a greener festival

A Greener Festival wins Green Apple award

DGTL Festival 2017

Photo credit DGTL Festival 2017

A Greener Festival, the not for profit organisation committed to helping festivals and events to minimise their environmental impact, has won the Green Apple Environment Award.

AGF competed against more than 500 other nominations in the Green Apple Awards for Environmental Best Practice, which was presented at the Houses of Parliament, London.

Over the last decade, AGF has assessed and accredited more than 400 festivals worldwide including Glastonbury Festival (UK), Roskilde Festival (DK), Bonnaroo (US) and Falls Festival (AU).

Environmental awareness

The AGF team has delivered sustainable event training for professionals all over Europe, and on 6 March 2018 in London will deliver the 10 Green Events and Innovations Conference in partnership with the International Live Music Conference.

Last year AGF launched the Greener Event Award to assess, advise and accredit events of all kinds.

We are over the moon to receive this prestigious award and are humbled that The Green Organisation chose AGF as a winner,” Claire O’Neill, A Greener Festival co-founder commented. “Huge thanks go to all our assessors, supporters, and the events we have worked with. It is also warming to see that a donation has been made to the Green Earth Appeal on our behalf.”

Small Stage Mandala Festival

Small Stage Mandala Festival. Photo credit Bosse Zaal

The Green Apple Awards began in 1994 and had become established as the country’s major recognition for environmental endeavour among companies, councils, communities and countries.

The awards are organised by The Green Organisation, an international, independent, non-political, non-profit environment group dedicated to recognising, rewarding and promoting environmental best practice around the world.

The Green Apple Awards are supported by the Environment Agency, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, the Chartered Institution for Wastes Management and other independent bodies.

Environmental assessor course launches online

A Greener Festival, a not-for-profit company helping festivals, events and venues around the world adopt environmentally-efficient practices, is making its environmental assessor training available to a global audience for the first time through a new short course offered with Falmouth University and CEG Digital.

The online course sits within Falmouth’s flexible and part-time MA in Creative Events Management. The programme was launched last year in partnership with CEG Digital, the blended learning division of global HE specialists Cambridge Education Group.

Students can now submit their applications ahead of an October start.

“Demand for the training scheme has grown since we introduced it last year and this partnership will help meet the global need for knowledgeable individuals and teams that can help festivals, events and venues reduce the environmental impact of their offer,” explained Teresa Moore, director at A Greener Festival.

Moore added: “Through this collaboration not only are we are able to bring our training to Falmouth’s MA in Creative Events Management students and add real value to the programme but the partnership allows us to extend our training capability globally through the online platform and meet increasing demand for A Greener Festival training.”

Environmental event management

The company said it needs to train more individuals who have knowledge of environmental management and sustainability issues, event management and a passion to help events to achieve the best possible environmental practices in every aspect of the event.

These assessors – who provide independent site assessment, verification and certification of environmental actions – then undertake on-site visits before and during the event.

Previously assessor training could only be delivered face-to-face. Now, thanks to the partnership with Falmouth University and CEG Digital providing the assessor training online opens this out to become easily accessible from anywhere in the world. Its part-time nature means the two weeks’ worth of content can fit around students’ existing commitments.

Students who are on the MA will have the added benefit of becoming Stage 1 A Greener Festival Assessors on completion of the course’s Sustainable Practice module. Those students taking the two-week course only will benefit from enhanced opportunities to study alongside the MA students, and network with these students from all over the world.

Adrian Bossey, head of Cultural Management & Production at Falmouth University, said: “We are very pleased that from the success of our partnership with CEG Digital and our MA we are now also able to reach those people wishing to gain the skills and knowledge of environmental operations at events via this short flexible course.” Bossey wrote the online-led MA Creative Events Management programme.

Growing demand

This is one of a number of new courses at CPD, undergraduate and postgraduate levels that will be introduced in the coming academic years.

Commenting on the partnership, Geoff Webster, managing director of CEG Digital, said: “By focusing on a university’s core skills – delivering excellence in education – and working with CEG Digital in their specialist area co-designing and co-delivering new models of learning, this approach addresses a growing student demand for flexibility combined with industry-focused education. It’s proving a hugely successful model.”

Falmouth offers five flexible, part-time Masters programmes – Advertising, Strategy & Planning; Creative App Development; Creative Events Management; Photography; and Writing for Script & Screen – which CEG Digital has helped to create, produce and market to students worldwide. In its first 12 months, CEG Digital also established partnerships with the University of Southampton, University of London International Programmes and Queen Mary University of London.

Established in 2007, A Greener Festival gives its quality award to festivals, events and venues that demonstrate sustainability with a significant focus on environmental impacts. It has assessed over 400 festivals, events and venues across five continents including in 2017 Glastonbury Festival (UK), Roskilde Festival (Denmark), Bayou Boogaloo (USA), Primavera Sound (Spain) and We Love Green (France).


The team behind the Greener Festival Award have launched the Greener Event Award, as part of an expansion of services to the broader events industry, conferences, venues and sport.

The first of its kind, the award involves independent site assessment, verification and certification of environmental actions at events and venues. Participants in the awards receive tailored recommendations to make improvements year on year.

Since 2007, A Greener Festival have assessed over 400 festivals across five continents, which in 2017 includes Glastonbury Festival (UK), Roskilde Festival (DK), Bayou Boogaloo (USA), Primavera Sound (ES) and We Love Green (FR). 65 AGF assessors from environmental and event management backgrounds have been trained since the Awards relaunch in 2015. This wealth of experience is now being brought to the wider events industry to help reduce the environmental impact and increase the benefits and potential of improved sustainability in the live sector.

“There are very tangible opportunities for events and venues to save resources and money through actions that benefit the environment. There is an expressed interest and now overwhelming response that events want to find and act on these opportunities and share best practice. That is where we can help,” commented Claire O’Neill, co founder of A Greener Festival.

The first Greener Event Award assessment took place last week in Utrecht, Netherlands, at the Spring Performing Arts Festival, a city based festival which takes place over ten days across 11 venues. This is a part of a suite of events to be assessed following partnership between the City of Utrecht, A Greener Festival and Green Events Netherlands, designed to help the city to achieve their sustainability targets.

The expansion of the Award has received a welcoming reception from event organisers, with ten events already signed up to be assessed including Confex & Event Production Show (UK), Doolin Festival (IE), Wildscreen (UK), Festout (UK), the Moscow Flower Show (RS), Festival & Outdoor Events Show (UK), Eurosonic Noordeslag (NL) and the Showmans’ Show (UK).

Duncan Siegle, portfolio director at Mash Media, said: “Green issues are at a crucial stage in the events sector so it’s great to see AGF enter into the conference and exhibition markets. Given Mash Media’s position as the leading publisher for these markets, as well as the organiser of key industry shows Confex and EPS, it is essential for us to embrace this, help promote it to the industries and work on improving our own green credentials.”

The Greener Event Award assessment is open to all kinds of events including conferences, trade fairs and expo’s, arena shows, theatre productions, sport events, ceremonies and multi venue city events. It is also possible for venues, city parks and arenas to participate in the award scheme, as applicants to The Greener Venue Award and Greener Arena Award. These event spaces can significantly influence the potential environmental performance of the events that they host.

The broader industry support the awards expansion including UK Music, the Event Industry Forum, Production Services Association, Global Green USA, Powerful Thinking, Green Event Netherlands, Young Leadership Council and Green Operations Europe.

A list of previous winners can be found here.

A Greener Festival announces full GEI9 line-up

A Greener Festival has announced a full line-up of speakers and sessions for its Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI9).

Tackling topics from site design and infrastructure, sustainable set and stage design, debate about the impact of fireworks and special effects, what Brexit and the current political environment means for events, GEI9 is set to be a day of lively, inspiring and meaningful exchanges.

Each year, the Green Events & Innovations Conference welcomes diverse and inspiring speakers and projects from around the world to gather and challenge the way events progress towards a better impact for environment and society. The theme for GEI9 is ‘Sustainable Design’.

Lucy Legan, co-founder of Ecocentro IPEC, will deliver a keynote address titled ‘Designing sustainability into the DNA of events’. Ecocentro IPEC, based in Brazil, is the largest reference centre of sustainability in Latin America.

Meanwhile, a panel consisting of Paul Schurink (ZAP Concepts), Steve Muggeridge (Green Gathering) and Tim Benson (hybrid energy consultant) will discuss changing events’ energy sources and how to convince traditional energy suppliers to rethink their business model.

Powerful Thinking and Shambala’s Chris Johnson will also launch Powerful Thinking’s ‘Smart Energy for Outdoor Festivals’ guide.

Other key speakers include A Greener Festival co-founder Claire O’Neill, Green Alliance’s Amy Mount, Exit Festival’s Ivan Milivojey, Continental Drifts’ Chris Tofu, Bertie Cole from Arcadia Spectacular, Dr Thomas Smith from the British Pyrotechnics Association and Mikkel Sander from Roskilde Festival.

GEI9 takes place at the Royal Garden Hotel in London on 7 March. It is delivered in partnership with the International Live Music Conference (ILMC).

A Greener Festival 2016 winners announced

The first winners of the Greener Festival Award 2016 have been announced at ADE Green, part of the massive Amsterdam Dance Event.

Welcome to the Future, DGTL, Liberation Festival and Extrema Outdoors picked up their awards at an awards ceremony organised with Green Events Nederland.

To enter the award scheme, led by A Greener Festival, events submit a self-assessment, followed by an on-site independent inspection, post-event data gathering and a detailed report by the environmental assessor. The assessment forms the basis for the events Environmental Impact Assessment and is an important tool to help events to identify where improvements can be made, as well as celebrating the positive and successful existing actions.

A Greener Festival has assessed over 300 festivals over the last 10 years, and re-launched the Awards criteria in 2016. This year’s winners have also already added another 25 trees to AGF’s Festival Wood in Scotland, a deciduous re-forestation project managed by Trees for Life.

Ben Eddie, the AGF Awards co-ordinator, said: “I am thrilled to have represented A Greener Festival at the sold out fourth edition of ADE Green at De Brakke Grond, the perfect platform and a new partnership. I was even more pleased to have opportunity to meet familiar names from coordinating our UK & Europe awards for the first time this year.

“It was a real pleasure to present the Dutch awards to Liberation and Extrema Outdoor NL (both Commended), and DGTL and Welcome to the Future (both Highly Commended). It was an inspiring program and what better way to finish a packed day of workshops, presentations, and panels than by celebrating the successes of our first Award winners of 2016. It was also awesome too see such a mix of industry professionals, suppliers, and the next generation of festival and live event organisers and students in the same space. The future is now.”

The first 2016 winners:

Welcome to the Future (highly commended)

DGTL Festival (highly commended)

Liberation Festival (commended)

Extrema Outdoors (commended)

In the pub with…Claire O’Neill

A Greener Festival’s Claire O’Neill spends an evening in Brixton’s Trinity Arms with Emma Hudson to talk about making sustainability a business proposition and playing a flying Mary Poppins in the London 2012 Opening Ceremony.

Ten years ago, I was going to a lot of parties in the woods that were completely unlicensed and unofficial. You’d have to call up a number on your way down to find out where it was and if it was still going on. It was at these parties where I first saw solar panels charging power and the café had all organic food and fair trade. After or during the event, people would be sorting out their own rubbish or recycling, and there was composting that the cafés were doing. And these were unofficial parties where nobody paid, just a free party. That was the environment that I came up in.

Through my degree I started doing more management and work experience at big festivals. I thought, ‘God, this is so different. How can you get the message of what’s happening on those really underground events over to the mainstream events that actually have more of an impact and permeate more of society?’ There was no way that going in from a hippie angle would make the slightest drop in the ocean, but maybe if it came from more of a business perspective, then people were more likely to pay attention.

I knew the areas where improvements could be made, and then looked at events like The Green Gathering, the Green Futures Field at Glastonbury, and all of these communities that had been doing this for a long time, and made a list of criteria, which then became the A Greener Festival website.

I think because for a period of time, sustainability was seen as a nice addition, so that’s almost a reason to decouple a lot of the ideas from being ‘green’. It could, in some psychological way, actually be a good thing. For example, using the new generators could have savings for festivals of anything from 4,000 to 30-40,000 euros, depending on the scale of the event. And that is a massive chunk of cash. That’s being ‘green’ – but it’s not the reason organisers are doing it.

I’ve heard people say about festivals, “It’s about having fun; I shouldn’t be told to clean up.” That’s fair enough, but to couple having fun with doing something that’s long-term detrimental to the environment is really wrong. I had illegal amounts of fun at parties in the woods, and we totally sorted the place out – we wouldn’t dream of just leaving it trashed, and we were having a wild time. Having fun doesn’t mean being wasteful.

I was one of the Mary Poppins in the Opening Ceremony. The rings would lift off the ground and come to our eye height, and the helicopter with Bond and “The Queen” would come just over our heads. Then we’d get picked up by the back of our pants and flown over to defeat Voldemort. It was incredible. We had our Mary Poppins outfits on, looking over at thousands of people, and a giant puppet shooting fireworks out of its wand, with the noise of the crowds – and just looking across and seeing your mate next to you with you.

I was at Glastonbury spinning on the G-spin on the Arcadia spider up on of the cranes. To be there, spinning around, with thousands of people screaming and watching and seeing the driver’s mad grin as he spinned faster and faster – it was a very different vibe from the Olympics but equally just as mind-blowing.

A Greener Festival has relaunched its awards scheme. Apply at www.agreenerfestival.com.

This feature originally appeared in the March issue of Access All Areas.





AIF and AFO launch green festival survey

The AIF (Association of Independent Festivals) and AFO (Association of Festival Organisers) have launched an industry-wide survey exploring what festivals are doing, what matters to them, and what support they need to take action to ‘green’ their events.

The survey is part of an initiative to develop a green manifesto for both associations’ members. The survey has been developed alongside Kambe Events, best known for the green festival Shambala.

“Our vision is to bring the festivals together to share knowledge and inspiration, and regain our industry’s historically pioneering approach to sustainability,” said Kambe’s Chris Johnson. “Now is the time – being green is becoming the norm endeavour, improving audience experiences, brands, and reducing costs.”

Event organisers can take the two-minute survey here. The AIF and AFO hope to reach more than 300 UK festivals, with the survey’s results presented later in 2015.