Avril Stanley, founder of music and arts event Body & Soul, previews this year's B&S bash, which kicks off on June 21st...

Every summer festivals across Ireland take over places of natural beauty. They are, of course, all about celebration but we must remember that in many cases the sites are family homes or working farms.

We’re incredibly lucky to call Ballinlough Castle - with its 300-year-old walled gardens, forests and lakes – our home for Body & Soul, but each year we spend weeks restoring this family home and farm it to its former state in the wake of our festival. Festivals are joyous and life-changing occasions, but that doesn’t mean you have to abandon all rules of decency when it comes to cleaning up after yourself.

We make a huge effort to ensure that we return the land to the Nugent family of Ballinlough Castle as we found it, and implore festival-goers across the country to take the same approach. Change happens from the inside out. Help us turn the tide.

An independent festival, B&S Festival celebrates its 10 year anniversary in 2019. Since the beginning, we have tried to lead the way in terms of sustainability. We were the first to switch to compostable server-ware, the first to intro eco-camping and we are the festival with the highest recycling rate in the country. This year 50% of the festival attendees (5,000 campers) will sign up and commit to its US&YOU campsite committing to ‘Leave No Trace’. 


We try to use the festival to create social change around sustainability. Sustainability is at the heart of all our planning, production and programming. It is as much about pursuing renewable energy sources as it is about personal responsibility, and that message emanates through our art, talks and workshops and wellbeing programmes and communications.  

Culturally, it seems to have been traditionally acceptable to walk away and leave your belongings and rubbish, but really it’s just not OK. Just be sound! We ask people to be mindful that the home of the Nugents' is turned into your playground for three days and nights. Next time you think about leaving behind the remnants of your weekend give a thought to the animals that might swallow your rubbish.

Body&Soul’s Sustainability Drive:  

  •  We opened Ireland’s first eco-friendly campsite called Us&You in which campers commit to ‘Leave No Trace’. It projects the entire festival camping offering will be Us&You by 2021.
  •  In 2014 compostable server-ware was introduced to tackle the issue of fast-food vending waste.
  •  2015 saw the introduction of LED lighting towers and by 2016 the whole festival was lit by LED using hybrid engines. The festival is currently working on the implementation of Solar PV technology.
  •  In 2016 we introduced free water and reusable water bottles across the site.
  •  In 2017, a cup recycle scheme was implemented to increase recycling rates for the bars.
  •  This year, Body & Soul will stamp out single-use plastics!
  •  For 2019 the team projects it will recycle 70% of all waste generated at the festival.
  •  It was the first Irish Festival to be energy audited and to develop an Energy Demand Management plan.
  •  It was the first festival in Ireland to create a stand-alone sustainability department under the guidance of Cllr Claire Byrne and Megan Best.  

The festival’s goal is to continue to be the industry benchmark in terms of sustainability. It is the first Irish festival to win five Greener Festival Awards, the international accreditation for festivals working to reduce the environmental and social impact worldwide. It was also shortlisted for a Green Awards 2016 and for the Repak Excellence in Waste Management and Recycling Award in 2017.

Body&Soul will take place on 21st – 23rd June 2019. Visit www.bodyandsoul.ie for more information.