Your audience wants you to organize a green event. Having said that though you need to make sure you have everything in place to actually make it happen. Claiming that you are ‘green’ is not enough. Event planners need to make it clear to their fans what they are doing! My research study at American music festivals in 2015 showed exactly that: event planners need to shout about their initiatives!
Greening your event
A few years ago I visited a conference about greening the event industries. As I walked in I was handed so many freebies (read waste), from food coupons to fliers, that the whole point of the conference was undermined. In my opinion their vision was lost on me within 10 minutes after arriving. Events need to live up to the expectations of their visitors.
Make it easy for your attendees to do what you want them to do. If you want to recycle on site you need to provide your audience with the right tools to do so. Be clever with your signage and your communication. Make it easy for your attendees to do what you want them to do. Educate your audience where needed.
Getting the message across
Be very clear in the message that you send to your audience. What is it that you want them to do? Some festivals, like Lightning in a Bottle and Shambhala Music Festival, have created a social norm among the attendees to clean up after themselves. From ‘pack it in, pack it out’ to ‘leave no trace’ to ‘love your tent’ campaigns the message is clear: whatever you bring on site you take back home with you. Make sure you are consistent in your communication to your audience.
Besides the importance of communication you want to make sure you look after your audience’s wellbeing whilst they are at your event. Invest in your medical facilities such as first aid and chill out spaces. Be aware of who your audience is and what they do whilst at your event. From alcohol and other drug consumption to lost children: be in the know of what is happening on your event or festival site.
American Music Festivals
In 2015 I conducted research at Lightning in a Bottle festival and Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. Two very different festivals and yet they share the idea of creating a sustainable festival experience and they communicate this to their audiences. Attendees applaud the organizations for their efforts even though they do not always recognize every initiative. Both festivals have won awards from A Greener Festival as well.
In my opinion event organizations in general can do a lot more with regards to communicating their sustainable initiatives to their visitors. Shout about it as otherwise it might not have any impact at all.
For more information please visit my website www.eventtutor.com or you can also check out my eBook Event Planning: Research At Music Festivals In North America on Amazon.