- 34 festivals and events across 12 countries awarded the prestigious Greener Festival Award
- First ever winners The Greener Event Award, launched in 2017.
- Awards presented at Eurosonic Noorderslag, Netherlands.
We work on the principle that every person drinks at least 1 bottle of water. One bottle is half a litre. So for a 10,000 capacity festival we are looking at least at 5,000 litres. At Electric Daisy, with 145,000 attendees, we poured roughly 1 million bottles: or 500,000 litres of water over 3 days.
A few weeks ago I taught sustainable event management to a group of students. Very quickly we were talking about different waste streams, how many tents have been left behind at music festivals this year, and why bins aren’t emptied regularly. The thing is though… sustainability is much more than just the environment.
It makes sense though to think of waste streams when you hear about sustainable event management. It’s what we can see; it’s what we can touch. But event organisers should place equal emphasis on the social and economics aspects of sustainability, according to a report from Positive Impact.
What that means is that on a social level you look at the impact your event has on the local community. Whether you can educate and raise awareness among your audience about certain issues and, for example, health and safety regulations at your event. The list goes on but these are just some concerns you can think of.
From an economic point of view you need to treat your event as a business so you want a positive ROI as you want your event to succeed and grow. You can be very aware of the environment but if your event doesn’t make any money there’s no longevity. And what is the added value of your event to the [local] economy? There are some great examples here and here.
Technology can also help your event when pursuing sustainable event management. At Event Tech Live I only had to scan my badge at stands to receive more information, rather than them handing out promotional items. Collecting data instead of waste… win-win!
Last week I was a guest lecturer at a college here in Brighton. My lecture was about the story of an event. How that storyline helps you as an event organiser to convey your message to your audience. I used a transformational festival as an example.
The students weren't really familiar with the term transformational festival. Jeet Kei Lung explains in his TedX Talk that a transformational festival provides a "content rich reality that features a high density of quality interactions. Festival attendees are participants and co-creators of the experience". Think Burning Man and you get the idea.
Now what does that mean? At these festivals it is all about community building, about learning and self-development, about social consciousness, about eating healthy, about creativity. Honestly, the creativity at these festivals is mind blowing! It might sound to you as a bunch of hippies gathering in a field but that's not necessarily true. The locations for these festivals are carefully chosen and the people attending are from all walks of life.
I've been lucky enough to attend transformational festivals like Lightning in a Bottle and Symbiosis Gathering. Both are taking place on the west coast of America, currently the hotbed for such festivals.
Is there room for such festivals in the UK? I think so.
You can subscribe to my Youtube channel. Every Sunday an interview with an event expert. Coming soon: my interview with Dede Flemming from Lightning in a Bottle.
Rocking the Daisies took place last weekend. This South African festival has been promoting sustainability since its inception. Craig Bright and Brian Little have been building the festival over the last decade. In January this year they gave an interview to South Africa's Entrepreneur Magazine. An interview every aspiring event planner should read. You can read the article here.
To get an overview of what sustainable event management means for Rocking the Daisies you should read the article from BizCommunity. The article provides a great overview of the festival's sustainable initiatives. I hope these initiatives will inspire you!
Together with the Event Safety Institute in the Netherlands I am organising a two-day workshop about Sustainable Event Management. It will take place in Holland on the 18th and 19th of January and yes, it will be in Dutch.
This workshop is for event planners, festival organisers, event suppliers, and event licensors. The aim of the workshop is to provide you the tools to make your organisation and your events more sustainable.
You can find more information here. All info is in Dutch but feel free to contact me of you have any questions.