Jan 26, 2024

Sustainable Music Festivals and Organisations: Get Inspired!

We can agree that we all have an environmental responsibility, so how can we tackle this issue? Let’s have a look at how big music festivals and organisations are taking sustainable actions today. Where self-expression and creativity converge with an eco-conscious ethos! This blog post will help our promoters to replicate more forward thinking pathways whilst allowing our artists to pick their events more wisely.

gigmit teamed up with Future of Festivals in 2023. We listened to a variety of speakers who talked about their sustainable efforts in the music industry and we wanted to share it with you.

This is what we learnt from the panel ‘Surviving Vs Thriving: Envisioning Sustainable Futures’.

Sustainable Music Festivals: Burning Man

The Burning Man Festival is an extraordinary annual event that transforms Nevada’s Black Rock Desert into a temporary and vibrant city. This unique festival isn’t just a celebration of self-expression and art, but a hub for radical inclusion with an eco-conscious commitment!

We listened to Steven Raspa (Associate Director of Community Events at Burning Man Festival) talk about their sustainable goals and achievements:

🌍 Largest NO TRACE Festival. That’s right, Burning man strive to leave Black Rock city in a better state than when it was found – no signs of physical activity left on the land.

🔥 Goals: Carbon Negative & Solar-Powered by 2023: Burning Man is on a mission to make Black Rock City not just carbon neutral but carbon negative, all while running on solar power. 

🌿 The Green Corridor: Dive into a network of camps leading various sustainability efforts, creating a green corridor of positive change. Various efforts such as camps with no generators, camps that are 100% solar powered and camps that participate in bike-sharing programs!

🎨 Land Art Generator Initiative: Marvel at the collaboration between Burning Man and LAGI as they turn the desert into an art-filled wonderland, showcasing the power of sustainable creativity. A multi-disciplinary design challenge will create the foundational infrastructure of Fly Ranch, reinforcing the beauty and ecology of the surroundings!

Learn more: ‘Burning Man 2023 Sustainability Report: Year Four Update’

So, what can festival goers and artists do to be more eco-friendly?

  1. Bring your own cup! No cup, no gift of a drink.
  2. Pack IN and OUT, leave no waste behind!
  3. Use the RECYCLE CAMPS! Burning Man collects as many aluminium cans as possible.
  4. Take advantage of the Burner Express program that offers both bus and air travel.
  5. Artists of all kinds! Transform your work from fuel-based power to solar power & battery-charging systems. Click here to learn more.
  6. And create an onboard community! Attend sustainable programs around the festival to inform and inspire.

Here is an example how Burning Man are taking to social media and showing how they are using solar panel energy to design their latest artwork:

To learn more about Burning Man festival and their goals they wish to attain by 2023. Read more here.

“keep the emphasis on human relationships instead of task level” he says. “Onboard a strong community and involve the next generation. Allow the young people to be included and integrate them into the new mindset we must take on”. And “stay relevant”.

– Steven Raspa at the Future of Festival Conference in Berlin 

Like everything, more can always be done. Burning man are doing a great job at running a more sustainable festival, whilst still accomplishing their mission; ‘producing positive spiritual change in the world’ through music. However, we have to address what else can be done – Burning Man generates roughly 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually. The rural nature of the festival and the increase in transportation has heightened carbon emissions.

Sustainable Music Festivals: Roskilde Festival

Another great festival we want to mention is Roskilde Festival; the ultimate blend of music, culture, and activism since 1971! This Danish sensation, hosting over 130,000 enthusiasts annually is a cultural phenomenon with a mission. Known for it’s commitment to music and activism that attracts a diverse international audience.

Roskilde Festival believe in our environmental responsibility. Follow the link here to see how we can take better care of nature and reduce our negative climate impact! In 2022, Roskilde festival signed a five-year partnership with the energy company Andel. This partnership allowed a stop to ALL use of power-generating diesel generators and to reduce the consumption of bottled LPG gas.

Their initiatives for 2023 with Andel: More electric cars, battery powered food court, more solar energy and energized camping communities. 

Here are a few example how Roskilde Festival are giving eco-conscious tips:

🚆Greener transformation: Click here to find out all the greener ways to get to Roskilde Festival (including train timetables and external links to bus companies!)

🏕️Rental solutions for camping and equipment. Click here to see how you can rock up to Roskilde with a pitched recycled tent waiting for you!

🧘Healing and Education activities! Get involved in more eco-conscious fun such as turbine meditation, yoga classes, debates on green transition & energy quizzes!

📓And lastly, have a read of their sustainable strategy to learn more.

Curious about their plan for 2025? Brace yourself for the largest testing platform in Denmark, where over 200 young entrepreneurs will be the stars of the show. Roskilde teamed up with The Tuborg Foundation to create Circular Lab: bringing hope and to inspire the next generations.

Sustainable Initiatives with MUTEK X FUTURE FESTIVALS

MUTEK is one of the network partners involved in Future Festivals. This global project brings festivals together with a goal to redefine the role of publicly-funded festivals in the post-COVID era. Take a look at their Field Guide to learn more about upgrading cultural infrastructure for accessibility, resilience and sustainability:

Future Festivals Survey

Future Festivals Field Guide

“Focus on quality rather than quantity, focus on authenticity and accessibility”. She says. “And think locally”.

– Sarah McKenzie: Creative Director, Cultural Strategist of MUTEK at the Future of Festival Conference in Berlin.

Sustainable Initiatives in cultural Organisations 

Digital Inter / Section is our last example. This European project for digital art and cultural organisations implements ethical, inclusive and sustainable aspects. These workshops and conferences raise awareness and allow new business models to be developed!

Sign up to the Digital Inter / Section form to be part of the movement.

To our fellow artists and promoters, the rhythm is in your hands! We’ve unveiled how big music festivals and organisations are building a sustainable future – every small step helps! Let’s think green, wherever we can and take pride in being the change-makers of the music industry! 🌿🎶

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