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SUSTAINABLE FESTIVALS AROUND THE WORLD: a new way to combine fun and sustainability

Music festivals have always been an opportunity to get together with friends, enjoy and have fun. But how many times have you walked away from a music festival and seen thousands of plastic cups or papers lying on the ground? Music festivals are fun, but they can also be very harmful to the environment. As a result of the fight against climate change that has become popular in recent years, many music festivals have changed the way they are organized. Originally, music festivals were seen as public events where people could meet and spend time together. Nowadays, the purpose of festivals has not changed, but the way they are organized and the message they want to convey is different. There are many examples of festivals being held around the world that incorporate sustainable initiatives. Here are a few examples: Festival for Sustainable Development In Italy, the Festival for Sustainable Development has been held every year since 2016. It is the largest Italian initiative to raise awareness and mobilize citizens, young generations, companies, associations and institutions around environmental, economic and social sustainability. The aim is to spread the culture of sustainability and achieve a cultural and political change that will allow the country to put into practice the United Nations 2030 Agenda and achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This festival has been recognized by the United Nations as an innovative initiative and unique experience, and has twice been a finalist in the SDGs Action Awards. Numerous activities will be organized as part of this event: workshops, seminars, exhibitions, sporting events, book fairs and documentaries, in order to involve a diverse audience and give voice to Italian society. The festival will not be limited to the Italian territory, but will be open to the whole world. In fact, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will collaborate with this festival to spread the messages abroad, through the commitment of Italian diplomatic missions. However, we will not only consider the Italian case, because there are many other examples of sustainable festivals around the world.


DGTL The DGTL festival in Amsterdam is another interesting example. This electronic music festival has set ambitious environmental goals, as it aims to become the first circular festival in the world. To achieve this, the event is constantly being redesigned and reimagined. For the 2020 edition, for example, they have not set up a food court where visitors can decide what they want to eat, but an area where food waste and substandard products from local vendors are used. They are also putting up only compostable toilets, selling drinks in reusable cups, and have decided to house their guests in a circular hotel in Amsterdam called Jakarta. We love Green We love Green is another example of this type of festival. It takes place in Paris and features not only electro music, but the 2-days event comprises also talks, workshops and discussions on how to live sustainably. Eco-toilets have been installed and 100% renewable energy is used; visitors are also encouraged to travel by public transport. We love green has also managed to plant 80,000 trees in collaboration with Ecosia.


Secret country estate This festival takes place in Northamptonshire, UK, and is themed "Adventures in the Utopia": the experience aims to change people's mindsets. The entire festival is powered by 100% renewable energy and has recently abolished the consumption of fish and meat at its food stalls. Thanks to recycling exchanges, the amount of recycling has doubled compared to other festivals. Boom Festival Another European example of this event is Boom Festival, which takes place every 2 years in Portugal. It is an event dedicated to independent artistic culture, including art, music, painting, theater, cinema and workshops. But this festival also pays special attention to the environmental aspect, especially in terms of waste and water treatment.


Secret Solstice Secret Solstice is a festival that takes place in Iceland. What makes this event special is that it takes place under the midnight sun, as there is no darkness in June and the sun still shines after 11pm. The festival is non-traditional and aims to give guests an experience they will never forget. They believe in the beauty of Iceland and want to promote it. It is the only festival that can host a rave in a glacier cave and in a 5000-year-old lava tunnel. This festival is different because it is not just fun and entertainment, but aims to show and appreciate the beauty of their country. For this reason, it has been called one of the most unique events in the world. Øyafestivalen

Øyafestivalen is a Norwegian festival held annually in Oslo. It began in 1999 and has quickly become one of Norway's largest and most important music festivals. The festival is also very prudent when it comes to the environment. For example, they have found sustainable solutions for waste, food, transportation and energy. In fact, the festival has been using renewable energy since 2009, over 90% of the food sold is organic and the percentage of meat-free portions is being increased. All food packaging is compostable and all drinking cups are reusable. It is estimated that they have reduced their plastic consumption by 60% since 2016.


Lightning in a bottle

This example comes from the US, California to be exact. This festival includes music, art performances, and exhibitions, but most importantly it is a celebration of community. Artists, performers, musicians, teachers, families and volunteers come from all over the world to create a space where people are free to connect, explore and discover. At this festival, you feel like you are in a community where you can meet new people as well as old friends. There are many learning and cultural activities offered where participants can broaden their horizons and have conversations and discussions with experts, which are very important to expand their knowledge.


In conclusion, these are just a few examples of events born to gather people and bring fun, but as the problem of climate change becomes more and more urgent, it is important to adapt them to a more sustainable behaviour. These festivals show that even small measures like reusable cups or compostable toilets can make a big difference if they are adopted by everyone.

Written by Valeria Unich

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