The Greening Of Music Festivals: Barriers And Outcomes

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J. Mair and J. Laing (2011) The greening of music festivals: motivations, barriers and outcomes. Applying the Mair and Jago model

Sustainable operations are a current growing trend within the events sector and many large outdoor music festivals employ environmentally sustainable practices, including waste management, recycling, minimising power use and encouraging access by public transport or bicycles (Laing & Frost 2010). The Mair and Jago model proposes that competitive advantage, image enhancement, supply chain/customer corporate social responsibility policies and consumer demand are all significant drivers of greening for business events (Mair & Jago 2010). J. Mair and J. Laing applied this model to a festival context, and the importance of greening to festival organisers was considered. Drivers and barriers of staging a ‘green’ event was investigated, giving insight to how these factors could be overcome for the continuation of future sustainability practices in a festival context.

In-depth face-to face interviews were conducted, lasting 45-75 minutes in length, with one festival director and five managers responsible for sustainability issues from six different major events. Addressing the issue of validity, the qualitative data collected was processed by ‘member checking’. Thereafter, the transcripts were analysed using open coding, and the similarities and differences are noted.

Organisational values or, more often, the personal values of festival directors is one of the main drivers of greening an event, and is a reflection of event outcomes. The desire to educate was also identified to be a significant driver and given the large audience festivals attract, event settings are capable of sustainable tourism outcomes and communicating messages to change set behaviour and influence environmentally friendly conduct.

The benefits that come with greening in terms of public image and pressures from stakeholders play a role in embracing green practices in the events industry, however is not the determining factor in comparison to a business context. The difficulties often associated with shifting to environmental processes are the lack of government support to finance the associated costs of greening and the limited availability of sustainable suppliers. However, due to increasing consumer demand there is an improvement in this area and suppliers are gradually making the conversion to offer green services.

The findings of this research do not provide substantial evidence to suggest the driving factors of sustainability in the events industry. The sample used is not large enough to draw accurate conclusions and further investigation is required as there is limited research considering a festival perspective. In addition, only one individual from each festival was interviewed, rather than multiple representatives, therefore results cannot be generalised across an organisation or be relevant to all festivals.

Glastonbury CSR Program Overview

Glastonbury addresses environmental issues through their campaign “Love The Farm. Leave No Trace”. The program involves a range of initiatives to minimise the negative impacts on Worthy Farm, adopting the environmental, social and economic spheres of sustainability. In terms of the environmental aspect, the festival introduced a Green Traveller Scheme in 2011 designed to reward attendees who travel to the festival by an environmentally friendlier method of transport. The scheme works by handing incentives to every person that arrives to the festival via public transport or bicycle. The voucher entitles them to food stall discounts and free festival T-shirts. Shuttle buses run to and from train stations, free of charge and coach services are available at over 70 locations direct to the festival.

Another approach to reducing their emissions is through solar panel installations utilised to power the festivals activities more efficiently. The farm has currently installed 500