Sustainability is central to Swaledale Festival, from the planning and organisation of its programme to the exploration of the environment through events and walks, especially relevant due to the Festival’s location in the precious and iconic Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Our Environment Policy is available here.

Swaledale Festival embraces simplicity to minimise its impact on the environment.

  • To reduce our carbon footprint, we use existing venues such as churches and village halls rather than erecting temporary ones for a few days.
  • With the Festival taking place in May and June, less heating is required in the chapels and churches that can be very cold in winter.
  • Our events create little waste. Refreshments are usually served in-house by voluntary church groups. Aside from paper programmes and artists’ CDs, we don’t sell a lot of merchandise.
  • Events taking place on the same day are often organised within easy reach of each other to minimise audience driving.
  • Wherever possible, we seek for performances by overseas artists to be part of an existing UK tour. We avoid flying artists in for a single concert or event.
  • We no longer provide artists with plastic water bottles, but use large bulk containers. All refreshments are served in compostable cups made from corn starch.
  • We have multi-use banners and roadside signs instead of disposable ones, which we re-use each year.
  • Our brochures and leaflets are printed with vegetable inks on lighter-weight 50% recycled paper aligned to the ‘Carbon Balanced Paper Scheme’ - so the average emissions associated with production are offset by the global conservation charity the World Land Trust. Brochures are posted in compostable wrappers. 
  • View Carbon Balance Certificate for Swaledale Festival 2024 brochures here.
  • View Carbon Balance Certificate for Swaledale Festival 2024 leaflets here.


Swaledale Festival takes place in a multitude of venues across a vast area rather than in one town or location. We recognise that many Festival-goers travel by car, and that these journeys have an environmental impact.

  • We strongly encourage Festival-goers to car-share, both to reduce emissions and the pressure on parking spaces in Dales villages.
  • A car share app such as might help you link with others in order to share rides (and the cost of petrol or charging the vehicle!).
  • Will you be travelling in an electric or hybrid car? EV charging points are available in the National Park carparks at Aysgarth and Hawes, click here for information.
  • Click here for some public transport options.


Environmentally conscious programming

Each year we strive to include a number of events in the programme that reflect on sustainability and climate. The sell-out walks explore local wildflower habitats, rivers, wildlife, Sites of Special Scientific Interest and more.
Previous Festivals have included "climate-composer" Tim Kliphuis, astronomy celebrating the Dales’ dark skies, puppet-making workshops using sustainable materials and art exhibitions inspired by the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
In 2024 there will be a foraging workshop, a writing workshop in the landscape and Emma Johnson’s ‘Orchestra of the Environment’ will perform. The Festival will be partnering with Tees-Swale: Naturally Connected - a local initiative to encourage nature-friendly farming - to show film and photography. There will also be environment-inspired art workshops with illustrator Katharine Holmes and a dry stone walling workshop.

Sustainability Image

Sustainability Image

Sustainability Image