Environmental awareness is set to play an ever-increasing role at festivals, concerts and other big public events. Raising awareness in the lighting, sound and events industry is one of the tasks that Jacob Bilabel of Berlin-based think tank Thema1 has set for himself. Speaking to Prolight + Sound, he explained why awareness of environmental issues is growing in importance, and where the biggest challenges are to be faced.
What started this trend towards environmentally aware events?
Bilabel: Is it really a trend? As far as I can see, this is an issue that still hasn’t reached the mainstream. Up till now, only a few pioneers have gone out of their way to push environmental responsibility, in part because they’re passionate about it, in part because they can save a lot of money that way. Unfortunately, far too many events are still organised in exactly the same way now as they were ten years ago.
Why? What are the biggest challenges?
Bilabel: The difficulty lies in convincing the organisers and service providers to embrace new ideas. A lot of them are saying to themselves: “What’s all this green nonsense? Everything worked alright last year, didn’t it?”
How can festivals be made greener then?
Bilabel: There are a number of key factors. We call them hotspots. These include travel, energy consumption, waste and recycling, and communication with festivalgoers. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Everyone needs to work out the most practical solution for themselves based on local circumstances.
Are there any examples where this approach has already borne fruit?
Bilabel: There are two projects that I would like to mention: First of all, the EE MUSIC campaign, where organisers from across Europe come together to share their experiences with staging environmentally aware events. Secondly, the Greener Arena Network, where we’re aiming to make arenas and festival sites more energy efficient. Many are already setting a good example, like Glastonbury and the Roskilde and Hurricane festivals: ideas include reusing cooking oil, handbooks for environmental management, and green campsites.
Thank you very much!
Picutre sources: Bilabel / THEMA1