Get to know the trailblazers of sustainable changes and innovation in the event industry
The world's first circular festival
The Amsterdam DGTL festival is currently taking a significant step forward. With the motto "CYCLE" for the edition in 2020, which has been cancelled in the meantime due to the pandemic spread of COVID-19, the company has already announced what it was aiming at: to become the first circular festival in the world (DGTL o. D.). According to their own statement, they are very aware of the environmental impact of the festival and want to redesign the event from scratch. The festival, which last attracted 45,000 guests (ibid.), thus wants to become a pioneer on the way to more sustainability in the festival landscape.
The concept that was and will be developed for this purpose should be adaptable to any other festival that wants to work for more sustainability, as well as transferable to cities (Groove Cartel 2020). The DGTL team is on the lookout all year round for innovations to close material cycles and reduce CO₂ emissions. In addition, environmental awareness is to be increased (DGTL o. D.). One part of the concept is the establishment of a circular food court. The festival turns all organic waste into compost and has modified the menus to match food leftovers from local food chains. In addition, the CO₂ emissions caused and the associated land use could be drastically reduced by removing meat from the menu (ibid.).
Furthermore, the concept also envisages that artists will be accommodated in energy neutral hotels and transported to the festival site by electric vehicles. The fact that electric
mobility is actually environmentally friendly is controversial due to the sometimes questionable production methods (Kerler 2017) - but the fact that the emissions are being eliminated locally and that alternatives are being considered at all is a positive development. Furthermore, recyclable hard cups are used and an intelligent energy system is established (DGTL o. D.). In 2019, the festival has already operated a stage exclusively with solar batteries (ibid.). Since the festival. infrastructure is very similar to that of cities,
the festival also sees itself as a testing ground for sustainable and innovative recycling
technologies for urban life.
You can visit the festival's online presence here.
A biannual organic festival with a special concept
The festival is highly aware of energy consumption, organic food supply and travel emissions. In addition to concerts, visitors can get inspired by the "market of ideas".
Find out more about Tollwood on their online presence.
A four-day festival in England that puts a lot of effort into being sustainable
The four-day Shambala Festival in England seems to have been questioning its own practices for some time now, and has begun both to remove disposable plastic (e.g. "Bring Your Bottle"; returnable cups for coffee) and to rethink essential components of the event.
For example, the festival is run with the help of 100% renewable energy (Shambala o. D.). A mixture of solar and hybrid units and systems powered by old vegetable oil will be used (ibid.).
Find out more about Shambala here.
Green Deal Circular Festivals
The Dutch government has also recognized the potential for testing circular inventions and courses of action for cities at a festival level.
In cooperation with Green Events International and other companies such as the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE), the Dutch government initiated the Green Deal Circular Festivals. Several European festivals joined the project, including, as mentioned above, DGTL and Shambala, as well as Down the Rabbit Hole (NL), Lowlands (NL), Lollapalooza Berlin, the Danish Roskilde and several others (ADE o. D.). The festivals are thus committed to working together in circularity until 2025. To this end, for example, supply chains are to be redesigned and circular solutions for all areas of festival and event planning, such as food, water and energy supply or materials, are to be developed. In addition, a measuring instrument is to be developed to show the successes and to point out where there are shortcomings. Festivals are ideally suited for testing and developing circular interventions (ibid.).
Read more about Green Deal Circular Festivals here.