Music Festivals: All Beats, No Meats

By Sammy Caiola

Native Foods Cafe


Picture vast fields of tall green grass where suntanned 20-somethings in flower headbands run barefoot between huge concert stages. Live music comes from all directions as festivalgoers dance, hula-hoop, hug, and sing along to the sounds of the modern day Woodstock.


Mass music festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo and Sasquatch (which I attended last weekend), are a perfect fit for free-spirited vegans ready to jam out. The outfits, the outdoor venues, and often the artists themselves, exude a “peace and love” vibe that draws “hippie” crowds by the thousands. But are these festivals really cruelty free?



View from the audience at Sasquatch! Music Festival, which is a three-day annual event outside of Seattle. 

But between the greasy beef burgers and the heaps of trash, many would argue that music festivals are not as earth-friendly as they seem. And they may be right.


Here are a few tips from a pro-green festival goer on how to minimize your impact while out in the field.



People hear “festival food” and they automatically think hot dogs and funnel cakes. While this is true for a lot of festivals, there are some that are especially veg friendly. Here’s some of the awesome meatless food I found at Sasquatch this weekend:


-Tempeh wraps from local organic farm Sweet Leaf

-Vegan Philly Cheesesteak (not as good as Native’s though!)

-Portobello burgers

-Teriyaki vegetable rice bowls and gyros

-Vegetarian quesadillas with black beans and salsa



The Zombie Grill, which has a few locations at the Sasquatch! Festival, serves veggie burritos and soy hot dogs.




Music festivals are about music, but everyone knows that nailing the festival fashion style is absolutely essential. Think cut-off shorts, lacy fabrics, sunflower patterns, face paint, etc.


BUT, if you’ve got our animal friends in mind, you’ll be avoiding things containing silk, leather, wool and possibly more depending on how strict you are. Here’s PETA’s list of cute summer dresses if you want the skivvy before packing for Bonnaroo, which comes up mid-June .



This crochet-looking top, which was a hand-me-down from a family friend, is 60% cotton and 40% acrylic and kept me way cool in the sun.




Some, but not all, music festivals offer you the option to sleep on-site or in a nearby field. This can be really swell if you’re an outdoorsy type, but there’s no need to “pluck a goose” to get a good night’s sleep. Look for sleeping bags without down feathers, like this one from Mountain Equipment Co-op.



Native Foods Cafe uses this image courtesy of




Sun screen: Super important. Try Ocean Potion for a great selection of cruelty-free lotions, balms and aloes.


Deodorant: Finding a cruelty-free deodorant is crucial, but it can be incredibly difficult given the quantity of chemicals packed into a standard stick. PETA recommends the CRYSTAL body stone, which contains a glorious ONE ingredient (ammonium alum- it’s a mineral salt).


Native Foods Cafe uses this image courtesy of

Alternatively, you can make one yourself with shea butter, baking soda and coconut oil. Find the recipe here, courtesy of Wellness Mama.


Happy festival going!

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