Last night, the Winnipeg Folk Festival was named the recipient of the 2018 Clearwater Award at the International Folk Music Awards held in Kansas City, Missouri. This honour is given to a festival that prioritizes environmental stewardship and demonstrates public leadership in sustainable event production.
The International Folk Music Awards are the premier presentation of folk music industry awards to honour leaders, legends and rising talent in folk music and supporting industry initiatives. Lynne Skromeda, Executive Director of the Winnipeg Folk Festival, was present at the awards ceremony to receive the prize.
“It is a true honour for our organization to be recognized on an international level for our sustainability efforts. This is a recognition we are extremely proud of and with the ongoing help and support of our dedicated volunteers, board, staff and audience, we’ll continue our commitment to provide the most sustainable and environmentally-friendly event we can,” said Skromeda.
We operate environmental sustainability programs at the annual summer Festival, year-round at the office and at events throughout the year. Our current initiatives include:
- Composting – We use industrial composting services and require that all food vendors participate in the composting program by using only compostable plates, cutlery, napkins and packaging.
- Bike Ride to Site – Since 2010 an organized a group of 200 – 300 participants bike each year from Winnipeg to Birds Hill Provincial Park to attend the festival while supporting active transportation and lowering carbon emissions caused by travelling to the site.
- Bottled Water Free – In 2014, we banned bottled water from being sold at the festival, encouraging individuals to bring reusable bottles to fill up at the many water taps throughout the festival site.
- Folk Fest Express – The Folk Fest Express is a free bus service for attendees that runs from downtown Winnipeg to Birds Hill Provincial Park during festival hours. It was established as a way to encourage individuals to leave their vehicles at home.
- LOFT (Local, Organic, Fair Trade) – We are committed to offering healthy food to all attendees by supplying LOFT meals in the backstage kitchen and encouraging all of our vendors to include LOFT items on their menu. This commitment led to the festival being certified as a Fair Trade event by Fair Trade Manitoba.
- Recycling – Recycling initiatives for the festival began in 1989 and have only expanded. Recycling bins can be found at every waste station throughout the festival and campgrounds. Recycling bags are distributed to campers and our incredible volunteer Enviro Crew works to collect all garbage, composting and recyclable materials on site and also educate folkies on where to place their waste at waste stations.
We are honoured to have been selected for this award and we will remain driven to find new ways to improve the environmental sustainability of the festival and beyond.