Eco Lettter to the Boomers 2016

Eco Lettter to the Boomers 2016

Oikos is the greek concept that later developed into words such as Ecology and Economy. It was the basic unit for the well-being of a community and therefore we'd like to share with you more than eco-reports. This is our usual update on sustainability issues but we're unveiling other projects we've been developing for the welfare of the community around us and Boomers alike.

Throughout 2016 we’ve continued to work hard to protect and nurture the Boomland for all of you Boomers so you can have the most fun and conscious festival possible.

We hope this reassures you that we’re walking the walk as much as we’re talking the talk while we’ll keep and expand sustainability practices into our daily lives.



  • There are onsite veggie gardens where we grow organically several foods to serve in our delicious canteen.

  • Our veggie garden is not enough for the whole duration of pre-production, so we have set up a partnership with local suppliers Sementes Vivas and Hortas d'Idanha to produce organic food for the Boom team canteen and for the food vendors at the festival.

Boomland canteen veggie garden
  • Purchasing Policy: Portugal is a country with limited, yet growing, production of organic agriculture. We always aim to buy, in order of preference, organic and local. If organic produce is unavailable, we prefer local or national products to support our local economy and decrease the need for transport. For the canteen, we have a total of 17 suppliers: 100% are national, 70% are local and of those, 50% are organic. However, some organic and non organic items still need to be imported due to limited production in Portugal.

  • Recycling bins for paper, plastic, metal and glass are placed around the communal areas and in the offices.

  • In our offices, printer cartridges are refilled. Paper bought is FSC and we recycle all office paper and materials.

  • All toilet and kitchen products used by cleaning teams are biodegradable.

  • When a team member arrives at the Boomland is given a cutlery pack to avoid excessive waste.

  • We collect batteries and remove all toxic materials to official certified facilities.

  • We only use wood from sustainable farming for construction. We reuse a large amount of materials from previous editions.

  • We advise our staff to use public transportation and have collective pick up services.



  • Boom operates with a flat organizational structure with little distance between colleagues and decision makers. Everyone is equal, but with different responsibilities. There are general meetings with everyone involved on a weekly basis. We have resident nurses and therapists who give our team well-being sessions in between jobs.

  • Boomers are a Priority: The satisfaction of Boomers is our highest goal and we do our utmost to ensure that you have a memorable, fun and life changing experience!


  • Communications Strategy: We communicate both externally and internally. Boomers have an extensive website containing useful info. There they find The Art of Living at Boom – A Survival Guide in English, Portuguese and French. At the festival Boomers are given a newspaper with practical information regarding the festival. We also released an App and pocket-sized programs.

  • We are active on social media, which we use to spread the word about social, political and environmental issues that we find important. However we are wary of its corporate tendencies and commercialisation.

  • Boom has gained a reputation for being on the forefront of sustainability with several awards; we are therefore often asked to speak at conferences about sustainability at festivals.

  • Yet we are very strict about not overexposing Boom. We avoid communicating about individuals as Boom is a team manifestation and a co-creation with you Boomers, so we don’t accept sponsors, we don’t have VIPs, and we never advertise via mainstream channels.
We supported this campaign


  • Local Zoning and Design: We always consider how we can improve significant sites, water courses, wildlife of any sort, vegetation and the environment of local human residents. Construction is always performed with the purpose of being as sustainable and long lasting as possible. This is embodied on our long term vision for the Boomland that you can see HERE.

  • Legal Compliance: Boom Festival is licensed according to Portuguese law, which entails frequent checks on all kitchens, facilities, water points, lake water, structures, health, safety, labour, tax and environmental aspects.

  • Health and Safety: Our purchase and operating policy for all machinery, equipment and facilities is that they are as environmentally friendly as possible: i.e. with low emissions, creating a positive impact and consuming minimum energy.

  • Depending on their tasks, the team get training in health and safety, waste management and our Environmental and Fire Prevention Emergencies Plan. There is a handbook of eco procedures for coordinators and we provide training by the waste company Valnor in the management of residues (both non toxic and toxic).
Info Stand built with 2nd hand containers and upcycled wood



  • Local Employment: In Idanha-a-Nova where the number of employed residents is 2,583, there are 4,495 pensioners, and the unemployment rate is 15.9% (according to the 2011 Census), we provided work for around 200 people from the region.

  • Boom Karuna Project:  We donated 11,000€ to local institutions: Ceras – Quercus Castelo Branco (animal recovery center), Sementes do Interior (free school movement) and AERID (children with special needs).


  • Special Needs: Boom is accessible for persons with special needs. Our special needs program provides special camping and facilities. 44 Boomers with special needs experienced the festival and we were so happy to see them having a great time!

  • Kids: 532 kids less than 12 years old were registered at Boom 2016. The Young Dragons’ area was created using 80% recycled/upcycled materials, with the other 20% being natural from new materials. We’re very proud that so many of the next generation spent this formative time at the Boomland and hope it inspires them in years to come.

  • Local Economy: Making an international event like Boom requires looking for the best suppliers across the world. Portugal is small, with a weak economy and is not a heavily specialised country which requires us to look further to cover some of our needs. Nevertheless, we research local/national companies first by buying products or services from them when needed. 80% of all suppliers of Boom are national. Of those, 41% are local.

  • For example, we give all food vendors a list of local suppliers and nearby organic farmers. The remaining percentage is food by suppliers, who are not eco-certified, but local, and deliver the goods personally to food vendors.

  • Bars (managed by Boom): 50% of drinks were organic or fair trade, 40% were national, and the remaining 10% were from abroad but distributed by local companies.

  • Food stands (managed by Boom): 54% of local products, 52% of organic products, of those, 9% done onsite with local products.

  • Harm Reduction and Substances Information: There is a harm reduction and psychedelic emergency service. Info is provided to prevent substance abuse alongside a testing stand monitored under Portuguese decriminalisation legal context.


  • Equitable Hiring: We promote diversity and equality on our teams. We employed 1882 workers and 763 volunteers, coming from 47 different countries. Out of 63 management positions at Boom, 52% are covered by women.

  • We always make sure all continents of the world are represented on our vast program and we’d love to feature in the future more ethnic groups and genders (female and others) on the Boom official program – as long as quality is good of course – don’t be shy to submit your application!

  • Grocery: 41% of all products are national, 49% of all items are organic and 7% are local products. 80% of fruits and veggies were national and 65% were organic.



  • As a psychedelic culture festival we support independent artists, healers, and lecturers from all over the world. There were 895 artists, musicians, street performers, lecturers and dancers, more than 200 workshops and 138 therapists.

  • 12 workshops and presentations, six movies about environmental awareness and social change at the Liminal Village and 10 workshops at the Sacred Fire.
Natural Art at Sacred Fire
  • We created two new areas at Boom to raise awareness about social and environment issues. We invited nine NGOs and nine independent companies to the Eco Tech Hub.

  • Cultural Diversity: In 2016 Boomers were from 154 countries. We’re an international festival and English is the main language used. We attempt to communicate in as many languages as possible – our native Portuguese, English, French, Spanish and German are mandatory on some services such as the Info Stand.



  • 550 new native trees were planted at Boomland.

  • All waste was collected and sent to a certified facility. Due to weather conditions and other health and safety aspects, recycling of materials must be sent out, in our case it goes to a facility called Valnor that manages the waste in the region. See the results of the recycling during Boom below.


  • We Love Soil: This year we sent 80,400 kg of organic waste to be turned into compost. It will be used in the future at the Boomland to create soil. Thank you for participating in this!

  • If you want to know where does all waste go, please watch the video we did last September 2016 HERE.

  • Properly treated effluent and compost are reused on the land where feasible and if laboratorial analysis allows.

  • No insecticides or pest management are used at Boomland. All plants, orchards or food gardens are organic.


  • Toilet paper is made of recycled tetra pak.
  • Boomers get a welcome pack with garbage bags and pocket ashtrays.

  • 100% of cutlery is biodegradable, made of potato. No disposable cutlery or other eating utensils are used. It is mandatory for restaurants to use 100% biodegradable soaps.

  • As usual we and you have a love affair with Boom gardens, where you can have fun and collect food. Check the amount of gardens this year below.


  • Grocery: Most of the packages/products were returned to the suppliers to avoid waste. No plastic was used. 100% of decor from Grocery was made from recycled materials from previous editions.



  •  7.2 m3 of 4mm recycled cardboard was used for the Liminal Village, Eco Tech Hub, NGO Django and public lightning to produce 20 stands, 20 tables, 250 kaleidocycles, 12 lamps and three chairs.

  • Of the 33 art crews that participated at Boom 2016, seven used only natural materials. 60% of all art created for Boom 2016 was done with recycled/upcycled materials in stock.

  •  1800 kg of willow was used at the Sacred Fire.
  •  Check the infographics below to better understand the development of bio-construction at Boom.



  •  Food (restaurants, chai shops, food corners and bars): Our policy is for restaurants to serve a majority of vegetarian and vegan options. Those with animal products (fish, meat or dairy) are given a list of local suppliers that treat animals with respect, preferably organic as well. 50% of all food places were fully vegetarian and/or vegan. The other 50% of restaurants/chais/bars had some animal products, but 60% of their menus was veggie (overall average). In total, counting all menus from all restaurants of the whole festival, 77% of all food options at Boom 2016 were vegetarian. This is a very hot topic and in the coming edition we will explore it in-depth, stay tuned.
Central Plaza Food Area



  •  Boom by Bike: Our beautiful initiative was upgraded into a brand new Boom Bike Village and we also registered 71 Boomcyclists that clocked up a total of 119,127 km of cycling adventures to arrive at Boomland (we didn’t register the km back home, as we all know, after Boom new adventures begin!).

  • The Boom Bus is one of our most beloved projects and this year we got a record number of Boomers using this collective transportation system. 211 buses transported 29% of all Boomers. See below the report, Thank You!


  •  Electric Cars: There is not a vast availability of electric cars in Portugal, though every year we increase the use of electric cars for some of the Boom teams.

  • Bikes and Electric Bikes: As part of the Boom By Bike Initiative, there are dozens of upcycled bicycles for the Boom Team to move around the land, and we had for the first time electric bikes to minimize scooters onsite.


  • Car Pooling: We made available a link through The stats are as follows: 4,341 members, 901 members added a journey to share, 881 members requested to share a journey, 97% of journeys involve cash payments or alternating driving (the other 3% are online payment) – indicating according to Lex Barber, from, "a really high level of trust between your festival-goers". She adds that these numbers show that "€225,833 were saved in petrol costs, 445.64 tonnes of CO2 were saved and 3,649,792 km were taken off the road!".
  • Members were 56% male, 54% female, primarily aged between 20-39. Lex was astonished by the figures and sums up that Boom was "our most popular festival of 2016".






  • Grey waste water is filtered by a onsite filtering system. See how it works.

  • Water usage and costs are recorded. Analysis are made on a regular basis.

  • Irrigation for the gardens comes from lake water using a solar pump system, as you can see on the image below.
Solar panels used for water irrigation
  • We ensure free water is available for Boomers. Water for human consumption is provided by the national water supply and checked by the appropriate legislative body.




  • Energy when there is no festival is supplied by solar panels with a mixed system using generators when batteries are down. When there is sun and batteries good, off grid energy supply can get up 90% of daily needs. Portugal has around 50-60% of clean energy supply from the grid and we are planning to have clean grid energy soon to decrease the need for generators when there is no sun.
Partial view of our solar station
  • In the offices thermal windows are used throughout the year to ensure there is minimal loss of heating (in the winter) and protection against high temperatures (in the summer).

  • No captive wildlife, endangered species, products thereof or any other form of unethical items are used, sold or allowed. Hunting is not allowed at Boomland. Every year we witness more life sprouting at the land.
Shamanic UV Art at Boom
  • 90% of all public lightning is low consumption: approximately 1500 led projectors were used.

  • 90% of camping used solar lightning: 201 solar led projectors of 20 watt and 43 led lights of 8 watt.

  • All paint is environmentally friendly and lead free. All residues are separated and sent to be treated at outside facilities.

  • We’ve started a food recycling programme. We are already very careful not to waste food and proud of our new collaboration with association Zero Desperdício, that collected food waste from restaurants and distributed it to charity centers across the region such as Santa Casa da Misericórdia of both Alcafozes and Rosmaninhal villages.

We thank you Boomers, the heart of the festival existence, for your support, your love, your smiles, and your light. You are our daily inspiration to make a better and more meaningful Boom. The world needs each one of us.




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