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Festival Vision 2025 at The Showman’s Show

Highlights from Festival Vision 2025

The event industry converged once again for the Festival Vision 2025’s 3rd annual meeting which took place at the Showman’s Show 2019. Representatives from the 70+ festival organisers who have signed the Vision:2025 pledge with Powerful Thinking, alongside suppliers and organisations supporting the industry to act on environmental sustainability, such as A Greener Festival Ltd and Julie’s Bicycle to name a few, came together to reflect on the climate emergency and to share experiences, expertise, and advice in another effort to achieve the shared goal of a 50% reduction of the environmental impacts caused by the Festival industry by 2025.

After Bethan Riach (Powerful Thinking) opened proceedings, we discussed the basis for an industry-wide response to the climate crisis leaving us signed, sealed and delivered to the forthcoming Festival Vision 2025 program, reflecting about the power of collaboration and what can be achieved when festivals and suppliers work together for a common goal.

If you missed this powerful meeting, here’s a summary:

1. Climate Emergency: State of the World by Chiara Badiali (Julie’s Bicycle)

As an integral part of Julie’s Bicycle, Chiara Badiali addressed our current climate emergency, sharing the scale of the damage and putting it into perspective for the audience. Chiara crystalised her message with statistics and research that have been accumulated over twelve years of Julie’s Bicycle, outlining the forward steps the event industry must take to achieve a sustainable future.


2. The Circular Economy by Sophie Thomas

“What is the right thing for manufacturers and the events sector to do for the environment? Often the answer is ‘it depends’”.

Sophie Thomas opened up an enlightening conversation on the manufacturing and design process and how it intersects with sustainability. Highlighting the increasingly paramount need for an understanding of data, audience, suppliers and infrastructure and how these can be at odds with each other.


3. The Future of Food, hosted by Mark Laurie from NCASS and Eighth Plate and which brought the experience and advice from Catherine Conway (Unpacked), Chris Johnson (Shambala), Sarah and Bev Milner Simmons (Eat Festival), Mary Shelly Smith (Eat to the Beat) and Olli Greenhalgh (Ravi Olli).

Eighth Plate is the catering initiative developed in conjunction with AGF and Fareshare South West which aims to take leftover or unsold meals on the festival site and transport them off to local food shelters. Minimises waste from the events industry and which has culminated in providing 14,300 meals for the vulnerable and saving 270 Tonnes of CO2 from polluting the atmosphere. An environmentally sustainable, humanitarian, and financially beneficial solution to the festival’s waste management problems. The session concluded leaving us with the following message: 

 “We learned we have to be proactive as a festival to support our partners/traders in finding solutions in wholesale & supply that meet our strict food standards & still allow us to offer affordable & good food to audiences.”  from Chris Johnson (Shambala Festival).


4. Audience Attitudes to Sustainability by Charlie Mitchel from CGA

An objective look at pooled data by CGA regarding attendees’ attitudes towards sustainability and the preferred modes of transport audiences choose to travel to festivals. The public’s prioritisation of environmental policies overshadows other ethics-based issues, such as a festival’s philanthropic efforts (40%) and commitment to social justice (22%).

“If an operator or brand isn’t investing in sustainable practices now, they won’t be around in 10 years.” Concluded Charlie Mitchel from CGA.


5. Innovations in Energy hosted by Tim Benson (Zap Concepts) which brought experience and advice from Mike Whitehouse (Power Logistics), Sid Rogerson (Energy logistics), Graham McAvoy (Greener Power Solutions), and Neil Fenwick (Illumin8).

Tim Benson and his fellow peers discussed energy waste and excessive power overconsumption. Revealing the need for festival events to measure the percentage of their electrical power that they use and to more accurately gauge how much electricity their events need. 

Tim Benson and his fellow peers debating on energy waste and excessive power overconsumption.


6. Green Supplier and Innovation Award Winners: Continest and MSS International B.V.

Green Supplier and Innovation Award Winners, Continest and MSS International B.V, showed how their winning proposal, The Wet Cell, functions and the sustainable manufacturing and processing methods they employ to reduce their carbon footprint. The Dutch company builds 10-20ft foldable containers, serving a wide consumer need, ranging from festivals and sporting events, to offices and pop up hotel rooms while cutting a whopping 80% of CO2 emissions! This is achieved by the number of containers per loaded vehicle: Continest claim that by simply delivering full truckloads they alleviate the logistical burden and emit fewer carbon emissions than their competitors. 

MSS International are supporters of the International AGF Awards and will be exhibiting at Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI) in March 2020, so so come check out their sustainable innovations!

Members from Continest and MSS International receiving their award for The Wet Cell.


7. Insights on waste management hosted by Chris Johnson (Powerful Thinking and Shambala Festival)

Last but not least, we debated about waste management.

Recognising the significance of waste management in the decisions festival organisers make regarding, cost, environmental impacts, logistics, and audience experience. Extrapolating data over the last couple of years, the panel detailed industry focuses such as, eliminating single-use plastic from events, the AIF’s (Association of Independent Festivals) Take you Tent Home! initiative and generating more audience engagement in sustainability. 

Sign the Festival Vision:2025 pledge and reduce the environmental impacts of your event or festival and join us in our shared vision for a greener future.

Are you a festival organiser seeking certification on sustainability? Why not apply for the International AGF Awards so we can help you achieve and measure the targets in Festival Vision 2025.