In tune with the sun
Music festivals can wreak havoc on the environment. Think of the energy used in terms of lights, sound systems, fumes from the generators, even the huge amount of garbage that gets strewn around, and not to mention, a crowd of thousands, adding to the chaos and pollution.
With more people choosing eco-friendly ways of living, music fest organizers are looking at sustainable ways of promoting the events. Solar powered music festivals are here to change the world of entertainment. It guarantees not just better ticket sales, but also good press coverage. Not to mention the awards that come with it as the recognition for adopting sustainability.
Here is a look at solar powered festivals that have been making their presence felt all over the world.
Laying Off the Grid
Way back in 2015, Australia’s music festival, Off. the. Grid decided to save the earth as much as possible by coming up with an eco-friendly festival, offering several unique initiatives. An apt reflection of its name, Off. the. Grid featured a five-metre stage, fully powered by solar energy, complete with energy storage facility. A great idea indeed, to make the most of the scorching Australian summer! Not just this, the organisers even pledged that the profit generated from the festival would be donated to a renewable power station in Melbourne, even as the revenue was supposed to be used to fund future festivals. Also, they made sure that while the organic waste originating from the festival would be composted, the rest would be recycled.
Environment conscious to the core, Ross Harding, the organiser and brain behind the event, famously said, “We are doing our very best to connect technology with art to speed up this future that we believe in so deeply. OFF. the. GRID is dedicated to inspiring and empowering people to create the future that we all want to see in the world.” The event, held at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) in Melbourne, took place on the day of the summer solstice, to make the most of the sun reaching its highest point.
Byron Bay Bluefest, Australia
Before Off. the. Grid, at Australia’s Byron Bay Bluefest, an annual music festival since 1990, created ripples for making music with the first large scale solar powered sound system in the country. Named the Sunflower, the 1.2-kilowatt solar panel arrays were arranged as flower petals to be able to angle them towards the sun. The man behind this invention, Dr Barry Hill called it the biggest audio-visual production system in Australia to run on solar power. He added, “This is the first festival outing that we’ve done over a number of days solely on solar power, so in a sense, Bluesfest has got a first for solar power in festivals in Australia with this system.”
Music festival organisers all over the globe seem to have taken up the mantle to organise sustainable festivals and the efforts are certainly laudable. Øyafestivalen, the annual Norwegian music festival held in the Tøyen Park, Oslo, is powered by renewable sources and food offered at the event is largely organic.
Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Manchester, Tennessee
In 2013, solar panels were used for electricity at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival held in Manchester, Tennessee that enthralled the audience with musicians like Paul McCartney, Mumford & Sons and Macklemore & Ryan. The concert was powered by a 50-kw array and it was paid for by those who attended as a voluntary contribution. It became the first permanent solar system installed at a major American music festival.
Boom Festival, Portugal
Portugal’s Boom Festival was all about sustainability. From planning to be off grid soon to onsite water treatment plants, recycling and promoting public transport, the music fest also redeveloped habitats and launched bio-construction and permaculture projects. What’s more, in 2010, it introduced the Boom by Bike plan to encourage people to cycle to the festival from all over Europe!
In the world of music festivals, the green initiatives in place are mind-boggling. It is certainly encouraging to witness this growing enthusiasm amongst the music fraternity towards adopting renewable sources of energy and rallying communities to embrace energy independence – musically!
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