Sir Paul McCartney backs 'green' Isle of Wight Festival

Image caption,
Sir Paul is this year's headline act at the Isle of Wight Festival

Sir Paul McCartney has lent his support to reducing the carbon footprint of this year's Isle of Wight Festival, where he is the headline act.

The ninth festival to take place on the island since its return from its 1970 heyday gets under way on Thursday.

The annual event was restarted at Seaclose Park in Newport in 2002 and is one of the UK's largest festivals.

Organisers want to make the event as "green" as possible after winning the Greener Festival Award last year.

'Let It Be'

Generators will partly run on bio-diesel, solar power will be used, while rangers have set up a wildlife and bee haven near the site using funds from festival-goers.

The "Let It Be" campaign is named after one of Sir Paul's Beatles songs and aims to help dwindling bee populations.

One of the country's rarest trees, the black poplar, will be reintroduced to the island at the haven and wild flowers are also being planted.

Sir Paul said: "I'm glad that winning the Greener Festival Award last year has helped to encourage them to take further action in 2010.

"It is fantastic for artists like myself to see festival organisers investing in ways to reduce their C02 emissions and taking responsibility for the environment.

'Making strides'

"Not only will this approach encourage others in the music industry to look at best-practice but it will also highlight to audiences that times are changing and we all have to do our bit at events such as these as well as at home."

About 50,000 people attended last year's event, which the council estimates is worth £15m to the local economy every year.

Image caption,
The festival in Newport gets under way on Thursday

"I think any festival would struggle to be 100% green," said Lois Prior, the festival's carbon auditor.

"You're talking about tens of thousands of people coming into one place, so there's bound to be an impact on the local infrastructure and local resources.

"The Isle of Wight festival are making strides to address those issues without taking away from the festival itself."

Other artists playing this year's festival include Jay-Z, Florence and the Machine, The Strokes, Pink, Blondie, Crowded House and Editors.

The 1970 festival became famous for Jimi Hendrix's performance, just three weeks before in died.

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