Friends of GALA,
The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the fragility of our previous ways of life, causing a devastating loss of life, financial insecurity and environmental issues.
For us, this hiatus from normality gave us time to reflect on what’s important and how we want to return to Peckham Rye Park in a way that improves the wellbeing of our local community, supports those who’ve suffered throughout the pandemic and reduces our impact on the planet.
Sustainability is our continual pursuit to increase our positive impact and reduce our negative impact.
There are three pillars of GALA’s sustainability: community, environment, and inclusion. We’re at the beginning of our journey and our priority is measuring our impact and being transparent by reporting publicly on our progress year on year. We have already developed initiatives in each pillar but we are mindful that we can always do more. This page will be continually updated as we learn more and develop new ways to improve.
Please continue reading, we will need to work together to make GALA a more sustainable festival.
Pre-existing societal inequalities in Peckham and Southwark have heightened the already severe effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The most vulnerable have had access to vital services reduced, businesses face closure and young people have had little access to education and workplace opportunities.
In 2021 and in the years to come GALA will strive to address these societal inequalities.
We are supporting the Southwark Day Centre for Asylum Seekers (SDCAS).
SDCAS is a charity on our doorstep founded over 25 years ago as a practical response to the increasing poverty, distress and homelessness among asylum seekers and refugees. SDCAS support some of the most vulnerable in our community who have often fled torture and persecution to seek a better life for themselves and their families.
SDCAS provide a crèche, help with immigration, benefits, housing, education, mental health support, English classes, and activities like gardening, arts and crafts, and outings.
Over the three days of the festival you’ll see our friendly volunteers with card machines in the queues asking you to tap and donate £3 to the Day Centre. Please give, it will make a huge difference to the lives of the thousands of asylum seekers and refugees they support. There will also be a mandatory £10 donation for those on the guestlist.
Head over to giving.thisisgala.co.uk and take part in our charity raffles and auctions. You can bid for a pair of tickets to Friday, Saturday and Sunday or try your luck with a raffle ticket for any of the days. We also have generous raffle prizes to offer from our friends at Rhythm Section and Worldwide FM. All proceeds from all auctions and raffles will be donated to SDCAS.
Lastly, we’ve designed a ‘Solidarity T-shirt’ in collaboration with the Day Centre, all profits go to the charity and you can find it on our online store.
“During the lockdown we’ve been providing a food bank, delivering essentials to the most isolated, and running an emergency phone advice service. We’ve discovered a lot of local partners and friends in the process, and we are truly delighted that we can count GALA amongst them. ”Southwark Day Centre for Asylum Seekers
We are supporting Peckham Platform.
Peckham Platform is a creative and educational charity that brings local communities together with leading creatives to co-produce meaningful art. Peckham Platform focusses on empowering and giving a platform to groups that are at risk of marginalisation.
This year we are commissioning an installation at GALA festival designed and curated by the Youth Platform. The installation is a layered, interactive experience of Batik and Ankara fabrics and textures, inspired by communities local to Peckham and South London.
Supporting local businesses and local music lovers.
Now the lockdown restrictions are easing its time to support our beloved local businesses. We collected some of the finest South London hangouts, bars, restaurants, cafés, record shops and breweries into a handy Google map. Click here to discover more.
This year 71% of our suppliers and partners at the Festival are from Greater London, 18% of which are from South East London. We will publish the full breakdown in our sustainability report after the festival.
When we added the new Friday live dimension to GALA this year we set aside 1,500 tickets for local residents discounted to £20 (from £55 final release). We’ve also offered 500 free tickets to local community groups.
We only have one planet and one Peckham Rye Park.
This is why GALA is dedicated to ensuring we leave as little impact on the natural environment as possible. This year we are taking a key step by measuring our impact – this includes our greenhouse gas emissions, water and waste. We are measuring our impact so that we can understand it and reduce it.
"The science is clear. It’s warming, it’s us, we’re sure, and it’s bad. But we can fix it." - Vision2025
GALA will play its part in the global fight against climate change. We have signed up to the Vision2025 pledge to achieve a 50% reduction by 2025 in greenhouse gas emissions in line with science-based targets.
We are also going to offset these emissions by making part of the festival carbon neutral. A carbon offset is a way for us to compensate for our emissions by funding an equivalent carbon dioxide saving elsewhere.
Carbon offsets are a recognised component of achieving carbon neutrality, but our primary goal is the Vision2025 reduction target. We will be selecting the offset projects based on expert advice and using the Offset Guide published by the Stockholm Environment Institute.
“The fact is that no species has ever had such wholesale control over everything on earth, living or dead, as we now have. That lays upon us, whether we like it or not, an awesome responsibility. In our hands now lies not only our own future, but that of all other living creatures with whom we share the earth.”Sir David Attenborough
In partnership with the local breweries, plastic straws will be banned from the festival site and drinks will be served in re-usable cups with a £1 deposit applied.
Polycarbonate (PC) cups can be washed over 500 times before they are recycled. Life Cycle Analysis studies find that PC cups cause significantly lower environmental impacts (e.g. climate change and ecotoxicity impacts) than other plastic alternatives.
There will be clearly signposted recycling and waste management stations and dedicated litter pickers throughout the site. As part of our Vision2025 pledge we have a target in place to have a recycling rate of 50% by 2025. Please help us beat this target by separating your waste and using the clearly marked recycling bins.
We have commissioned a biodiversity impact assessment of the site with SIMLAW ECOLOGY to understand and minimise our impact on the local wildlife.
Inclusion is our effort to celebrate diversity and identify then minimise barriers of participation.
We have a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination, harassment and bullying. We have had no reported cases in previous years but that doesn’t mean there weren’t any. We must be proactive and provide people with the means to safely report these issues and prevent them happening in the future.
To prevent, we must understand, report, be accountable and take action.
We will measure and report publicly the diversity of GALA staff, DJs, musicians and suppliers using optional and anonymous surveys. This survey will not be multiple choice, allowing people to freely choose how they identify with gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation. For this reason of self-identification, we are not currently able to process potentially 20,000 different survey responses from our ticket buyers.
We recognise this is an important gap. Instead we will send out a multiple-choice survey to everyone (including ticket buyers) after the festival to gather any experiences related to inclusion, discrimination and harassment. We will then report publicly on the prevalence of these experiences year on year.
Our security, medical and production team are trained with safeguarding procedures in place to deal with these issues. Our priority is the wellbeing of everyone on site.
Supporting The Queer Black Therapy Fund with Refuge Worldwide
We’ve made a donation to The Queer Black Therapy Fund in partnership with Refuge Worldwide. The fund provides long term therapy for 10 Black Queer people in Germany who are unable to access mental health care through their health insurance.
This fund is a charity partner of Refuge Worldwide, a Berlin based fundraising platform and radio station working in solidarity with grass roots and non-profit organisations. In March 2021 GALA hosted a day long takeover on their airwaves – you can play the takeover back here. Refuge are also hosting a tent on the Saturday this year!