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The heat is on: extreme weather and live music

How the industry can best cope with the increasing number of extreme weather events impacting festivals and open-air events was a major topic of conversation during this month’s ILMC in London.

Presented by GEI, The Heat Is On: Extreme Weather & Live Music session was chaired by veteran tour and production manager Jamal Chalabi of A Greener Future and included a presentation from Met Office meteorologist Prof Richard Betts on changing climate patterns.

The debate also featured May Ling of Australia’s Chugg Entertainment and freelance festival security and safety consultant Alexandra Von Samson, as well as Wacken Open Air co-founder Thomas Jensen.

“I do find it quite amazing in this industry that we still think we have a choice to deal with climate change, we clearly don’t have a choice,” said Chalabi, who gave a sample of events around the globe to have been hit by the elements over the past 12 months.

The list included Primavera Sound Madrid, Awakenings in the Netherlands, Slovenia’s MetalDays, the UK’s Kaleidoscope, shows by Louis Tomlinson show and Ed Sheeran in the US, Burning Man, Taylor Swift in Brazil, Elton John in New Zealand and Wacken Open Air in Germany.

“We’d had bad weather in the past, but last year was kind of different”

Jensen recalled Wacken’s near-catastrophic weather-related struggles last summer, which saw the festival proceed at reduced capacity after the site was hit by rain and thunderstorms in the days leading up to it, leaving the camping areas “impassable”.

“We’d had bad weather in the past, but last year was kind of different,” said Jensen. “There was a long dry period, leading up to the festival from mid June until early July, right when we started to set up the production. And then it started to rain, up to when the fans were arriving.

“The whole traffic system basically collapsed. It got really dramatic. Everything got stuck.”

Around 30,000 ticket-holders were subsequently denied entry after organisers allowed no further admission due to the adverse conditions.

“In over 30 years, it was the hardest decision I ever had to make,” said Jensen. “We’re in the music industry and timing is is crucial, and so we made the decision to have an ingress stop, which was very hard. At the end of the day, it’s debatable: could we have let a couple of more people in or not? Had we been strict enough? But I think, in principle, it was the right decision.”

“Thirty years ago, it was mostly the rain, but it’s now changed to raining one second and being 35 or 40°C suddenly after that”

He added: “We always say the ones that stayed home made the festival possible, at the end of the day, and they saved the insurance companies a lot of money. They made it possible for the other two-thirds to have a party. That’s why we’re extremely grateful.”

The Diplomat reported last week that more than 40 Australian music festivals have been cancelled, postponed, or evacuated due to heat, fires, rain or floods over the past decade, with more than 20 such incidents occurring in 2022 alone, amid record rainfall in the eastern states.

Ling told the session that extreme weather “has always been a part of what we have to deal with” in the region.

“Thirty years ago, it was mostly the rain, but it’s now changed to raining one second and being 35 or 40°C suddenly after that,” she said. “Even if we prepare for everything, you still can’t really control that.

“One thing we always did was have a meteorologist on site at our big outdoor shows. We also had the fire department in extreme heat conditions, and would have them hose the front of the crowd because those kids couldn’t get out to get water. You can give away as much free water as as you want, but those kids are not losing their spot before Guns N’ Roses comes on stage.”

“A 100% safe event is not existing in this world”

She continued: “Another huge safety concern that people forget about and it’s that everybody at the front of the stage can get electrocuted if a flash flood happens, and  you have to know when to pull the plug basically so that all these kids don’t get electrocuted.”

Von Samson recommended the business should learn from each other, adding that communication is crucial at all levels.

“It’s great if you have your plans, but it’s not so great if not everyone knows about them – and I’m including audience in that as well,” she said. “Make them aware they are part of the festival. I strongly believe in informing them as much as much as you can to keep them self-aware and empowered.

“You don’t want to be the festival or the promoter where something really bad happens. No one wants that, so you have to set up risk assessments. A 100% safe event is not existing in this world.”

Offering her final thoughts, Ling said battling the increasingly unpredictable conditions was a fact of life as an outdoor event organiser – but employing the right people behind the scenes is still paramount.

“We’re all about adaption – that’s why this industry can adapt quickly to this situation and be a leading light to change”

“As best you can prepare, when when an emergency happens, you just have to have good people that are safety conscious, know what they’re doing and act quickly, and they keep the crowd and the bands safe. Weather is a thing that is not going away, no matter what extremes it goes to. And as an outdoor event person, you have to deal with it.”

Betts called upon the music industry to lead the way in taking steps to help combat the climate crisis.

“The live music sector can play a really important role in setting an example about how to live with the weather we’ve made more extreme, but also stopping it getting more extreme, and stopping climate change by being more sustainable in the industry,” he said.

Chalabi brought proceedings to a close on a similarly positive note.

“Our community in the music industry, we’re the best,” he said. “We’re all about adaption – that’s why this industry can adapt quickly to this situation and be a leading light to change.”


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GEI16: Brian Eno & Jarvis Cocker keynote report

Music legends Brian Eno and Jarvis Cocker united for a special keynote session to close yesterday’s Green Events and Innovations conference (GEI16).

The hour-long discussion at London’s Royal Lancaster Hotel was chaired by Cathy Runciman of EarthPercent — a charity dedicated to linking the music industry to some of the most impactful organisations addressing the climate emergency.

Renowned producer and EarthPercent founder Eno previously headlined the event, which is organised by A Greener Future in partnership with ILMC, alongside Norwegian popstar Aurora and Grammy Award-winning artist and multi-instrumentalist Jacob Collier.

Eno shared the stage with Pulp frontman Cocker to sound off on the importance of a healthy planet, with the latter gracing the audience with a visual exploration of his “Biophobia”. Here is a selection of highlights from the conversation…

Balancing activism with artistry…
Brian Eno: “I didn’t suddenly want to give up being an artist to solely become a climate campaigner. But I thought, ‘Why don’t I just carry on being an artist, make the money I can make, and give it to the people who are doing the work?’ I’m good at making things and I get paid well for it. They want to make something important too… in this case, they want to save the planet. So, why don’t I just support them?

“There’s a lovely Venn diagram about the Japanese word ‘ikagai’, and it’s how you decide what you’re going to do in your life. The diagram has four circles that intersect and they are: what I love doing, what I can get paid for, what the world needs, and what I’m good at. The intersection of these four things, if you can do it, is your sweet spot. That’s what you ought to be doing.”

“You cannot help being a hypocrite in a system in which you’re entangled”

The fear of hypocrisy…
BE: “Hug your hypocrisy [laughs]. You cannot help being a hypocrite in a system in which you’re entangled. You could say, ‘I’m a real purist, I’m not going anywhere or doing anything because it will involve taking a bus or a train or in some way wearing clothes that have been made somewhere that have been transported via a system that we’re trying to change.’ To some extent, we’re going to be compromised by it, and will hopefully be less compromised as we change. I gave up flying many years ago, and I’ve successfully not flown except twice over the last eight years. It was really hard to do, but it was possible because I don’t tour and because I don’t have any relatives [laughs]!

“However, I understand that it’s not a choice everybody can make. What I recommend is to just do it a little bit better, but don’t do it too often. If you have to go to America, for example, put together as many meetings as possible to avoid repeat flights. It’s such a Daily Mail thing to target someone and make a big story about them after they’ve been photographed with bags of shopping and getting into a car after they’ve complained about fossil fuels. It’s not an important criticism.”

The “difficulty” of making the climate justice movement more inclusive…
BE: “In America, there are over 450,000 different environmental groups. Some may belong to two or three of them, but it’s unlikely that one person will belong to a thousand of them. So there are billions of people just in North America who are somehow grappling with this, and they either may be small groups trying to save a local lake, or a larger group like Friends of the Earth. But the facts are that there are millions, if not billions, of people who are in some way engaged with trying to tackle this important issue. Why don’t we ever hear back from each other?

“In terms of numbers, we significantly outnumber the likes of those climate change deniers over at 55 Tufton Street. Trouble is, we don’t know about each other. There’s a book by American anthropologist Alexei Yurchak called Everything Was Forever Until It Was No More, which is about the collapse of the Soviet Union and the amazingness of being in a system that seemed to be absolutely fixed, set, unchangeable, which suddenly disappeared overnight. And I think this could happen here. I think we could reach a tipping point where everybody realises, ‘Hey, we’re part of this movement!’

“In Yurchak’s book, he says revolutions happen in two phases: the first is when everybody realises that things aren’t working right, and the second is where everybody realises that everybody else realises it. And that’s a critical point, where there’s a sudden coalescence. Everybody is fighting the same fight, so we have to get into that frame of mind. We are the majority, and we have the power. We just have to come together and make use of it.”

“More people were becoming scared of nature, and many of them seemed to believe that nature was turning against mankind”

Being a “biophilic”…
Jarvis Cocker: “I suffer from biophobia, which means I’m frightened of nature. I was probably born in this condition. But having been born in Sheffield, I didn’t become aware of it until later in my life.

“I first realised that this condition was a problem for me when my now ex-wife glued together pages of Mary Motley Kalergis’ illustrated book Giving Birth because I would feel faint at the most explicit images of women giving birth. Before she gave birth to our son, I was seriously worried about passing out or throwing up, but when it actually happened, I was supportive of her and even cut the umbilical cord. I realised at that moment that perhaps biophobia was something I could lose over time if I was prepared to work for it.”

His trip to the North Pole in 2008…
JC: “I went with a small group of fellow artists to the North Pole because we had come to see small icebergs. We were passengers on a voyage around Greenland organised by Cape Farewell, an organisation that took both scientists and artists to polar regions to investigate and react to something which was called climate change. The term was new to me at that point, and it seemed like a more widespread form of biophobia to me. More people were becoming scared of nature, and many of them seemed to believe that nature was turning against mankind.

“We sailed the Arctic Ocean for two weeks, and visited various sites in Greenland. On the very last day, we sailed through a channel to get back to the port we left from a fortnight earlier. I was standing alone at the deck of the ship, and I was looking at this landscape. Suddenly, out of the blue, I started crying. And for the past 15 years, I’ve been trying to find out why that was.”

The myth of a “technological fix”…
JC: “There seems to be a worrying tendency for people to solve the problem of mankind’s effects on the environment by meddling some more. Not very logical. Let me show you this small book called Salmon: A Red Herring, written by the artist duo Cooking Sections which consists of Daniel Fernández Pascual and Alon Schwabe. This book examines the detrimental effects of salmon farming on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, and it’s a very good example of what happens when man tries to play God.

“Here’s an extract: when chemicals are ineffective, salmon are splashed with boiling water over short periods of time to remove the lice caused by intensive farming. This is an imprecise method. In 2016 over 175,000 Scottish salmon were boiled alive during a not uncommon accident. Here’s another one: under the weight of accelerated growth, spines curve, tails shorten, and jaws bend. More than 90% of farmed fish are deformed. How much faith does that give you in a technological fix for climate change?”


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GEI 16: Speakers and sessions unveiled

Speakers, sessions, exclusive research projects and case studies have been announced for the forthcoming edition of the Green Events & Innovations (GEI) conference.

The leading conference for sustainability in the events sector takes place on 27 February at London’s Royal Lancaster Hotel as part of ILMC (the International Live Music Conference).

This year’s event will present the results of two exclusive research projects. The first, Accessibility and Sustainability at Festivals, will feature a unique partnership between AGF, Attitude is Everything, and Julie’s Bicycle. Farah Ahmed (Julie’s Bicycle) and Dr Teresa Moore (AGF) will introduce a toolkit that explores how disabled people’s access to music and live events can be environmentally sustainable.

This will be followed by a discussion featuring Mystery Jets singer and Attitude is Everything patron Blaine Harrison, Feimatta Conteh (Arts Council England), Harry Jones (Accessible Events Ltd), and is chaired by Tori Tsui.

The second session, Influencing Audiences Beyond the Festival, focuses on the influence of green festivals and is based on AGF research undertaken with award-winning UK festival Green Gathering. AGF’s Dr Teresa Moore and Green Gathering’s Em Weirdigan will discuss the findings of the research and how green festivals can positively influence audience attitudes and behaviours beyond the event itself.

Following on from last year’s panel, AEME (Association of Event Management Educators), GEI has again invited the association to bring together a panel of academics to discuss the demand for sustainability skills across the industry in Supporting sustainable employability skills for current and future generations of festival and events managers.

The results of the world’s first carbon-removed gig, featuring The 1975, will be discussed at GEI

In Presenting Ecosystem Collapse – Sponsored by Oil and Gas, Sangeeta Waldron (Serendipity PR) welcomes Luke Howell (Hope Solutions, fellow of IEMA, chartered environmentalist, and strategic sustainability lead for Coldplay and Glastonbury Festival) to discuss with Ed Collins (InfluenceMap) the issue of sponsorship and sustainability.

While Carol Scott (TAIT) and chair of LIVE Green welcomes a panel including Ross Patel (Whole Entertainment, Music Manager Forum) to explore how green clauses can become an integral part of standard industry contracts, and ways of doing business in the next step beyond Green Riders in Contracts for Climate.

In the week before GEI, The O2 will host the world’s first carbon-removed gig, featuring The 1975 in partnership with AGF and carbon-removal experts CUR8. The results of this event will be discussed in The World’s First Carbon-Removed Gig, which features Sam Booth (AEG Europe), Mark Stevenson (CUR8), and AGF’s Claire O’Neill.

Elsewhere in the agenda, acclaimed rapper, musician, nature filmmaker/presenter, zoologist, and activist Louis VI will deliver an impassioned speech in Nature Ain’t A Luxury. Louis VI will be joined by folksinger, activist, and Mercury Music prize nominee Sam Lee to explore the links between music, biodiversity and politics.

Extreme Weather Events: Adapting to the New Climate will highlight the ever-increasing issue of extreme weather events brought about by climate change and will feature the representatives of some of the events that were hit by extreme weather during the festival season of 2023, Yungblud and Massive Attack Tour Manager Jamal Chalabi (AGF / Backlash Productions), alongside Professor Richard Betts (Met Office, University of Exeter).

Returning for 2024 is the ever-popular Quick-Fire Innovation Round, hosted by Abena Fairweather (Legacy Marketplace), which brings the latest ideas and technologies driving sustainability in unique ways. Innovations include everything from blockchain for food traceability, recycled speakers, to biodegradable cable ties and much more.

More info and tickets here.


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Sustainability heads name top priority for live in 2023

Tomorrow (22 April) is the 74th Earth Day, an annual event to raise awareness of environmental issues. To mark the occasion, IQ asked leaders from AGF, Yourope, Shambala and CUR8 Carbon Removals where the live music industry’s focus should be in 2023, to make the business a greener place. With more sustainability guidance for venues, festivals and tours available than ever before, the executives had one resounding answer for them: develop an action plan now…and stick to it.

Claire O’Neill, co-founder of A Greener Festival (AGF) and organiser of the Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI):
“The music industry’s focus should be to stop wasting energy, switching to renewable sources and to stop burning fossil fuels. This needs to be done internally through procurements and through serious measures and engagement for reducing audience travel emissions.

“We’re spending far too much on unnecessarily burning fuel inefficiently. For those with energy tariffs that don’t directly fund new renewables, we’re funding the continuation of oil and gas ‘business as usual’ and increasing CO2 emissions, which will ultimately destroy the industry (and more) if not curtailed. If avoiding climate change and ecosystem collapse is not already a top priority with a plan for reduction of emissions, and removals of what can’t be avoided, that needs to happen now. A quick, easy and free change that can start straight away is to switch to plant-based food to protect biodiversity and reduce global emissions.

“We’ve been working for nearly two decades on this topic, with numerous forerunners who have seen the writing on the wall. Don’t be an organisation that got left behind. Time left to snooze has run out.”

Mark Stevenson, co-founder and chief impact officer of CUR8 Carbon Removals:
“There is no right answer but for my money, it’s creating genuine net-zero (as in carbon-removed) venues and stages for artists to walk on to and (if they want) excite their audiences to climate action – which is exactly what Claire and I (as chief impact officer at CUR8 carbon removals) and AEG/O2 are working on right now – do watch this space!”

“Create a genuine net-zero (as in carbon-removed) venues and stages for artists to walk on to and excite your audiences to climate action”

Chris Johnson, co-founder, festival director and sustainability ‘guru’ for the UK’s Shambala Festival:
“There are many great organisations and a lot of good information available to help organisations on their sustainability journey. We also have a North Star in the LIVE Green Vision and Declaration. Local Authorities across the UK are already starting to create standards and expectations for live events, often based on their net zero commitments. What’s needed next is a clear understanding of best practice in practical terms, so that all stakeholders are clear about what minimum standards look like, leading to consistency nationally and clarity of what actions to take for people and the planet. We have the opportunity to lead internationally!”

“What’s needed next is a clear understanding of best practice in practical terms, so it’s clear about what minimum standards look like”

Holger Schmidt, general secretary of the European festival association Yourope:
“After the recently published IPCC report made it clear to us once again that rapid and far-reaching action is essential, there is actually no other way for festivals and event organisers than to finally develop appropriate action plans and stick to them. In the next few days, YOUROPE will publish an important tool for this with the European Green Festival Roadmap 2030, which fits perfectly with the Future Festival Tools we co-created for sustainable capacity building in our sector. So if it hasn’t happened yet, 2023 is the year when everyone understands that it is our duty. And by everyone, I don’t just mean sustainability managers, I mean the entire teams, the artists, venues, suppliers and audience.”

Though the live music business has ample room for improvement when it comes to sustainability, work in the field is gathering pace. This week, Lollapalooza Berlin became the first festival in Germany to be awarded sustainability accreditation according to international standards (DIN ISO 20121 certification). Elsewhere, Glasgow’s OVO Hydro has teamed up with climate change charity Music Declares Emergency to help launch its new Fan Club for Climate Change initiative ahead of Earth Day and AEG Presents is to produce the inaugural date of the newly announced Right Here, Right Now Mini Global Climate Concert Series.


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Brian Eno, Jacob Collier lined up for GEI keynote

The 15th edition of the Green Events and Innovations Conference will welcome back Brian Eno for a keynote conversation with Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jacob Collier.

Titled Music as a Social Synchroniser, the conversation will see the artists explore the social function of music and how it changes us, how it offers us a local counterpoint to the big things happening in the world and why it is so important in a community.

The keynote will also address “the whole question of where music comes from, and how it arises not just from the minds of individuals, but from whole societies, traditions and living ecosystems, is a way to also connect it to the big question of the climate crisis and music’s response to it”.

Eno is a renowned musician, producer, visual artist and activist who first came to international prominence in the early seventies as a founding member of British band, Roxy Music, followed by a series of solo albums and collaborations. He interviewed Norwegian popstar Aurora for GEI’s 2022 keynote.

The keynote will also address “the whole question of where music comes from”

Collier, meanwhile, is a five-time Grammy-award-winning artist that has been featured on songs by UK music icons like Coldplay and Stormzy, and American R&B superstars such as SZA, Kehlani, and Alicia Keys.

In his own projects, Collier has worked with a diverse cast of artistic powerhouses, from Malian singer Oumou Sangaré to John Mayer, T-Pain, Ty Dolla $ign, Daniel Caesar, Tori Kelly and Mahalia.

He has also helped Oscar-winner Hans Zimmer score the recent Boss Baby films and has written for a forthcoming West End musical on the life of opera singer Luciano Pavarotti.

Eno and Collier join a first round of speakers for GEI 15 that includes Dale Vince (Ecotricity), Rosanna Machado, Mark Stevenson (CUR8), Zed Anwar and Andy Cato (Wildfarmed, Groove Armada).

GEI is A Greener Festival’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.

The leading gathering for sustainability at live events will take place on 28 February 2023. For more information on the conference, or to purchase tickets, click here.


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GEI 14: Brian Eno preaches climate ‘opportunity’

A keynote interview with Brian Eno and Aurora was one of the highlights of the 14th Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI), the leading gathering for sustainability at live events.

The duo sat down with host Love Ssega to discuss ‘Directing the energy of music for the benefit of the planet’ to close this year’s GEI at the Royal Garden Hotel, London last Friday (29 April).

A renowned musician, producer, visual artist and activist, Eno praised Coldplay’s efforts to cut their carbon footprint on their current groundbreaking eco-friendly stadium tour.

“The biggest carbon footprint of touring is generally getting the audience to the shows,” said Eno. “It isn’t getting the band and the equipment to the shows, it’s the audiences. If you’ve got 100,000 people coming to a show and they’re travelling an average of say 30 or 40 miles, that’s a huge huge number of vehicles.

“So Coldplay, for example, are now trying to set up systems where they set up a coach service. And in fact, it sounds a lot more fun to me to be in a coach with 30 or 40 other people going to the same show.”

“I’ve now started thinking in terms of the climate opportunity, rather than the climate emergency”

Eno recently founded Earth Percent, a charity providing a simple way for the music industry to support impactful organisations addressing the climate emergency, and spoke of his desire to tell a “second story” on the issue.

“We all know the first story: we’re on course for disaster,” he said. “The apocalypse is just around the corner and so on. But I’ve now started thinking in terms of the climate opportunity, rather than the climate emergency, because if you think about all the things we would have to do to save the planet… we have to change the way we do all sorts of things. And then when you think about that, you think that would be a much better world anyway.

“It’s not just about trying to save what we have. It’s about trying to make something new with this huge prompt that says, ‘We’ve got to change.’ And if we succeed, we’ll end up in a better place in a better place than we ever imagined.

“The invitation is not just to fight back like the resistance, against this huge force that is coming at us, but to sidestep it and say, ‘We’ll just build a new future.’ And I think this is happening already.”

“As things start to disappear from culture, people suddenly realise that they’re valuable”

Eno pinpointed the expression, “The best is the enemy of the good,” for its growing pertinence to the matter at hand.

“What I see happening a lot is people saying, ‘Well, I can’t do this thing that would be the ideal, so I won’t do anything.’ That is really not an option,” he said. “There is going to be a continuous, endless set of choices and negotiations where we try to prevent another 0.1% temperature rise. And we will do that because we will soon start to realise what happens if we don’t.

“One of the things that always happens as things start to disappear from culture, is that people suddenly realise that they’re valuable… So I’m hoping that because of the good side of mass media, we might actually be a little bit further ahead of the game this time.

“A heroic figure in this is David Attenborough – nobody has been more effective in making people fall in love with the planet than he has, and I think that’s what it takes for people to realise that this is the place to direct their love. I’m an atheist, but if I were going to pray to anything, it would be this place.”

“We have forgotten how to coexist and make room for everything else but ourselves, which is very sad”

Norwegian pop breakthrough Aurora said: “Apathy is the enemy of progress” and shared the relevance of her single The Woman I Am and LP The Gods We Can Touch, released in January.

“This whole album and song… is very in tune with what we’re here to talk about today: how humankind has changed through times and how the way we perceive each other and the earth, and the way we handle it… and how our touch and connection with nature that used to be so obvious in the past, has become less and less prominent within us,” she said.

“I was just wondering why this had happened, why we’d forgot to live organically as a coexisting thing, because we have forgotten how to coexist and make room for everything else but ourselves, which is very sad. I’m constantly moving in between, ‘Every small change matters,’ but also that, sometimes, small change isn’t enough when you know there’s so much we can do.”

The connection between wellbeing, inclusivity, diversity, equity and environmental sustainability was a recurring theme throughout GEI, which was presented by A Greener Festival (AGF) in partnership with the International Live Music Conference (ILMC).

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 also appeared at the first green events industry physical get-together in over two years.


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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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Nile Rodgers, Brian Eno and more back climate charities

A number of world-renowned artists have lent their support to the industry’s leading climate change charities.

To mark last week’s Earth Day (22 April), more than 100 artists including Nile Rodgers, Coldplay and Metronomy released exclusive tracks on Bandcamp, with proceeds going to Brian Eno’s climate change charity, EarthPercent.

Both Eno and Rodgers are due to appear at this week’s International Live Music Conference (ILMC), with the former participating in a keynote conversation at the Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI) and the latter to be interviewed by former Dire Straits manager Ed Bicknell.

Eno says EarthPercent’s Earth Day campaign on Bandcamp “brings artists together to offer exclusive tracks to their fans, to be sold on behalf of climate justice and environmental protection organisations. This is what unleashing the power of music in service of the planet looks like”.

The proceeds from each track will go towards EarthPercent’s five core areas of work: greening music, energy transition, climate justice, legal and policy change, and protecting nature.

“This is what unleashing the power of music in service of the planet looks like”

Alongside EarthPercent, Eno has also supported the launch of Music Declares Emergency‘s new US chapter, along with Billie Eilish, Bon Iver and Arcade Fire.

Music Declares Emergency (MDE), a group dedicated to guiding the music industry’s response to the global climate and ecological emergency, is also backed by The 1975, Major Lazer, The Pretenders, Annie Lennox, Tom Morello and Tom Odell.

Initially started in the UK in 2019, MDE is now also operational in France, Germany, Switzerland, Chile and Canada. It’s gathered over 6,000 signatures from across the music industry on a declaration that calls for an immediate governmental response to do more to combat climate change.

A statement said: “Now, more than ever is the time for the United States to loudly and proactively join the rally to curb and reverse greenhouse gas emissions.

“The climate crisis is the greatest challenge of our time, and the power of music should take its place at the forefront of this important movement to create a safer, fairer, more sustainable world. The climate crisis is about science, not politics. There is #NOMUSICONADEADPLANET.”


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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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Agenda revealed for ILMC’s in-person return

The agenda has been announced for the in-person return of ILMC, the international live music industry’s principal annual gathering, which is set for London’s Royal Garden Hotel from 26-29 April.

ILMC 34 highlights include an exploration of the post-pandemic business with Phil Bowdery (Live Nation) and Maria May (CAA); a conversation with Marie Lindqvist (ASM Global) and Olivier Toth (Rockhal/EAA) on the challenges of reopening venues and encouraging fans back; and an examination of cross-European borders one year on from Brexit, chaired by James Wright (UTA).

This year’s event will also see the return of ILMC’s popular Dragons’ Den sessions, featuring Alex Hardee (Paradigm), John Giddings (Solo), Barry Dickins (ITB) and Leon Ramakers (Mojo). Other topics to be discussed include festivals, ticketing, new venue builds, supply chain and recruitment, the metaverse & NFTs, diversity, external investment in the business, booking agencies, government relations, new technology and live events insurance.

“This year’s ILMC programme is probably the most packed and varied we’ve ever put together”

“No matter where you are in the world, the live music industry is contending with more than ever,” says ILMC head Greg Parmley. “That’s why this year’s ILMC programme is probably the most packed and varied we’ve ever put together – and why this year’s conference is a must attend event for all those working in our sector. It’ll be great to see everyone in person for the first time in a long time. There’s going to be plenty to talk about.”

Several unique ILMC 34 keynotes are also set to be announced shortly, while there will also be a whole day of panels, workshops and presentations on the environment during the Green Events & Innovations conference (GEI) – the leading platform for sustainability at live events. This year, GEI takes place within ILMC itself, making it free to all delegates. The full programme for GEI will be announced in the coming days.

The ILMC Production Meeting (IPM) will be held on Tuesday 26 April. IPM is expanding its programming in 2022 to include a day-long tranche of sessions by the Event Safety & Security Summit (E3S).

Full information about the conference including schedule, events and partners is at 34.ilmc.com


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