Nairobi/Arendal, 21 July 2008 - Two top Norwegian music festivals are joining the international fight against climate change.
They are the Hove Festival, a rock event that this year featured acts including Beck, Duffy, and rapper Jay-Z, and Canal Street - a jazz and blues festival that opens today featuring legends John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, and The Waterboys.
The two festivals, run from the southern city of Arendal, are the first music festivals to sign on to the UNEP Climate Neutral Network (CN Net).
The network, whose other participants include countries such as Costa Rica and New Zealand; cities and companies, aims to federate solutions and actions to realize a low, even zero pollution world.
The two summer festivals believe they could become a blueprint for a green global music festival movement in partnership with UNEP.
The main purpose of the partnership is to create a European network of music festivals that can learn from each other, challenge each other and push each other to become even more sustainable in the future.
Eventually it is hoped to federate the initiatives to other continents such as Asia and North America.
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP’s Executive Director, said:” The greening of live musical events represents an opportunity to lower the carbon footprint of not only the entertainment industry, but those of millions, if not hundreds of millions of people world-wide”.
“The Hove Festival and Canal Street can serve as models for musical and entertainment events everywhere. Climate change top the charts as the number one challenge facing this planet. Unless all sectors of society step up to the bar and address this challenge, we will all be singing the blues,” he said.
This musical event attracts audiences of some 50,000.
Morten Sandberg, the festival’s organizer, said that the carbon footprint of the 2007 festival accounted for just over 1,300 tons. This was calculated among others by the use of a specially developed online carbon calculator and in close cooperation with CO2-emissions data experts. This year’s carbon footprint is now being quality checked, and we are eager to see the difference and analyze this further in order to learn more about how we can continuously reduce our impact on the climate.
Participants, including staff and acts, where invited to pay by SMS or credit card for their individual carbon footprint caused by their travel to the festival and during the event’s operations.
The funds are being used to support a methane-into-electricity project on a landfill in China approved by the United Nations as a Clean Development Mechanism project.
Other energy saving measures at the Hovefestival included solar charging points for mobile phones, electric golf carts for on site travelling, and LED lighting systems powered by wind and solar power.
In 2008 targets were also set for boosting recycling from a fifth to 50 per cent. Public awareness eco-debates were also held in cooperation with GRID-Arendal, UNEP’s polar centre.
Mr Sandberg said: ”The leaders of the Hove Festival have been in the international music industry for the last 18 years and have a unique network, which includes other leading festivals as well as international booking and management companies of rock stars and bands all around the world.”.
“We are sure that this new UNEP led music network can grow to become as powerful as the network UNEP already has established with the sports industry, including the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup,” he added.
This jazz and blues festival, which opens today in Arendal, has also adopted a raft of climate and environmentally friendly measures for the 30,000-audience event.
These include certified organic and Fairtrade T-shirts; the introduction of organic cotton and paper bags in the city area to reduce plastic bag use, and the sourcing of certified green energy for the concerts.
The festival has through several years been building up an environmental profile, and is cooperating with the Hovefestival among others on the mapping of the carbon footprint and on how to reduce the energy consumption of the festival.
Funds raised by the offsets are also going to support UN-approved Clean Development Mechanisms in China.
Hans Birger Nilsen, Canal Street’s organizer, said: ”I think there are enormous opportunities to take these ideas forward to an even larger audience. One of the first opportunities will be to share our experiences and actions at Europe’s Jazz and Blues Congress in November”.
Notes to Editors
UNEP’s Climate Neutral Network www.climateneutral.unep.org
Canal Street www.canalstreet.no
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