Our 2011 Awards scheme is drawing to a close and we have received a record number of entries and reviewed and audited some fantastic festivals this year. There really have been some brilliant events – green, clean, caring and sharing, and doing more and more to promote awareness about climate change and the need to adopt sustainable lifestyles and protect the environment.
To be honest, there have been just a few which were less than fantastic, but almost all of the entrants were attempting to do something to reduce their environmental impact and many were going an awful lot further in the fight against climate change, waste and pollution. Overall our environmental auditors have visited more than 50 events this year have sent
back some glowing reports. We hope to be able to announce the final Awards in October and the Awards will be given in four categories: Improving; Commended; Highly Commended; Outstanding. An overall UK winner will be announced at the UK Festival Awards on Tuesday the 15th of November 2011 at the Roundhouse in Camden, London.
We now have festivals in Australia, Europe, The UK and the USA taking part in the Greener Festival Awards scheme and we have seen yet another year of innovations, excellence and environmental good practice in the festivals sector at the many and varied festivals who take part in our Awards scheme.
We have seen a significant increase in the number of European festivals taking part – in particular with a big increase Spain, with some events such as SOS 4:8 in Murcia taking part for a second year but we had four other festivals such as the Dia de la Musica Heineken in Madrid and the San Sebastian Festival all entering for the first time. Helen was very impressed with Dia de la Musica saying the cohesive co-operation between production and the sustainability teams and the internal communications system delivers the green message to staff and suppliers alike. Penny came back from Paris with a glowing report on We Love Green which looks like a super event, and Luke said he was more than pleased with his and Kareena’s audit of the Oyafestivalen in Norway which already holds the ‘Outstanding’ award from 2010. Equally pleased were Helen and Amie G with their audit of the massive city based Malmofestivalen in Sweden and they were inspired by the complete ban of bottled water and provision of tap water at temporary sites throughout the city and subtle approach to conveying their environmental and lifestyle message to city audience through art and interactive activities including a sustainable fashion show, cardboard street stage, redesign your jeans workshop and a toy swap.
Elsewhere in mainland Europe we audited Rock for People and the Open Air Festival in the Czech Republic, both previous winners, a new entry from Ilosaarirock in Joensuu Finland, Welcome to the Future in the Netherlands and also Hadra in France, another previous winner of the Award.
In the USA, Bonnaroo entered the Awards scheme for the fifth time along with Lightning in a Bottle who entered for the second time – and this year we had new entries from Austin City Limits festival and Lollapalooza. Our Awards co-ordinator in the USA, Lee, is stepping down this year and we have to say a massive ‘thank you’ to him for all of his support over the last two years.
In the UK Shambala, Croissant Neuf Summer Party, The Sunrise Celebration and Wood Festival are all extraordinary beacons of environmental good practice and great new ideas. Of the bigger festivals, Penny was mightily impressed by Glastonbury’s Green Traveller initiative which actually reduced the number of cars driving to the site (hooray!) and Luke was delighted with The Isle of Wight festival’s year on year improvements and green initiatives. As well as Wood which Helen said was as beautiful and wholesome as ever, she was at Camp Bestival and was impressed by the clean site and provision for children – including green activities and kids compost toilets!
Also in the UK we had some new entries from the Radio 1 Big Weekend in Carlisle, our first BBC entry, the Greenbelt festival at Cheltenham Racecourse and Festibelly in the New Forest, alongside entries from stalwarts of the scheme and previous winners such as The Cambridge Folk Festival. Leicester’s Summer Sundae Weekender, Lounge on the Farm, Grassroots in Jersey, Waveform, Bestival, T-in-the-Park and Splendour in Nottingham.
The Awards in Australia have already been announced and the winners of the 2011 Greener Festival Award down under are Bluesfest (Commended), Falls Festival (on two sites – Outstanding), Peats Ridge Festival (Outstanding), Woodford Folk Festival (Outstanding), Splendour in the Grass (Commended), Island Vibe (Highly Commended) and WOMADelaide (Commended). Well done to all, and our special thanks to Amie G who organises the Awards scheme in Oz.
At the end of the year we will have our first ever South American entry with Universo Parallelo in Brazil. This is great news and a new continent for us! On that note, Claire is off to Colombia at the end of this month to give a talk in Medellin at a Circulart 2011 conference focusing on green initiatives in the arts, and cultural strategies to promote sustainable events, at the invitation of the Colombian Department of Culture and the City of Medellin (www.circulart2011.com).
Its been a great year for festivals, albeit one that has been hampered by the global economic recession which affected festivals around the World, and some dramatic weather that was at the heart of the recent tragedies in both the USA and Belgium with the sad news of the deaths at the Indiana State Fair and Pukkelpop. The role of festivals and music in promoting sustainable lifestyles and fighting climate change cannot be underestimated. So thanks to all of our participating festivals – and to the conferences and events who invited us to provide speakers in Hungary, Belgium, The UK, Germany, Finland, France, Malaysia and Colombia. Watch out for the full Greener Festival Awards results in October.
Photos: ‘Solar Stage’ at We Love Green, Paris and ‘Compost Toilets’ at Glastonbury, Somerset by Penny Mellor.’Kids Loos’ at Camp Bestival, Dorset by Helen Wright and ‘Recycling’ at Peats Ridge, New South Wales by Amie Green .