This Swedish Music Festival Is Completely Vegetarian and Totally Awesome
No meat, Frank Ocean, and a Doritos cannon… What’s not to love?
Way Out West Festival is different.
Born a decade ago, the Sweden summer festival ticks all the typical boxes. Killer headliners? See: Frank Ocean. Late nights? Refer to Diplo, after dark. A Doritos cannon? But of course.
It’s also been completely vegetarian since 2012.
Wandering around the beautiful Slottsskogen Park, you will not find a single rasher of bacon. It’s entirely meat and fish free, and after banning milk from last year’s festival, it’s almost vegan, too. The theme this year is Green City, and the organisers take their work seriously.
The Gothenburg festival has been awarded the best sustainability award the EU can offer — the coveted ISO 20121 — and Fredrik Holmstedt, from the company behind the festival, told Channel 4 News that eradicating meat from WOW was a vital step to reducing its carbon footprint.
“We try to make sure that planet earth exists in future generations,” said Holmstedt. “Caring for the environment doesn’t mean fun can’t exist. Visitors, artists, staff, the city, society – we want to make every part of society happy.”
It isn’t just green either. It’s also red, orange, yellow, blue, and pink. A new partnership with West Pride, an annual LGBT festival in Gothenburg, promotes equality to the headline slot. Prejudice of any kind has no place here. But way out east, it’s a very different story.
Less than 200 miles away, Bravalla Festival saw dozens of sexual assaults and four rape allegations earlier this month. After their 2016 headline slot, Mumford and Sons refused to ever play there again until the “disgustingly high rate of reported sexual violence” was addressed. Now, Sweden’s biggest music festival has been cancelled for next year, because “certain men cannot behave”.
“Violence kills the festival experience and the love for music,” said Folkert Koopmans, CEO of Bravalla’s production company, on their official website. “First and foremost: People are getting hurt.”
But all is not lost. A brand new rock festival is in the works, with one notable exception: no men are allowed. Feminist comedian and radio host Emma Knyckare first made the suggestion on Twitter, and it’s since gained a lot of support. Expect something fresh and feminist in the summer of 2018.
In the meantime, Way Out West is a ready made solution waiting to fill the gap. To be green is to make a good festival great, and with a lineup that boasts London Grammar, George Ezra, and Lana Del Rey at the top of the bill, it’s ready to go gold. It’s Latitude’s natural beauty meets Glastonbury’s social conscience, and as Morrissey told the crowd during his performance last year, it all adds up to a euphoric affirmation.
“It’s a great delight to be at a festival which is vegan,” Morrissey said, recognisably chirpier than usual in 2016.“The rest of the world take note. No death for sale, no pain for sale, no torture for sale. Except for me.”
Wow? You bet.