Shambala festival kicks off this weekend, attracting ten thousand of the best glitter-loving, hippie-leaning souls from all corners of the earth.

The festival has a long history of sustainability initiatives, whether that’s achieving their goal of being powered by 100% renewable energy in 2011, or encouraging festival goers to travel to the festival by bicycle (leave the crate at home, guys); and this year they’ve come up with their most daring yet – a controversial decision to go meat and fish free.

shambala bread

Before any staunch meat-eaters throw up your arms in protest, this isn’t a random move from preachy vegans drunk on power. Shambala’s reasons behind the move are actually pretty solid…

The population of the earth is set to hit nine billion by 2050, which begs the question: How are we going to feed all these people? 70% of agricultural land is already used for raising livestock and the world’s seas and oceans are drastically overfished, not to mention the environmental impact livestock farming and fishing can have on our planet.

Collectively we as humans eat twice as much meat as we did 30 years ago, and the real cost of today’s global livestock industry is the emission of more greenhouse gases then cars, planes and all forms of transport put together. Now it’s not all doom and gloom, there are solutions to such woes and it is based on these reasons that Shambala has decided to go meat and fish free for their 2016 gathering.

shambala meat free festival vegetarian shambala

The organisers of Shambala are under no illusions that they are going to start some kind of vegetarian revolution, the idea is to get people talking about the issue. Certainly those who find the thought of facing the day without a bacon butty too much to deal with will have an opinion on the matter.

‘We are not suggesting that everyone should become vegan overnight. In fact, our festival team mirrors society, with a mix of vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters. But we all agree that significantly cutting down on meat in our diets is a very important part of addressing climate change.’  Says Chris Johnson, Shambala co-founder.

Now for those true carnivores heading to Shambala, all is not lost, as your protein fix can be achieved at Shambalas insect cafe. With familiar dishes like eggy bread and chilli ‘buggified’ with the aim of side stepping all the eeeew gross squeamishness which is likely to accompany such a cafe in these early days of bug eating (or entomophagy for those who want to sound big time).

insect cafe shambala

In comparison to meat and fish eating, the consumption of bugs is incredibly sustainable – there are around 40 tonnes of bugs on earth to every human and they reproduce extremely quickly. They are also very nutritious and do not rely on nearly the same amount of water and grain it would take to raise traditional livestock.

It only seems natural that this kind of development has come about, as Shambala and many other festivals are taking increasingly drastic steps to leave behind a minimal footprint on the environment. Let’s hope we see even more festivals follow suit…

Shambala Festival takes place 26-28 August at a secret country estate near Northamptonshire.