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Green Guardians: Event infrastructure pioneers

The Green Guardians Guide, spearheaded by the Green Events and Innovations Conference and IQ Magazine, will be compiled each year to highlight some of the work being done around the world to reduce the carbon footprint of the live entertainment business.

To identify the companies, organisations and individuals that are pioneering sustainability measures, a Green Guardians committee has been established, including representatives of some of the sector’s most respected bodies, including A Greener Festival, Go Group, Greener Events Foundation, Green Events Netherlands, Green Music Initiative, Julie’s Bicycle, Réseau des Femmes en Environnement (The women in environment network) and Vision:2025.

This inaugural list features 60 entries across ten categories, and we would like to congratulate all those featured for making this year’s guide. As well as thanking everyone involved for the hard work they are putting in to making the world a cleaner and better place. The goal next year is to feature 100 Green Guardians and establish this as an annual guide for anyone that is looking for partners to address sustainability matters and, ideally, help to make the live events industry carbon neutral.

IQ will publish entries across all categories over the coming weeks. Up first, are sustainailbity pioneers from the event infrastructure sector.


Event Infrastructure

Located at the centre of Montreal’s Cité des arts du cirque, the 1,200-capacity TOHU is a place where dissemination, creation, and experimentation converge with culture, environment and community involvement. Since its 2004 inception, it has become an example of sustainable development through culture.

TOHU’s 360-degree circular hall is in the purest circus tradition and plays a major role in the incredible growth of Quebec circus, which it places at the top of the bill, thanks to its dedicated venue and festival.

TOHU’s Pavilion is green not only in spirit, but in body, too. It was been awarded LEED GOLD (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) – a programme that imposes the strictest environmental standards, not only during construction but also in the management of the completed building.

Among the many measures TOHU can boast are passive geothermal power, an ice bunker, biogas heating, natural/hybrid ventilation, recycled architecture, green roofs, a naturalised basin, and even a vegetable garden and beehives.

Since its 2004 inception, TOHU has become an example of sustainable development through culture

Passareco offers soil protection solutions that make it possible to use nature while also protecting it: whether parking lot infrastructure, hiking or bike trails – Passareco helps customers reconcile the different usage requirements.

Climate protection is central to Passareco and as a result it sources wood from regional sawmills and uses 100% green electricity. The company’s all-encompassing approach to sustainability means it is incredibly careful in choosing its partners, and it promotes like-minded organisations such as tent rental company Tent in Time, social company Syphon AG (which produces floor-protection panels), landscapers Biel-Seeland, and a variety of social enterprise operations that variously provide skills training to unemployed and disabled adults.

Passareco also champions ESB’s Biel/Bienne green electricity product, which is Naturemade Star-certified – produced in the Biel city area through a combination of electricity from the Taubenloch Gorge and power from solar roofs.

Passareco offers soil protection solutions that make it possible to use nature while also protecting it

NNNN was created to target the audio market with a disruptive solution and mindset, combining acoustic quality with sustainability. The company’s patents enable it to do with sound what LED did with light, and it has succeeded in designing speaker solutions that reduce energy consumption by up to 90%, compared to leading premium brands.

Transportation is one of the largest contributors of CO2 emissions, so NNNN is setting up a local manufacturer in the US to cover the North American market, while manufacturing in Norway will cover the European market.

NNNN’s speakers are made of sustainable Nordic spruce and are manufactured without toxic substances such as beryllium. Manufacturing in Norway is done with 100% hydroelectric power, which has no CO2 footprint. The company says its search for better solutions for the environment has only just begun.

NNNN was created to combine acoustic quality with sustainability

FGH Security
Although its mission statement is “Keeping People Safe,” environmental issues have always been on the agenda for FGH Security. The company was an early adopter of the #DrasticOnPlastic campaign and saves 100,000 cups and bottles from going to landfill every year, simply by issuing 500 mugs and 500 sports bottles to its team.

FGH has been carbon-neutral for a number of years and as part of its ISO 14001 certification, it calculates all the carbon it has produced (travel Co2, paper, electric, etc.) and plants four trees for every ton. The FGH team is also working on a plan to build an office from sustainable materials, complete with solar panels, vegetable gardens and a gym that produces electricity.

Boss Peter Harrison tells IQ, “Most of the things we have done – electric cars, a paperless office, #DrasticOnPlastic – are actually cost-neutral, so doing good does not need to cost a lot. It just needs the will, tenacity and some thinking outside the box.”

Although its mission statement is “Keeping People Safe,” environmental issues have always been on the agenda for FGH Security

Continest is an innovative, foldable container solution especially developed for relatively short-period usage anywhere there is a need for temporary accommodation, office/meeting rooms, first aid, command posts, storage, service areas, and cooling and heating purposes. The containers are uniquely developed for easy and quick set up and transport, thus being environmentally friendly. The solution offers an 80% cost cut on logistic and storage costs, and a similar reduction of CO2 and GHG emissions.

In the next 12 months, three main innovations will be rolled out: the CN20 Solar 20-foot, foldable container; connectable Wet Cell units; and the bullet and blast proof foldable version.

Continest aims to succeed in the event market segment as well as providing innovative solutions to the defense industry.

The company claims to be the world’s first signage specialist that only deals with sustainable materials

The Sustainable Signage Co.
With its plastics-free signage solutions, The Sustainable Signage Co. is a forward-thinking, can-do operation, whose focus is to help companies and individuals reduce the amount of plastic-containing materials that are currently being used in the signage industry. It does this by offering sustainable alternatives that are as good, if not better, than current plastic signs used, while also helping to minimise the amount of plastic entering landfill every day.

The company claims to be the world’s first signage specialist that only deals with sustainable materials that can meet the demand of internal and external signage in small and large quantities. Its products have been scrutinised and accredited by A Plastic Planet and it says it is the only signage company to have been accredited with this certification mark.

Located in the West Midlands, UK, the company has both UK and international clients, and even before the Covid-19 pandemic, it was encouraging the use of Skype or Facetime to reduce carbon footprint whenever possible.

Water scarcity is a very real concern for organisers

Water scarcity is a very real concern for organisers because events cannot take place without a guaranteed supply of freshwater and wastewater supply for sewerage maintenance.

SANI solutions has developed water-saving sanitary vacuum products for the event sector, including vacuum toilets, showers and urinals.

SANI’s products require less water and less power, meaning that emissions from wastewater transport and power consumption are reduced in comparison to traditional festival toilets. There is a lower faecal load of wastewater compared to portable toilets and the wastewater left is more resource efficient to clarify in sewage treatment plants compared to portable toilet wastewater.

The company says that it can save: up to 80% in wastewater transport costs compared to conventional flush toilets; up to 30% in energy costs through more efficient units, distributors, etc; and up to 50% in storage costs for wastewater and freshwater. In 2019, SANI worked with Rock am Ring to install vacuum toilets, showers, washing units, urinals and toilets with wheelchair accessibility. The festival saved 25-30% water for the event, or about 1,500-1,800m³ .


Continue reading this feature in the digital edition of IQ 90, or subscribe to the magazine here

New industry sustainability resources launched

Five years on from its inaugural edition, the second Show Must Go On report has been published, offering a comprehensive insight into outdoor event sustainability.

The report, which is available to download here, is the result of years of planning, research, data gathering and crowdfunding from within the industry. The Show Must Go On launches alongside a free-to-access online resource, the Vision2025 website, that features case studies, briefings and a supplier directory.

Both resources reflect the progress made in terms of the technologies, materials and operational practices used to reduce the environmental impacts of live events. The report is divided into chapters on governance, resources and waste, water, food, energy, travel and transports.

So far, more than 100 festivals and events have made the Vision:2025 pledge, committing to cutting the environmental impact of the events sector in half within five years.

“After a decade of the Powerful Thinking industry steering group, this is a significant step in the journey. The industry has now come together around a vision and has crowdfunded world-leading resources to inspire meaningful action,” comments Chris Johnson, chair of Powerful Thinking and Vision2025.

“The report is a call to action. Whatever people and organisations have done to date, the time to act and to tackle the climate crisis is now”

“This has been a huge collaborative effort and our thanks go out to all contributors, including our three gamechangers: Festival Republic, Continest and Nordic Wristbands, whose financial support underpinned the process.

“The report is a call to action. Whatever people and organisations have done to date, the time to act and to tackle the climate crisis is now.”

Alison Tickell, CEO and founder of Julie’s Bicycle, the charity behind Powerful Thinking and Vision 2025, adds: “Living within the generous boundaries of our planet’s ecosystems is now the only job in hand. As a creative and events collective, we can bring inspiration and community to this task.”

Live industry professional will discuss ways to reduce the environmental impact of events at music business sustainability gathering the Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI) on 3 March, presented by A Greener Festival in partnership with the International Live Music Conference.


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UK industry declares ‘climate emergency’

A coalition of UK artists, music companies and associations have issued a declaration of a ‘climate and ecological emergency’, calling on governments to do more to combat global warming while pledging to make their businesses more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

The declaration, issued today (12 July), is administered by the newly formed Music Declares Emergency (MDE) group. Signatories include promoters SJM Concerts, Festival Republic and Crosstown Concerts, Coda Agency, Music Venue Trust, artists Suede, Wolf Alice and Idles, and several labels and music publishers.

Alison Tickell, MD of Julie’s Bicycle, a member of the MDE working group, says the declaration represents a significant moment in the British music industry’s collective response to climate change. “It has never been more important to understand the gravity of the climate crisis and to do more,” says Tickell. “Music Declares Emergency was created to enable the UK music industry to declare a climate and ecological emergency, to accelerate collaboration and ambition in order to meet critical targets, and to call on government to use their policy and investment tools to help us to reach those goals.”

The declaration reads:

We will:

“We face a climate and ecological emergency and the only proportionate response is to act boldly and act now”

Mike Smith, managing director of MDE signatory Warner Chappell Music UK, comments: “It’s vital that we back this campaign. The threat from climate change is real and we all need to play our part in combating it. Music may not have the impact of some other industries, but we can still do more to reduce our own carbon footprint and use our platform to spread the message that action needs to be taken.”

“As I sat at a music festival in the desert, watching Extinction Rebellion’s action unfold so beautifully in London, I realised that something had to change,” adds Savages drummer and MDE working group member Fay Milton. “It seemed like the music world had lost touch with reality, partying like there’s no tomorrow, when ‘no tomorrow’ has become the forecast. On realising I wasn’t alone with these thoughts, Music Declares Emergency was born.

“The momentum of support has been huge and making a declaration is just the first step to creating real change. We face a climate and ecological emergency and the only proportionate response is to act boldly and act now.”

Organisations and individuals in the music industry can sign the declaration at www.musicdeclares.net.

Sustainability in the live business and the industry’s response to climate change will once again take centre stage at the 12th Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI), which takes place next March. GEI11 saw MDE signatory Coda partner with A Greener Festival to launch the first-ever Green Artist Rider


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Green Music Initiative certifies eight new venues

Boosting the number of venues that have received the award to more than 50, Germany’s Green Music Initiative recently presented eight live venues with its Green Club Label to mark their commitment to energy efficiency.

Representatives from Domicil (500-cap.) in Dortmund, Zeche Carl (550-cap.) in Essen, Pension Schmidt in Münster, Utopiastadt in Wuppertal and Cologne venues Gebäude 9 (500-cap.), Artheater (400-cap.), Klubbar King Georg and Stadtgarten (400-cap.) joined Green Music Initiative founder Jacob Bilabel to receive the accreditation, which should see them make significant savings in the future.

“People think they will have to make big adjustments, but that’s not true,” he explains. “We use the strapline ‘Bright, Colourful, Loud’ to describe the programme.

“On average, venues can generate 15–25% savings in their energy use”

“It’s all about common-sense things like looking at your refrigerators and turning off lights when they’re not needed, but on average, venues can generate 15–25% savings in their energy use.”

While, in Germany, the ministry for the environment provides funding to help participating venues, Bilabel says equivalent programmes are popping up across Europe, with Julie’s Bicycle in the UK tapping into Arts Council funding and organisations elsewhere exploring similar green schemes.


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Festival Focus: TITP, EDC UK, All Day Raves

T in the Park (TITP) promoter DF Concerts is confident the Scottish festival is “back on track” following the first test last weekend of its highly publicised new configuration.

TITP underwent a process of transformation for 2016 under new festival director Melvin Benn, with a more spacious arena, a larger, better-stewarded campsite and improved transport infrastructure designed to eliminate the traffic congestion and violence that plagued last year’s event.

Paying tribute to the two people who died on Friday, festival director and DF Concerts CEO Geoff Ellis says: “We had a tragic start to the event, and our thoughts are still with the families and friends.

“Over the rest of the weekend the music has been incredible, with generations of musicians coming to Strathallan to perform. From emerging acts playing their hearts out on the T Break stage to veteran rockers belting out tunes we all know and love, T in the Park continues to bring the best acts in the world to Scotland.

“I must extend a thanks to all our partners for their valued contribution to getting T in the Park back on track”

“We valued every piece of feedback fans gave us in 2015 and this year we’re delighted that they’ve enjoyed the improved arena layout. I must extend a thanks to all of our multi-agency partners – Perth & Kinross Council, Transport Scotland, Police Scotland, NHS Tayside and the Scottish Ambulance Service – for their valued contribution to getting T in the Park back on track. Special thanks also to the local community for their support – we look forward to being good neighbours for years to come.”

Although a spokeswoman for TITP declined to provide IQ with an exact figure, she did reveal that the festival failed to sell out, despite a reduction in capacity of 15,000.

The Stone Roses, Calvin Harris, Red Hot Chili Peppers and LCD Soundsystem headlined.

Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) UK 2016, Milton Keynes Bowl, Insomniac

TITP didn’t have the only festival fatalities at the weekend: A man also died at Insomniac/Festival Republic’s Electric Daisy Carnival at the Milton Keynes Bowl (65,000-cap.) on Saturday.

“We were called to Milton Keynes Bowl at 1.23am on Sunday after reports that a man in his 20s had fallen ill,” said a Thames Valley Police spokesman in a statement. “The ambulance service was called to the scene but sadly the man was later pronounced dead.”

The spokesman added that the death was “not being treated as suspicious” and directed IQ to the coroner’s office for further information. (Nothing yet.)

Basement Jaxx, Tramlines 2015, Tarquin Clark Photography

BBC Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac has partnered with promoter London Warehouse Events for the launch of The AMP (Annie Mac Presents) All Day Raves, a series of ‘mini-festivals’ taking place in Birmingham, Leeds and London in September and October.

In addition to DJ sets by Mac herself, performers include Basement Jaxx (DJ set) and Eats Everything at Tobacco Dock in London on 1 October, Groove Armada (DJ set) at Canal Mills in Leeds on 25 September and everyone’s favourite fake pirate radio station, Kurupt FM (of People Just Do Nothing fame) at Rainbow Venues in Birmingham on 24 September. (Basement Jaxx photo by Tarquin Clark Photography.)

Grandmaster Flash, Meltdown 2014, Victor Frankowski

Reading and Leeds Festivals have revealed the artists and comedians appearing on the Alternative Stage at this year’s events.

Leading the comedy line-up are Russell Howard and, in his second Reading/Leeds appearance, Bill Bailey, with Marcus BrigstockeKatherine Ryan, Lee Nelson, Sara Pascoe and Russell Kane also appearing.

Also on the bill are laugh-a-minute political commentator Owen Jones, who will slot into a kind of Jeremy Corbyn-at-Glastonbury role with his brand of left-wing politics, a Grandmaster Flash DJ set (at Leeds only – sorry, Reading) and indie club night Propaganda.

Reading and Leeds, promoted by Festival Republic, takes place from 26 to 28 August. (Grandmaster Flash photo by Victor Frankowski.)

Mysteryland 2015, Q-dance

Mysteryland was 2015’s most energy-efficient festival, according to environmental charity Julie’s Bicycle.

The Dutch dance music event reduced its energy emissions by 28% per day compared to 2014 – and by 44% since 2011 – last year through, among other things, promoting car-sharing and the use of biodiesel, providing shuttle-buses for attendees and recycling and composting 7% of its waste, earning itself a four-star Creative Green assessment from Julie’s Bicycle.

The 2016 edition of Mysteryland is headlined by Afrojack, Diplo and Martin Garrix and takes place on 27 and 28 August(Photo by Q-dance.)


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