Eco Letter to the Boomers 2018

Dear Boomers,

Following our previous letter, we felt it was time to touch base and communicate some details about the festival’s program for sustainability and the measures we are taking to fulfill our commitment to preserving the environment and promoting sustainability on a social level.


Partial View of Staff Veggie Garden, 2018
  • In the year leading up to Boom 2018, we grew more than 750 kg of fruit and vegetables, all of which were served at the staff canteen.
  • The canteen crew prepared no less than 118,533 meals between February and September 2018.
  • 30 suppliers, of which 22 local, provided materials for the canteen that feeds the long term staff.


  • The Boom Karuna Project continues to be one of the central themes of our plan to support social sustainability. Please stay tuned to our newsletters as we’ll be bringing you more news about the different projects that we’ll be engaging with through this exciting action for positive change.
Special Needs Boomer at Dance Temple, Boom 2018
  • Inclusivity: 53 Boomers registered under the Special Needs program. It provides services including: a reserved parking zone and a special camping zone with adapted facilities; an inclusive shuttle to ferry Boomers between camping areas and main areas of the festival, and a support team member that is available 24/7.
Young Dragons area, Boom 2018
  • Families are an intrinsic element of Boom: this year, 508 children were registered at the Young Dragon’s area.
  • National and Local Impact: In 2017, the Portuguese unemployment rate amongst young people under the age of 25 soared at 23.9 percent. Meanwhile, there was a 7.9 percent rate of unemployment amongst those between the ages of 25 and 54 (source: Pordata). In light of these figures, one of our main priorities is to act local by helping to create more jobs for people. Between October 2017 and October 2018, 84 percent of people working for Boom were Portuguese. A total 214 of those employed were from the region of Castelo Branco, representing 13.3 percent of total staff during that period. The local workforce also integrated with a multicultural team of 38 other nationalities.
  • The NGO Django & Eco Tech Hub area is where we hosted inspiring projects, organisations, collective action movements and individuals who came forward to present their eco projects. In total, there were 37 workshops and presentations, and 13 NGOs kept a stand during the whole week long.
  • The festival infrastructure was built using 203 suppliers of equipment, tools and materials. Of these, 183 (90 percent) were national. Of those 183 suppliers, 63 (31 percent) were local.


Eco Art at Boom 2018
  • Eco campaigns: several communication channels were utilised as platforms to spread the message of several campaigns, namely, the Boom Broadcast video channel, where we posted a series of videos that touched on topics including Eco Practices and the Boom State of Mind.
  • Two of our main environmental campaigns for 2018 focused on ‘Save the Drop’ and ‘Skip on Plastic’. These aimed to raise awareness of water saving practices and a more conscious approach towards our use of plastic. This led us to increase the number of free water points across Boomland to a total of 35 and aimed at encouraging Boomers to refill their reusable water containers.
  • On 30 June 2018 we released the The Art of Living at Boom guide, a comprehensive booklet with important information, tips and Boom life hacks on enjoying and experiencing the festival to its fullest potential.
  • We walked the talk with our approach to social media by launching the ‘There Is More Connection In Disconnection’ campaign. It aimed to raise awareness of disconnecting from cyberspace during the week of the event. The campaign was further bolstered by news and features in our Dharma Dragon newspaper, the video Connect by Disconnecting and an art installation which specifically targeted this theme.


Young Trees Growing at Boomland 2017
  • Reforestation: Since 2015, our Reforestation Program has led to the planting of 720 new trees at Boomland. Go HERE to learn more about this plan.
  • Preparing for re-use and recycling: 40 percent of all waste produced in Boom Festival was either recycled or decomposed into organic compost. This included: 47.98 tons of plastic, 15.94 tons of paper, 14.35 tons of glass, 9.82 tons of metals, and 105.4 tons of organic waste which were collected by Valnor and EGEO (certified facilities) to produce nurturing compost for the earth.
  • There is no room for pesticides or other chemicals, so everything we have planted and grown on Boomland is 100 percent organic.
  • The toilet paper used at Boomland is made of recycled tetra pak.
  • During the festival, all the cutlery used is 100 percent biodegradable.


Sacred Fire at Boom 2018
  • Sacred Fire, Young Dragons and Being Fields: 220 mt of natural stone wall contributed to the decor of these three areas. A further 150 pieces of garden furniture were made with recycled wood, while 200 m2 of deck was built using wood alone.
  • Around three tons of recycled wood and 600 kg of willow were used for the remaining constructions. The clay sculptures around these areas amount to more than 10 m3 of clay.
  • The plants we used for the gardens were specially chosen for their resilience to thrive in dry, arid climates. These included Echinacea, Comfrey, Feverfew, Sage, Marigold, Thyme, Santolina, Elecampane, Raspberry, Black currant, Chives, Basil, Parsley and Goji, to name just a few.
  • Alchemy Circle: for the building of this area, more than 60 percent of the materials used were natural, recycled or upcycled.


Compost Toilets at Boom 2018
  • There were 378 compost toilets built on Boomland to support both Boomers and the team.
  • Thanks to their hard work around the clock, 100 members of the Eco Sanitation team helped keep toilets clean and functional throughout the festival week.


Welcome Team at Boom 2018
  • Welcome Team at the gates distributed 30,000 pocket ashtrays.
  • 200 Boomers on the Eco Team helped keep Boomland clean.
  • The Eco Guardians team comprised 18 brave volunteers whose mission was to raise awareness of residue and how we can use natural resources in a sustainable fashion.
  • Over the course of 19 days, 33 people cleaned up every area of Boomland. These included the lake shores, the campsites, the car and caravan parks, the central plaza, the artistic areas and the production villa.


Boomland, February 2017
  • In 2017, Portugal suffered a serious drought. So by February 2018, the Boomland lake had reached only 44 percent of its maximum capacity. This led us to reinforce our water saving measures and raise even more awareness about the importance of preserving this indispensable resource.
  • During the months leading up to Boom 2018, the message to save water became integral to our communication on social media. It also included the launch of two videos, which formed part of the Save the Drop campaign (The Water Issue & Preserve the Boom Lake).
The notice we posted at all showers during Boom 2018
  • During the event, shower times were limited to the hours of 06H-14h and 17h-00h. Over seven days, 6.46 million litres of water were consumed at Boom, which means that on average, a Boomer used approximately 20 litres of water per day, as opposed to 22 litres per Boomer per day during Boom 2016.
  • A total 400 kg of organic soap was provided to Boomers, as part of the Welcome Kit.
  • Gardens were irrigated by a solar pump system.


One of three solar panels stations at Boomland
  • 106 solar panels fed 16,000 watts of electricity to power up daily life and living at Boomland.
  • Generators at Boom used the latest technology and helped decrease energy consumption. As a result, this edition we consumed 20 percent less energy than we did in 2016.


Boom Bus 2018
  • Boom Bus: 213 Boom buses transported 10,176 Boomers to and from the festival. As publicised in the Dharma Dragon, 230 buses were actually available for use; therefore the number of buses used was less than anticipated, leading to the reduction of emissions.
  • Car sharing: for this edition, 1,663 new Boomers signed up to the lift sharing platform. Of these, 174 confirmed they were sharing a lift while a further 1,553 added a journey available for sharing. Between 17 July 2018 and 31 July 2018, 18 tons of CO2 emissions were prevented and some 142,523 km saved.
Bike Village at Boom 2018
  • Boom By Bike initiative: 59 Boom cyclists from 13 different countries registered on the Boom by Bike initiative. They cycled a combined total of 75,873 km to Boom. Many more also reached out to us by email and joined the Bike Village later on. We counted over 100 Boom cyclists overall!


Sacred Fire Restaurants at Boom 2018
  • Boom does not have ownership of any restaurants. It invites food vendors from around the world to participate instead. They do this by going through an application process in which they can submit their ideas. There are guidelines and an environmental policy for them to observe when making applications.
  • 46 percent of the 48 restaurants and chai shops were fully vegetarian and/or vegan.
  • Of those 48 restaurants and chai shops, 72 percent of all options for food were vegetarian and/or vegan.
  • Some of the bars owned by Boom also offered food options. Of all food options available at these bars, 75 percent were vegetarian and/or vegan.
  • Restaurant and Bars: We provide all restaurants with a list of local and national suppliers. Of the 35 suppliers, 73 percent were local or national and 51 percent organic.


Eco Art at Boom 2018

Health and mental well-being are of vital importance. We work and financially support the intervention of the Kosmicare Association at Boom, a project which provides drug checking services, support in case of difficult experiences, harm reduction and risk reduction information.

This is made possible by special authorisation provided by the Portuguese government organisation known as SICAD and is legal under the country’s decriminalisation law. In 2018, 120 skilled team members participated at the Kosmicare Drug checking and InfoHub areas and at the Kosmicare Psychedelic Emergency Hub.


Boom 2018
  • Native American Indian ceremony headdress: we noticed some Boomers using these headdresses as party accessories, which brings us to the issue of cultural appropriation. These are items which hold a very sacred place in Native American culture and ought to be worn only by those who have earned the privilege of adorning them. At Boom we do not resonate with the disrespectful practice of stereotyping ancient cultures. Therefore, we would like to ask the community to kindly abstain from wearing such items as part of their festival outfit.
  • Children without ear protection: it was distressing to see some children on dance floors without the appropriate ear protection. For health and safety reasons, we strongly recommend all children wear ear protection when approaching areas where music is loud.
  • Cigarette butts on the floor: Earth is NOT an ashtray! It is up to us to leave Boomland better and more beautiful than we found it - throwing cigarette butts on the ground is unacceptable.
  • Shitting and/or pissing in the lake: it came to our knowledge that there are still some people who use the Boom lake as a toilet. It goes against everything we stand for and is unworthy of any human gathering.
  • Flea Market littering: there were large amounts of trash left behind at the Flea Market. This is something we’ve approached in the Letter to the Boomers 2018 and which we’ll be working to help resolve.

On a final note, you’ll be happy to hear that the Boom Festival 20 Years documentary film is available online and can be viewed free of charge right HERE.

The Boom Festival 20 Years: an Oral and Visual History book is also available - just drop us a message at [email protected] if you wish to get your copy.

Our Eco Letter is an assessment of the humble contribution that we aspire to continue making. It aims to ensure that our gathering is in sync with the dynamics of the sacred Earth. We are aware of the impact we make, just as every human action makes. However, with each year, we strive to evolve so that this impact is reduced to the point we leave no trace at all. One day it will be possible! Check out more of our projects HERE.

Thank you for dedicating your time to reading this newsletter.

Cultivate Freedom & Love,
Boom Team