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Sustainable Entertainment: The Festivals of Future


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Festivals are undergoing a paradigm shift; while previously, most festival operators were content with antiquated waste management systems and the use of single-use plastics at their venues, they are now moving towards more efficient and environmentally friendly alternatives.

In Europe, Roskilde festival has been at the forefront of this recent change. A non-profit festival, Roskilde has made tremendous strides in ensuring proper use of its resources and commitment to creating positive social impact; for example, the event organizers have implemented new changes to the waste-management system (i.e. more recycling stations) that has led to a reduction of annual generated waste by 10%. In addition, not only are all earnings donated to charity but more importantly, – in a bid to remain 100% transparent – recipients of the charity are unequivocally publicized on the festival’s official website.

Another paragon of sustainable festivals, the Wood Festival held annually in Oxfordshire, UK is entirely powered by renewable energy sources such as solar panels, biodiesel and wood burning stoves. Even more impressive is Wood Festival’s recycling of 85 percent of all its waste in the past.

Change comes to Finland, finally

Meanwhile in Finland, the change has been slow, but positive. Many festivals, for example Pori Jazz, have received EcoCompass certification for compliance to their 10 point environmental criteria. While the EcoCompass certificate focuses primarily on efficient waste management systems and energy use, it will be interesting to see how festivals in Finland transition from sustainable environmental impact only to introducing broader sustainable social impact goals in future.   

Much of what we are witnessing today is brought on by heightened public awareness of environmental degradation – due partially to the use of single-use plastics – and an urgent sense of responsibility felt by individuals towards their immediate surroundings. It is now only a question of time before festivals around the globe join this sustainable bandwagon; after all, the European Parliament has already approved single-use plastics ban by the year 2021.  

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