The Method Behind The Madness Of Creative Recycling At Glastonbury

21 Nov 2014

Credits: Arcadia

Environmental sustainability is a major factor in hosting any music festival or major event. Whether it is ensuring that waste is recycled, stages are using the minimal amount of power or carbon footprints are decreased; a lot of energy goes in to making sure that the environment comes first on the list of priorities.

Tickets for next year’s Glastonbury Festival sold out in a record breaking 26 minutes during October. Year-on-year the festival is growing in popularity with a greater global demand for tickets.

A major ethos on Worthy Farm is the reliance on green energy and ensuring that the 1200-acre site is as self-reliant as possible in order to return to a working dairy farm. Colour-coded bins are used, specialist toilets have been built to decrease vehicle movement and various green sources of energy are deployed across the site. There is no doubting that the Eavis family have done a lot for spreading the word of recycling, renewable power and global environmental issues.

Bristol based company, Arcadia, host one of the most incredible and bizarre areas of the site which perfectly sum up the ethos of Glastonbury. Built from military hardware including jet engines and helicopter blades, the giant spider-like stage can be seen and heard across the site whilst attracting over 70,000 revellers for its main acts.

Combining music, special effects, pyrotechnics and acrobatics Arcadia create a sense of madness with an environmentally inspired creative twist.


Steel suppliers, Metals4U, recently interviewed Arcadia directors Bertie Cole and Pip Rush regarding the development of their ideas, sourcing of the materials and the importance it holds to the festival.

It’s a very creative chicken and egg scenario”, explains Rush.  “The bits we find often steer the ideas we have. We built the spider legs in a few weeks, but it took a few years of shows to evolve into the moving creature it is now. We go on a ‘scrap tour’ once a year, which consists of a UK-wide motorbike journey taking pictures of everything we find that looks useful. Then we send a lorry round to pick up the good bits at the end (hoping they haven’t reached the crusher yet). We use a bit of everything; plastics, wood and all sorts of metals.”

Their consideration of environmental factors and structural integrity is vital to their planning and development. Cole further explained the process: “Arcadia work with structural engineers to assess the type of metal the structural components are made from and then use computer modelling to calculate the structural strength of the components assembled into complete structures.”

With only seven months until Glastonbury, the team are always exploring new ideas which are bigger and better. The duo stated: “The world is full of scrap and we are starting to travel further afield”.

Matthew Foster

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