Free Shop

The beauty of a big sign that says ‘FREE’ is that people want to know what it’s about.

A hub for sustainability outreach where attendees come to us, harnessing the power of the word ‘free’.

It’s a £10 deposit per item, all kit is reclaimed from other festivals. Items are mainly camping chairs and inflatable beds. We are also slowly broadening our stock, as people are often underprepared for camping and ask us for stuff, so we can also bring some duvets, pillows, roll mats and a few emergency tents (£100 deposit) for those struggling. 

When the item is returned we refund the deposit. The aim is to encourage people to reuse stuff, not to end up with a stack of deposits.

It also creates two chances to speak to someone about various sustainability things happening on-site (not in a pushy way!), at messy festivals this includes talking to folks about taking their tents home

At Boomtown this year we had 94% of items brought back to the Free Shop, a really motivating result. We believe that people like a bit of kindness and a bargain deal in an environment so geared towards expensive spending.

To cover our overheads we offer reclaimed sunglasses, hats, fancy dress and other little bits on a donation basis. Again, all of this is reclaimed and cleaned. It’s a small quantity of stuff so it in no way competes with actual traders but just means we don’t haemorrhage money by trying to do a nice thing. 

To accelerate industry-wide change we can teach you how to run your own Free Shop at your event. It’s simple, effective and volunteer powered.

What do you mean teach us?

We aren’t creating these engagement methods in order to make money, claim credit or feed a moral high horse. We do what we do in order to see real change happen, and we do, in the amazing conversations, the visible advocacy it generates and the belting return rate.

So we want to share our knowledge with any event/production company that wants to learn and implement their own Free Shop, sustainability outreach hub, behavioural change epicenter.

How?

We bring the Free Shop to your event in 2023 and run it. You provide one or two people you trust join our crew and we teach them everything during the course of the event. After the event we can help you collect stock out of any abandoned items, or leave you some of our stock.

Hey presto! You’ve got yourselves a Free Shop for 2024.

From the Free Shop we also do

Block Prints

Affirmative messaging printed on attendees’ t-shirts, on reclaimed items of clothing.  It’s a great way to create advocates and to visually spread messaging peer-to-peer instead of ‘the festival is telling you to do XYZ’

Donation Point

It’s a very fine line between giving the few who genuinely want to donate to a good cause a place to do so and encouraging people to not take their kit home and reuse it. Unstaffed donation points become a guilt-free bin for lazy people. Using the Free Shop as an ‘impromptu’ donation point, with a large visible sign works well. It is staffed and if someone wants to donate but is struggling with their tent then we can send someone to go and help them. This means that we are able to quality-check the donations to avoid taking unusable kit.

Games & Prizes

The gamification of doing good is key in an environment where people are so committed to having a good time. We set up easy games that encourage recycling and positive behaviour and use reclaimed items as prizes.

Workshops

Workshops are a great opportunity to chat to attendees and to give the space to ask questions, they will be free and focus on making use of things that are unrecyclable or difficult to recycle. Workshops can be designed to tie in with event themes.

Here’s a little diagram to summarise the Free Shop