.
Place to stay: The eco-friendly Scollas Lodge is a delightful cabin made completely from upcycled materials and locally-sourced wood. Perfect for a cosy, sustainable stay for two.
Date: 25th – 28th August
Location: Secret Country Estate, Northamptonshire
The sustainable ethos of the eclectic Shambala festival is second to none. They aim for a recycling rate of 100%, which means that every single element of waste produced by the festival is recycled. No disposable coffee cups are available on-site as festival-goers are encouraged to bring their own reusable cups, while compost toilets transform human waste into natural fertiliser. Oh, and added to their net-positive mantra, the line-up includes a wonderfully diverse array of musicians, makers, naturalists, climate experts and more.
Place to stay: Close to Market Harborough, Buddy is a shepherd’s hut with a picturesque exterior, and a quiet but well-appointed interior.
7. Green Man
Date: 18th – 21st August
Price: £210 for adults, with concessions and child tickets available
Location: Crickhowell, Brecon Beacons
With a line-up including Michael Kiwanuka, Kraftwerk and Metronomy, Green Man is a nature festival for music lovers. But, as the name suggests, their vision is based on an ethos of sustainable living, with a natural focus. Compost toilets, single-use plastic bans and a partnership with various refugee charities all help create the festival’s circular economy. Aside from the music headliners, go off-piste with their comedy acts, science workshops, circus performances and more.
Place to stay: In the heart of Crickhowell, Bridge End Cottage sleeps four people, perfect for your group holiday to the Green Man Festival.
8. Festival of Nature
Date: June 2023 – exact dates to be confirmed
Price: Most events free
Location: Bristol and Bath, Somerset
The Festival of Nature is the biggest celebration of all things natural in England, and has been running since 2003. With the BBC’s wildlife production based in Somerset, the festival draws speakers from programs like Green Planet, offering insightful commentary on biodiversity and climate change. But it’s not all about thinking – the hallmark of this festival is action, with organised litter picks, wildflower planting and practical sessions on how we can make small but effective change.
Place to stay: In the heart of Bath, Catharine Place is a gorgeous cottage for a city-based festival. It’s walking distance from the famous Crescent.
9. Verve Festival
Date: 17th September
Price: £69 for the full day; £25 for the evening
Location: Hatch House, Wiltshire
The day-long Verve Festival bills itself as the ‘Ultimate Reset’, focussing predominantly on wellness and the part that the natural environment can play in this. It’s tempting to be cynical about the overarching term ‘wellness’, but the Verve Festival really concentrates on all elements of that: yoga and pilates for the body; meditation and forest bathing for the mind; and an evening of funk, soul and disco to lighten the spirit. All of this in the beautiful setting of a country house in Wiltshire.
Place to stay: For groups of up to 8 people, Samstone is simply spectacular. Located in a conservation area, the house has many eco-friendly add-ons, such as solar panel heating.