Music festivals, water and sustainability

It’s finally time for the Festival d’été de Québec. This is my second time attending the music festival, and I am still amazed at the value for money that you get from the ticket.

This year, the organisers have made two water refilling station points available at the Bell stage (the main stage). I applaud the efforts that have gone into setting up this initiative. People can refill their bottles instead of buying single-use plastic ones.

However, some improvements could be made.There should be more than 2 refill areas. People have to queue for up to 50 minutes during peak times.  Since this is a family festival, it should accommodate the needs of families. The emphasis should be on safety, hydration and sustainability.


fontaine d'eau, water refill station, bell stage

One of the two water refill stations at Bell Main Stage, FEQ.



Stop wasting water. Before entering the Bell main stage, you must empty your water bottle. This is incredibly wasteful. Lots of people just dump their plastic bottles, even if they’re full. The argument is that they could be used to be thrown around as “missiles”, but in France they have a different approach. They confiscate bottle tops so that you can’t have a hard object to throw around.

People should be encouraged to move away from plastic. I was not allowed to take in my empty kleankanteen stainless steel bottle.  I had two options. One, throw away an expensive, good quality reusable container. Two, leave the queue and pay CA$5 to check it in and join the queue again. In the end, I saw less than 30 minutes of the Yungblud show.  I don’t think that people should be charged for checking in reusable containers. Let’s apply common sense before taking away people’s rights to hydration.


yungblud, bell stage, scene bell, feq, security, kleentanteen

Kleankanteen- not allowed in! I was given two choices: ditch it or check it in. No water for me at Bell stage.


People should be made aware of the current limitations around plastic recycling. People still think that everything gets recycled.

In fact, only 9% of all plastic ever produced, has ever been recycled.

I was very glad when I was served in my reusable cup at the Hydro Quebec stage bar. The person behind the counter had the same outlook on plastic waste as I do.

five alarm funk, reusable cup, feq, scene hydro quebec, hydro quebec stage,

With my reusable cup watching Five Alarm Funk

Perhaps the organisers of FEQ can coordinate with Glastonbury Festival in the UK, who had an extensive green policy this year.

If you would like more information on the myriad of issues surrounding bottled water, please check out The Story of Stuff. They have great explainer videos and resources to use in the classroom. Here’s there video “The Story of Water”:



Stop wasting water. We have a lot of adjustments to make to our consumption of single-use plastic as a society. Much of this process will involve trial and error. It is important to acknowledge small changes and to keep building a sustainable future. 


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