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GEI 2020: Six key takeaways

Torchbearers for sustainability and AGF directors, Claire O’Neill and Teresa Moore, welcomed the festival and events industry to the 12th Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI). From food waste to transport, audience engagement to sustainable electricity, here are six key takeaways from GEI 12…

1) Panel: Focus on Festivals – Living Lab of Live
In collaboration with Green Deal Circular Festivals, this panel discussed moving from waste to resource and exploring the challenges and advancements of the circular festival vision. How can we control consumer behaviour? How can we wrestle control of the festival supply chain?

Paul Reed broadcast details of the Drastic on Plastic pledge in the second of its three-year timescale and disclosed the wider campsite waste problem. Campsite waste accounts for a much larger sustainability depreciation than plastic cups, mainly through leaving behind tents and other excess waste; experts shared their findings and visionary methods of tackling the problem.

“We know 5–15 times’ reuse of a reusable cup makes it better than any single-use cup” — Claire O’Neill (A Greener Festival)

2) Breakout Session: Innovation Quick Fire Round – Future Flash
Chris Hurdle of Electric Wheels explained the availability and benefits of electric transport. Hurdle dispelled myths and misinformation regarding the electric vehicle revolution.

In addition, Jacob Bossaer of Bosaq shed light on the challenges of water circulation, creating decentralised water networks, sustainable solutions, economic value and conservation.

3) Panel: It’s a Human Story
Moderated by: John Robb (The Membranes)
Speakers: Laima Leyton (Soulwax), Holger Jan Schmidt (Take A Stand), Kerry O’Brien (YUAF), Chiara Badiali (Music Declares Emergency)

This talk explored how to engage and motivate people young and old to make a difference in the climate conversation, covering both social and environmental issues faced on a worldwide scale. Can music relay the sustainability message?

Panellists investigated the potential art and creativity has to facilitate attitude changes across generations, crystallising our roles in creating a sustainable future and supporting the creative sustainability narrative. How can we make the story a human one?

“If you want to eat seasonal and local in London in March you will not eat” — Kate Cooper (Birmingham Food Council)

4) Breakout Session: Saving the World begins at Breakfast
Moderator: Mark Laurie (NCASS)
Speakers: Kate Cooper (Birmingham Food Council), Javier Rojo (Quantum Waste), Mia Frogner (Øyafestivalen)

An exploration of the impact of food and catering on the environment. This discussion covered food waste, food salvaging and food safety. What is organic, seasonal and local food? When there is little profit in locally sourced goods, what are the chances for the sustainability of food production? What is a sensibly use of land for food production? How do we find different ways of fertilising our soils? Is organic food a western indulgence?

Hard talk regarding the future of food sustainability and the perils of our wide-ranging food trends – and a commissioned musical about food crime…

5) A Greener Tour – Round 2!
Moderator: Gordon Masson (IQ Magazine)
Speakers: Coralie Berael (Forest National Arena); Tanner Watt (REVERB); Emma Banks (Creative Artists Agency (CAA); Patricia Yagüe (Live Nation); Rebecca Travis (RT Tour Management)

A frank discussion on artist, promoters, venues, tour managers and production companies’ sustainable actions and initiatives. This panel confronted the issues of single-use plastic and how the industry has pushed back on environmental impact reduction. Additionally, our speakers put the spotlight on audience transportation and the idea of climate positivity, as opposed to carbon neutrality.

“Single-use plastic is going to be banned by 2021” — Patricia Yagüe (Live Nation)

6) Øya Festival: International Greener Festival Award winners!
Øya Festival in Oslo have been pioneers and passionate drivers in the green event space since their dedicated environmental actions began in 2002. This has gradually grown to be an integrated space of management, manifested in sustainable food experiences, a green purchasing policy, fossil-free transportation, emission reductions and sophisticated resource management. The organisational focus draws on experience and competent external partners to achieve pioneering new standards for environmental festival management.

Øya has gained national recognition as a special festival of expertise, and willingly shares experience with other festivals, locally and abroad. In 2004 it contributed to making a festival-specific criterion for the national Eco-lighthouse certification and a guide book to environmental outdoor events, revised in 2017.

Øya was one of the first festivals to speak at GEI back in around 2008, and have been Outstanding award winners in the Greener Festival Awards for over ten years.


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GEI announces full agenda for 2020

The twelfth edition of A Greener Festival’s (AGF) Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI) will look at topics including the sustainability of festivals, eco-friendly touring and social inequalities within the industry.

Representatives from Live Nation, AEG Europe, Extinction Rebellion, Glastonbury Festival and the O2 Arena are speaking at the one-day event, which is taking place alongside the ILMC Production Meeting (IPM) on Tuesday 3 March, the opening day of the International Live Music Conference (ILMC).

Punk legend John Robb of the Membranes is giving the keynote interview with Sebastian Sandys of Extinction Rebellion, before hosting the It’s a Human Story panel to discuss the live industry’s potential for social impact.

The Focus on Festivals panel, presented in collaboration with the International Green Deal, will look at the next steps that festivals need to take to achieve full circularity, with speakers from Lowlands, Cambridge Folk Festival, the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) and Big Green Coach.

A year on from the launch of the Green Artist Rider, IQ Magazine’s Gordon Masson will host A Greener Tour – Round 2, supported by Forum Karlin and Metronome, to explore what is being done to improve the sustainability of touring, with panellists including CAA’s Emma Banks, Live Nation Europe’s head of sustainability Patricia Yagüe and Tanner Watt from Reverb.

“Next [we need] to exchange knowledge and collaborate to allow fundamental changes so the live industry can be a strong positive force”

GEI will share breakout sessions with IPM, looking at the latest development in electricity usage at events, and updates in sustainable trucking in a panel presented by Rick Smith of Rule Out Loud Management and Maarten Arkenbout from the Pieter Smit Group.

The second International AGF Awards will round off the event, celebrating the achievements of the greenest festivals from around the world in a ceremony hosted by AGF co-founders Claire O’Neill and Ben Challis.

“We’re excited for GEI12, because we go way beyond raising awareness to having the full attention of top decision makers, artists, and experts to strategically and systematically reduce the industry’s negative impacts upon the environment,” comments O’Neill.

“Admitting to having a problem is the first step. Next is to exchange knowledge and collaborate to allow fundamental changes so the live industry can be a strong positive force. Due to the steep curve in action this year there has never been so much experience to share and to learn from in the greener event space – so this is going to be a busy and fast-paced agenda, but of course with a lot of fun and inspiration!”

GEI12 is taking place at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, London, supported by Stack-Cup.


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AGF champions eco-friendly events in South America

Live industry sustainability specialist A Greener Festival (AGF) recently teamed up with members of the Latin America music business to discuss how to reduce waste at live events.

Along with South American electronic music promoter Buenas Noches Producciones (BNP), eco-friendly organisation Bye Bye Plastic, which is run by DJ Blond:ish, and local environmental movement Voluntad Verde, AGF led an open, public discussion on how the electronic music industry can help tackle climate change and reduce waste generation – particularly plastics.

The session, which took place on 21 November in the Argentinian city of Córdoba, opened with a statement from BNP detailing the commitment of the electronic music scene to help fight climate change, via its ‘Dance and Recycle’ and ‘Respect’ campaigns. BNP also underwent a complete AGF-conducted Sustainability Assessment.

The free-to-attend event was directed towards attendees of BNP events, as the promoter looks to increase sustainability in the future.

“We are committed to leading the change in our local scene and strongly believe that consistency and continuity will get us there”

“We have been working hard to bring respect to the core of all elements of our events for years, including respect for our environment, our health, our peers, for everything,” comments Ivan Aballay, CEO and founder of Buenas Noches Producciones.

“We are committed to leading the change in our local scene and strongly believe that consistency and continuity will get us there. This powerful initiative, which brought together artists, staff and the local community, is just beginning. We have a lot more hard work ahead.”

A Greener Festival’s Claire O’Neill adds that: “So often the discussion around sustainability is about limitation and lack. What we love about this inspiring collaboration is that it amplifies and enhances our combined energy to make a positive difference beyond the dancefloor.

“If the whole music industry took actions such as these surrounding gigs, the environmental benefits would be phenomenal.”

AGF is presenting the Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI) in partnership with the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) on 3 March in London. Tickets for GEI 2020 are available here.


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Last chance for GEI 2020 early-bird tickets

Early bird tickets for the Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI) 2020 will no longer be available after today, Monday 30 September.

The twelfth edition of GEI will return to the International Live Music Conference on Tuesday 3 March 2020, presented by A Greener Festival.

The final few early bird tickets are still available for GEI 2020 at a rate of £96, with standard prices coming into effect from tomorrow.

Each year, the event welcomes over 200 live music professionals to discuss sustainability at live events.

Topics discussed at last year’s GEI included ethical merchandise options, environmentally friendly food at festivals, the effect of Brexit on sustainability efforts and the environmental impact of touring.

GEI 2019 also saw the inaugural international edition of the AGF Awards and the launch of Coda (now Paradigm) Agency’s Green Artist Rider initiative.

Buy tickets here for GEI 2020 before 1 October to profit from early bird rates.

The 32nd edition of the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) will take place in London from 3 to 6 March.


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Green Events & Innovations Conference returns for 2020

The 12th edition of the Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI), the conference for sustainability at live events, is open for registration.

Next year’s conference, run by A Greener Festival in partnership with the International Live Music Conference (ILMC), will take place on Tuesday 3 March 2020 at the Royal Garden Hotel in London, the day before ILMC. GEI12 will mark the second year in a larger conference space shared with the ILMC Production Meeting (IPM), after moving this year following 2018’s sell-out and amid increased interest in environmental issues.

Topics confirmed for the 2020 agenda include water and sanitation innovation, transport of the future, audience behaviour and campsite waste, ‘venues and arenas: small/medium and mega! What’s now and next’, ‘green, clean and lean energy – from remote locations to inner-city sites’, ‘the true cost of catering’ and ‘doctor’s circularity surgery: what is this stuff and where can I stick it?’.

Topics include water and sanitation, transport and the true cost of catering

Also returning are the International AGF Awards and the ever-popular GEI/IPM networking drinks.

The full GEI12 agenda along with keynote speaker, chairs and panellists, will be published in the coming months.

Limited earlybird tickets for GEI12 are on sale now, priced at the discounted rate of £80 + VAT.

Read the highlights of this year’s GEI11 conference here.


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