As 2020 comes to a close instead of the usual 50 + worldwide festival assessments that certifying organisation, AGF, would be processing, the organisation is celebrating the only 4 festivals that took place and received assessment, before the strike of Covid-19 leading to the cancellation of almost all festivals worldwide.
Participants in the AGF awards, a leading kite mark of sustainable events, undergo a detailed evidence-based assessment throughout the whole event process including self-assessment, independent site visits, and post event proof and analysis.
In December 2019 in Tocumwal, Australia, Strawberry Fields received a Commended AGF Award, and were highly commended in the area of Local Community Impacts thanks to their deep respect and collaboration with the local indigenous community, grants for community groups, and fundraising efforts for the Green Valley bushfires which ravaged the area where the festival is held. Strawberry Fields also received Highly Commended in the Power and Waste Water & Sewage sections thanks to their use of renewable energy, compost toilets, grey water recycling systems, and permaculture techniques.
Wonderfruit Festival in Thailand, December 2019, raised yet another level and received a Commended AGF Award. The festival reached outstanding in the category of external reach and behaviour change thanks to the incredible awareness and outreach the festival does in relation to single use plastics and unsustainable consumerism. The festival also receive highly commended in the areas of procurement, solid waste and recycling and CO2 analysis, owing to their sustainable building materials and reuse strategy, implementation of a highly resourced waste management and circular approach to materials, and detailed methodology and analysis of their impacts.
Envision Festival of Costa Rica were the first to be assessed in 2020, and climbed a level received a Highly Commended AGF Award. The festival was outstanding in areas of local ecosystems and community impacts, procurement, water use, legal compliance and management systems and external reach and behavioural change. In recent years the festival invested in to programmes to plant more than 20,000 trees in the area where the festival takes place, which was formerly a cattle ranch and hunting area now being restored to tropical rainforest.
Karla Gayton, Sustainability Manager for Envision Festival said “Being sustainable should not be a choice for events, it’s our responsibility to care for the planet whilst having fun.”
Dubbed as the “last festival in the world”, Tribal Gathering underwent their first AGF Assessment in the Panamanian jungle, demonstrating an incredible resilience and care for place and people, when essentially operating whilst the world fell into scenes from a post apocalyptic thriller at the end of March 2020. Tribal Gathering received a Commended AGF Award. The festival was outstanding in the areas of local community impacts, procurement, water use and external reach and behavioural change. Their core purpose is to bring together indigenous communities for meaningful cultural exchanges. They are supporters of the local community, and the deep jungle location clearly encourages resourcefulness with some of the fewest materials used for this scale of event, all built with people power.
“These 4 festivals have each demonstrated a clear determination and inspirational actions to use their events as a force for good. It is this magic, incredible human connection and creativity that make festivals so important. We have missed this greatly in 2020, but know it’s power will be felt even more deeply and joyously when we return.” Claire O’Neill, Co-Founder AGF
Festivals who were forced to cancel in 2020 have postponed their AGF Assessments to 2021, and throughout the rest of the year the international community of festivals has remained connected. The AGF festival group meetings have been to ensure that festivals come back even more sustainable than before, by protecting and enhancing actions, and sharing knowledge towards greener future events.
As per tradition, 2020’s Awarded events will be celebrated during the Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI13), which will take place digitally on 2nd March 2021.
Photo: AGF, Tribal Gathering 2020