Covid-safe SustFest returning for 2021

Jill Watson, Chair of SustFest21

Jill Watson, Chair of SustFest21 - Credit: St Albans Sustainability Festival

Organisers of the St Albans Sustainability Festival have decided to go ahead with the environmental event for 2021 after last year's was cancelled due to the pandemic.

They are asking groups across St Albans, Harpenden, and local villages to organise Covid-safe events about living sustainably. 

SustFest 2021 runs from Sunday May 23 to Sunday June 6. New for this year will be a flexible, online events listings allowing groups to alter arrangements as lockdown rules change. 

It uses the ‘One Planet Living’ framework created by Bioregional with themes including zero waste, community, sustainable food and natural habitats. 

Jill Watson, who runs the Phase Out Plastic stall at St Albans market, is the new chair of the festival - a partnership between charity Sustainable St Albans, and St Albans Friends of the Earth. 

She said: “We know the lockdown is very challenging for everyone. We asked ourselves if it was the right time to have another festival – especially after the disappointment of cancelling in 2020.

"However, we believe that local residents are passionate about building environmental sustainability, and threats to our environment just can’t wait. Also, this year the UK hosts the Global Climate Change Conference COP26 and local communities need to get their voices heard.” 

The St Albans Sustainability Festival organising group

The St Albans Sustainability Festival organising group (photo taken before lockdown): Front row L-R: Lee Wood, Susheel Rao, Craig Scudder, Farhat Zia, Gail Jackson. Top row L-R; Sheila Wright, Nicola Wyeth, Jill Watson. - Credit: St Albans Sustainability Festival

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Local graphic designer Lee Wood, a member of the organising group said:  “With the pandemic it’s more important than ever to inspire and encourage people to live more sustainably.

"During the lockdowns I have spent a lot of time with my daughter exploring nature where we live, and it brings so many benefits. The virus has curtailed people’s lives, and we want to help get people back talking about the planet.” 

Jill added:  “Luckily the National Lottery let us use last year’s grant to run the 2021 festival, and our community sponsor is Octopus Electric Vehicles. Together they’ve enabled us to get started. We are also looking for local businesses to sponsor the festival and information is on the website.”

Registration opens online on February 1, and community groups, businesses, schools and faith groups can register and find inspiration for appropriate activities including virtual events, on the website

There is also a crowd-funding website at