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AGF announces 15th annual GEI conference

The 15th annual edition of the Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI 15) has been announced by A Greener Festival (AGF) and the International Live Music Conference (ILMC).

The leading conference for sustainability in events will take place on 28 February at a new venue, the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London.

GEI 15 brings together leaders and innovators in the global live and events sector to network and accelerate environmental and social best practice to make impactful change.

Industry leaders, experts, governments, and cutting-edge organisations will gather to identify, share and implement practical actions and holistic measures to help with this critical transition.

The programme ranges from strategic senior-level commitments, to “how to” case studies and workshops for operational implementation on the ground, and networking opportunities.

Sessions will cover topics such as transport, energy, food, equality and inclusivity, climate justice, reducing and calculating emissions, design and materials usage for circularity, the interface between the sector and politics, carbon removals and more.

“How the live sector moves towards a greener business model is now a critical issue”

The International AGF Awards also return to GEI 15 in 2023, celebrating the most innovative and worthy events, venues, organisations and individuals from events worldwide in the last 12 months.

AGF CEO Claire O’Neill says: “Finally, the status quo is uncomfortable enough for change to happen fast. We have to reduce emissions by more than 50% in the next seven years – a phenomenal task that no single organisation or sector has the answers nor the power to do alone.

“With many aspiring to a zero-carbon future, how the live sector moves towards a greener business model is now a critical issue. We look forward to welcoming the industry once again to GEI to reflect on the years progress, approach the difficult questions, and steer in the right direction for the year ahead.”

GEI is AGF’s flagship event and is organised in partnership with the ILMC, which takes place at the Royal Lancaster Hotel between 28 February and 3 March.

Limited super early bird tickets for GEI are now available here, as well as sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities. Find out more information here.

 


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AGF names Jamal Chalabi head of A Greener Tour

A Greener Festival (AGF) has appointed touring and production veteran Jamal Chalabi as head of A Greener Tour.

Chalabi will join the UK-based sustainability nonprofit to help more tours meet and exceed their sustainability ambitions.

As tour and production manager at UK-based company Backlash Productions, Chalabi has worked with artists such as DJ Shadow, Pendulum, Bring Me The Horizon, Massive Attack, and James Bay, gaining three decades of experience in the sector.

He is also a sustainability facilitator for the UK’s Tour Production Group (TPG) and a trustee of live event industry charity Ecolibrium.

Chalabi has worked with artists such as DJ Shadow, Pendulum, Bring Me The Horizon, Massive Attack, and James Bay

Chalabi previously collaborated with AGF on a six-date UK arena run by Bring Me The Horizon (BMTH), helping the band to reduce their tour emissions by 38%.

AGF joined the tour to provide advice and consultancy, to implement and report on proposed mitigation actions, and to produce the Greener Tour Report and CO2 Analysis.

The resulting report is intended as a resource for other touring productions to use as another step on the road towards A Greener Tour.

Chalabi has also helped Massive Attack tackle tour emissions while building a model for low-carbon future tours and supported James Bay to travel the 2,000 miles of his UK tour by EV.

 


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Sustainability initiatives ramp up across the business

This week has seen major companies in the live music business ramp up their sustainability efforts with new initiatives, hires and partnerships.

ASM Global this week announced a new partnership with Honeycomb Strategies, a leading consultant in sustainability for the hospitality, sports and event industries.

According to a release, the partnership will support and improve the venue management giant’s sustainability efforts across its global portfolio of some 350 facilities, from stadiums to local convention centres.

Honeycomb Strategies, a woman-owned consultancy, brings extensive experience and a comprehensive understanding of events-related best practices in the sustainability field.

The consultancy will work closely with ASM’s corporate social responsibility platform, ASM Global Acts Foundation, which supports philanthropic and community-based endeavours, guided by its sustainability and diversity objectives.

ASM Global announced a new partnership with Honeycomb Strategies

Among Honeycomb Strategies’ clients are SoFi Stadium, Colorado Convention Center, Visit Denver, Greenbuild Conference and Expo, Vancouver Convention Center, Specialty Coffee Association, Coffee Expo, UUA General Assembly and Snowflake Technology Summit.

Meanwhile, AEG Europe is recruiting a director for the delivery of net zero, to be based out of its European head office in London.

The successful candidate will be charged with developing AEG Europe’s Net Zero Strategy, implementing and driving plans that deliver net zero and establishing AEG Europe as industry leaders and advocates for net zero.

Elsewhere, environmental nonprofit A Greener Festival (AGF) has launched ‘A Greener Supplier Kitemark’ to provide green suppliers with independent verification and recognition of their sustainability actions.

The new certification will help events, festivals and tours identify verified green suppliers more easily, reducing the time and overhead of having to undertake their own internal supplier assessments.

AEG Europe is recruiting a director for the delivery of net zero

For suppliers with the kite mark, it is hoped that it will reduce the effort required to demonstrate their green credentials to prospective customers.

To attain the kitemark, suppliers will have to demonstrate a commitment to supporting biodiversity, and reducing their organisations emissions and waste across the company’s operations, purchases and investment.

The supplier assessment will consider the organisation’s approach to applicable key elements of environmental sustainability including energy, food & beverage, transport, waste management, water, plastics & packaging, social responsibility, as well as its policy and strategies for dealing with hazardous materials and reductions in CO2 emissions.

Meanwhile, the US has gained a new nonprofit organisation studying sustainability and live events.

Sound Future launched with the goal to find solutions to making live events more sustainable in a way that supports business goals and improves the artist and fan experience.

The US has gained a new nonprofit organisation studying sustainability and live events

“Sound Future is a nonprofit born to harness the influence of the live event industry for the betterment of people, planet, and business,” reads a statement from the organisation.

“We partner with industry stakeholders to offer baseline climate accounting for live events. We use that data to inform the highest impact technology solutions, recommending only those that help our partners meet their business objectives and meaningfully improve the event experience for the talent and their fans.”

The nonprofit is led by CEO Cassie Lee, who has previously held roles at NASA, Paul G. Allen’s space programs and SpaceX.

Taking up the position of COO is Ashley O’Winter, an Emmy-award nominated documentarian and a philanthropist.

CMO of Sound Future is Brandy Schultz, founder and owner of the award-winning agency Adventure Nannies, whose knowledge of the live event space comes from touring the world with her husband, Wesley Schultz of The Lumineers.

Also serving in an advising role at Sound Future is Sara Full, current tour director of The Lumineers and who previously worked on the road with AC/DC and The Rolling Stones.

Later this year, IQ Magazine will publish the third edition of Green Guardians, an annual guide that aims to boost the profile of sustainability pioneers working to make the live business greener.

 


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Concert for Earth to take place inside volcano crater

The first-ever Concert for Earth, a nonprofit music festival and global conservation summit, is to take place from inside a volcano crater on the Azores Islands in Portugal.

Organised by Extreme guitarist Nuno Bettencourt – who was himself born in The Azores – via his production company Atlantis Entertainment, the event will feature live and virtual performances from artists, and showcase the work of leading conservationists and organisations from around the world.

Black Eyed Peas, Pitbull, Stone Temple Pilots, Bush, Mod Sun and Girlfriends are set to headline the event, while organisations including Re:wild, Sea Legacy, Blue Azores, The Ocean Cleanup, Innerspace, Juccce, Grounded, and Brian Eno’s Earth Percent will be featured.

“Biodiversity, from wildlife to ecosystems, underpins the existence of life on Earth”

“Biodiversity, from wildlife to ecosystems, underpins the existence of life on Earth,” says Wes Sechrest, chief scientist and CEO of participating partner Re:wild. “We are excited to be a part of Concert for Earth, a celebration of the symphony of life on our unique planet and an invitation to come together to protect and restore nature for the benefit of biodiversity, the climate, and all of us”.

The event promises to be zero- to low emission and any remaining carbon emissions from the event will be offset with support from environmental nonprofit A Greener Festival (AGF).

The festival is set to take place in Sete Cidades, in the Azores, on 22 and 23 July. Select artist performances will be livestreamed worldwide for free on the second day via Veeps, while in-person tickets are available to those local to the Azores.

Those watching remotely can ‘click to donate’ during the livestream, with 100% of donations going directly to the festival’s conservation partners.

 


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OVO Hydro achieves A Greener Arena certification

Glasgow’s OVO Hydro has been announced as the first arena in the world to achieve A Greener Arena (AGA) certification for its commitment to sustainability.

Awarded by A Greener Festival (AGF), AGA takes a holistic approach to sustainability, not only looking at emissions and environmental impacts but also people, inclusion and wellbeing.

The award was officially presented to the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) venue at today’s Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI), presented by AGF in partnership with the International Live Music Conference (ILMC)

Assessors highlighted the Hydro’s commitment to reducing emissions, enhancing local biodiversity, and being an instrument of positive change on the arena tour circuit. They also praised the venue’s use of 100% renewable electricity, elimination of single use plastic cups at live events saving two million cups per year, campus wide sustainable food strategy and expansion plans for electric vehicle charging points, in addition to its “outstanding” programme for inclusion, health and wellbeing for staff through the dedicated people department.

“Being the first arena in the world to accomplish this is a huge achievement”

“More than ever we are focused on the impact our business has on the planet and are proud to be awarded A Greener Arena certification,” says Debbie McWilliams, the SEC’s director of live entertainment. “Receiving such an accolade is further proof of our commitment to delivering a greener future for our events.

“Being the first arena in the world to accomplish this is a huge achievement and we hope this paves the way for others to follow. It is a significant milestone on our journey towards net zero by 2030, and a real credit to the team who work so passionately on implementing our sustainability strategy.”

Title partner OVO Energy supported the venue’s goal to achieve ‘Greener Arena Certification’ through funding of specific carbon-reduction and environmental initiatives. As part of the assessment, AGF will also share actionable recommendations with the Hydro team that are designed to further evolve the venue’s ongoing certification assessments in years to come.

“We’re delighted for the team at the OVO Hydro, and we hope that this leads the way for more arenas to get involved in the process”

“We’re proud to work with partners who support our commitment to drive progress to zero carbon living,” says James Watts, OVO Energy’s head of PR & sponsorships. “By becoming the world’s first arena to achieve the ‘A Greener Arena’ certification the OVO Hydro is sending a clear signal to the industry that lower-impact live events are possible.

“We will continue to support the OVO Hydro to further reduce its carbon footprint, so fans and artists alike can perform in a venue that’s supporting our collective goal; saving the planet.”

The milestone supports the SEC’s overall sustainability ambitions and adds to the moves it has already made towards reducing its carbon footprint and achieving net zero by 2030.

AGF co-founder Claire O’Neill adds: “A Greener Festival was launched in 2007 and since then we’ve assessed over 1,000 events, tours and venues across five continents, providing the first and only sustainable event certification including on site assessment of practical implementation and independent verification across 11 categories of event analysis, and the first dedicated arena certification. We’re delighted for the team at the OVO Hydro, and we hope that this leads the way for more arenas to get involved in the process.”

 


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Full agenda confirmed for GEI 14

The Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI) has unveiled the complete agenda for its upcoming 14th edition.

Taking place at the Royal Garden Hotel, London, on Friday 29 April, the leading gathering for sustainability at live events will include an exclusive keynote from Brian Eno in conversation with Aurora and Love Ssega.

Representatives from AEG, ASM Global, EarthPercent, Forest Green Rovers, Glastonbury, Music Declares Emergency, OVO Arena Wembley, Roskilde Festival, Royal Albert Hall, SEC, Soul Sutras, We Love Green, UWE and Yourope are also confirmed to appear at the first green events industry get-together in over two years.

The full schedule can be viewed here. For the first time, an ILMC delegate pass includes full access to this year’s GEI, which takes place during the main conference programme. The event has historically taken place the day before ILMC, but this one-off move will allow all ILMC delegates full access to the whole of GEI.

Key topics of the conference include:

Confirmed speakers include (in alphabetical order); Andy Lenthall (Festival Insights), Aurora, Brian Eno, Chiara Badiali (Julie’s Bicycle), Claire O’Neill (AGF), Dale Vince OBE (Ecotricity/Forest Green Rovers), Danny Newby (Big Green Coach), Dave Ojay (Naam Festival) Dr Vincent Walsh (Herblabism/Future of Food), Dieter Castelein (Greener Power Solutions), Erik Distler (AEG), Fay Milton (Music Declares Emergency), Gina Périer (Lapee), Glenn Lyons (UWE), Gordon Masson (IQ Magazine), Hannah Jukes (Bodyheat Club Ltd.), Helen Taylor (Ecotricity/Forest Green Rovers), Holger Jan Schmidt (YOUROPE, General Secretary), Jane Healy (J Healy Productions), Jennifer Ennis (Scottish Event Campus (SEC)), John Drury (OVO Arena Wembley), John Robb (Louder Than War / Membranes), Kara Djurhuus (Roskilde Festival), Laura van de Voort (Green Events Netherlands), Linnéa Svensson (Green Operations Europe), Love Ssega, Lucy Noble (NAA/Royal Albert Hall), Lyke Poortvliet (Green Events Netherlands), Marcel Arsand (Ball), Marie Sabot (We Love Green), Martin Thim (DTD Group), Mike Walsh (Serenade), Nora Wigand (Ball), Paul McCrudden (OnePlan Events), Sangeeta Pillai (Soul Sutras), Sangeeta Waldron (Serendipity PR & Media), Steve Sayer (The O2 (AEG Europe), Thomas Grunberg (Gaudina).

The 14th edition of GEI is presented by A Greener Festival and ILMC, with the support of Ecotricity, De La Maison and Ball Corporation.

 


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Scottish Event Campus commits to net zero by 2030

The Scottish Event Campus (SEC) has stated its ambition to achieve net zero by 2030 after making significant moves to reduce its carbon footprint in recent years.

The organisation’s strategy is based around five key goals: climate, governance, partnership, people and resource, as it develops an energy strategy to transition the venue to net zero, supporting Glasgow’s commitment to do the same across the city.

The 2030 target is in line with the commitment made by LIVE Green – the sustainability arm of UK live music umbrella trade body LIVE. All 13 association members of LIVE – including AIF, MVT, NAA and CPA – ratified a voluntary sector-specific commitment to deliver measurable and targeted action on climate change.

“More than ever we are focused on the impact our business has on the planet,” says SEC chief Peter Duthie. “As the proud host venue of COP26 we are fully committed to becoming net zero by 2030, and to taking a central role in supporting Glasgow’s ambitious targets.

“We recognise how significant a challenge this is, but we are determined to reach this goal. We have the vision and an excellent team, deep in planning mode, to get us there.”

Actions around water efficiency, green travel, supply chain engagement and waste management are also being implemented, while renewable sources already provide 100% of the SEC’s electricity.

The organisation launched a sustainable food strategy in partnership with Levy UK in the run up to COP26, with a commitment that all packaging used will be reusable or recyclable by 2023. The SEC is also a longtime contributor to Trees for Life, and hired a dedicated environment and waste manager in 2019 to fulfil the venue’s aim to be more sustainable.

The SEC is a founding partner of the NetZeroCarbon Events pledge

The SEC is a founding partner of the NetZeroCarbon Events pledge which is a collaboration of the world’s leading events industry players who have come together with the goal of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The SEC is also working towards A Greener Festival‘s (AGF) ‘Greener Arena Certification’.

The AGF certification will include external verification that carbon reduction and transition strategies are at the heart of all venue operations, from catering to materials used and circularity.

Last year, the OVO Hydro arena, which is located within the SEC campus, announced it will continue to develop its sustainability credentials. OVO is supporting the venue’s goal through funding of specific carbon-reduction and environmental initiatives recommended as a result of the annual accreditation process.

OVO Arena Wembley’s John Drury will be one of the speakers at the 14th edition of the Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI) at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, London on Friday 29 April, presented by AGF in partnership with the International Live Music Conference (ILMC). For the first time, an ILMC delegate pass includes full access to this year’s GEI, which takes place during the main conference programme.

In November last year, it was announced that Oak View Group’s new east Manchester development Co-op Live will become the UK’s first all-electric arena when it opens in 2023.

 


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BMTH reduce emissions by 38% on arena tour

Bring Me The Horizon (BMTH) reduced their tour emissions by 38% during their six-date arena run in the UK, according to sustainability experts A Greener Festival (AGF).

The ‘Post Human Tour’ reportedly achieved the reduction through using renewable fuel for trucks, plant-based meals, food waste reduction and energy-efficient equipment among other initiatives.

More than 27 tonnes of CO2e were avoided, 22 tonnes avoided by switching trucking fuel to HVO Renewable Diesel and 3,322 plastic bottles were prevented, according to a new report from AGF.

The September 2021 tour, promoted by Kilimanjaro Live’s rock arm Action! Presents, is said to be the first arena run in the UK since the pandemic.

The six-date run comprised shows at The Bonus Arena in Hull, The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, FlyDSA Arena in Sheffield, Utilita Arena in Birmingham and the O2 in London.

“These results are undeniable evidence that we can take huge strides to reduce emissions and protect ecosystems immediately”

AGF says that the tour was the first to achieve the aspirational reductions of touring thanks to “unprecedented collaboration between stakeholders”.

Raw Power Management, United Talent Agency (UTA), Kilimanjaro, and the O2 Arena shared the cost of sustainability implementation advice and tour impact audit.

AGF joined the tour to provide advice and consultancy, to implement and report upon proposed mitigation actions producing the Greener Tour Report and CO2 Analysis.

The resulting report is intended to not only provide insight for the internal BMTH touring team to monitor achievements, areas for improvement, and required emissions removals, but also as a resource for other touring productions to use as another step on the road towards A Greener Tour.

Matt Ash, Raw Power Management, says: “Working with an artist in BMTH and a tour production team that was fully behind the approach to sustainable touring was something that we absolutely endorsed and are keen to implement on all future touring whenever possible.”

“Their vision from the start was to produce the tour as environmentally friendly as possible”

Claire O’Neill, CEO at AGF, adds: “During the pandemic, the touring music industry came together on the important topic of sustainability. We’re so happy with the results from walking the talk with the first UK arena tour off the mark. The report shows a direct link between well-being, stress, and environmental sustainability. Culture change and industry restructuring are essential to achieve a green future for artist touring. There is much still to be done, but these results are undeniable evidence that we can take huge strides to reduce emissions and protect ecosystems immediately. There’s no excuse to delay.”

Alan Day, promoter at Kilimanjaro/Action!, comments: “Bring Me The Horizon were the first band in the UK, possibly the world, to complete a full non-rescheduled arena tour after the height of the pandemic. Their vision from the start was to produce the tour as environmentally friendly as possible, whilst still giving the audience the best spectacle achievable. From savings in plastic waste, to transport, to accommodation, to stage production and more, I am proud to have produced such a landmark tour and hopefully an example for the future”.

Steve Sayer, VP & GM of The O2, says: “The O2 were delighted to collaborate with all the other partners on this important project to build back a more sustainable touring and live music industry. Venues are a big part of the live ecosystem and we are keen to learn how we can further reduce our footprint as we develop our plans to get to net zero; and support the tours do the same. Credit to BMTH for taking the lead on this and showing us the way.”

AGF recently announced the first speakers for its 2022 Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI),  the leading gathering for sustainability at live events.

The 14th edition of GEI, in partnership with the International Live Music Conference (ILMC), will take place at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, London on Friday 29 April. Click here for tickets and more information.

 


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GEI unveils first speakers for 2022 edition

The first speakers have been announced for this year’s Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI), the leading gathering for sustainability at live events.

Presented by A Greener Festival (AGF) in partnership with the International Live Music Conference (ILMC), the 14th edition of GEI will take place at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, London on Friday 29 April.

For the first time, an ILMC delegate pass includes full access to this year’s GEI, which takes place during the main conference programme. The event has historically taken place the day before ILMC, but this one-off move will allow all ILMC delegates full access to the whole of GEI.

Speakers will include Chiara Badiali (Julie’s Bicycle), Dale Vince OBE (Ecotricity/Forest Green Rovers) Dr Vincent Walsh (Herblabism/Future of Food), Glenn Lyons (UWE), Holger Jan Schmidt (Yourope), John Drury (OVO Arena Wembley), Kara Djurhuus (Roskilde Festival), Lucy Noble (NAA/Royal Albert Hall), Marie Sabot (We Love Green) and Sangeeta Waldron (Serendipity PR & Media).

“The industry at large has woken up and we’re rapidly getting our house in order”

Key topics will include European co-operation in the live music sector, arenas coming back greener with the AGF Greener Arena certification, travel & transport, sustainable food & beverage (and what they are served in), green energy, plus a direct challenge to fundamental industry frameworks and cultures.

“The industry at large has woken up and we’re rapidly getting our house in order,” says AGF CEO Claire O’Neill. “There’s significant work still to go and GEI 14 will be a place to learn from peers and to share the load. We can now confidently step up to our responsibility to use this powerful global voice to millions of people as a positive tool for societal transformation. Never mind rebuilding the self destructive, exclusive and oppressive old ways. Let’s create something that supports and enhances flourishing life for everyone – or else what’s the point?”

The connection between wellbeing, inclusivity, diversity, equity and environmental sustainability will be a recurring theme throughout the conference, which mixes practical case studies, discussion panels and presentations, and facilitates networking to accelerate change. Each year GEI demonstrates the latest solutions and technologies, as well as challenges to be addressed.

GEI 14 is supported by Ecotricity and Ball Corporation. Click here for tickets and more information.

 


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AGF reveals top green festivals and events of 2021

Environmental nonprofit A Greener Festival (AGF) has announced the recipients of the A Greener Festival Award in 2021.

Launched in 2007, the AGF Awards is the gold standard for festivals and events to reduce their environmental impact.

In the latest round of awards, eight events across five countries have been recognised including Paradise City (Belgium), Elrow Town (Netherlands) and Deep Tropics (US).

Recipients received awards across four categories: outstanding, highly commended, commended and improvers.

The festivals and events were awarded based on a rigorous assessment, site visit and post-event analysis of their sustainability actions, with assessors looking at 11 areas, including transport, waste, power, water and local area impacts.

According to AGF, the standards have been developed over 15 years in consultation with 1000s of events, event services, suppliers and sustainability experts across key areas assessed.

The 2021 AGF Awards will be presented during the Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI 14) and International Live Music Conference (ILMC 34) on Friday 29 April at the Royal Garden Hotel, London.

“We’re impressed by these events that not only took place but also reduced negative environmental impacts”

AGF CEO Claire O’Neill says: “We’re impressed by these events that not only took place in 2021, which was a feat in itself, but also maintained and developed their actions to reduce negative environmental impacts and enhance positive community impacts.

“We’re happy to be able to award this certification. Record numbers of events worldwide have applied for AGF certification in 2022. This shows the appetite and need for genuine action for sustainability, and the expectation from audiences and local authorities alike for events to prove their minimum environmental standards.”

Gilles De Decker, co-founder of Paradise City Festival, adds: “Claiming you are sustainable means taking responsibility. AGF has been auditing Paradise City Festival for several editions now and it is thanks to their valuable feedback and detailed analysis of the ecological footprint of our festival that we can improve year by year. So this recognition as one of the most sustainable festivals worldwide means a lot to our team.”

Joel Atchinson, regenerative design and co-founder, Deep Tropics, comments: “Working in collaboration with the AGF team was incredibly rewarding and expansive! Even with the great success of producing a climate positive event, the depth of their survey and data collection revealed several blindspots of which we are very grateful to have identified. We feel like our team has a clearer roadmap, and a more refined approach to build on into 2022 and beyond!”

A full list of AGF Award winners for 2021 is below:

Paradise City (Belgium)
“Outstanding” A Greener Festival Award 2021

elrow Town (Netherlands)
“Highly Commended” A Greener Festival Award 2021

Cridem pel Clima (Spain)
“Commended” A Greener Festival Award 2021

Deep Tropics (USA)
“Commended” A Greener Festival Awards 2021

Festival de la Luz (Spain)
“Commended” A Greener Festival Award 2021

Lost Village (UK)
“Improvers” A Greener Festival Award 2021

Madblue (Spain)
“Improvers” A Greener Festival Award 2021

South Summit (Spain)
“Improvers” A Greener Event Award 2021

 


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