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 events 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 as well as 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 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.
The Hove Festival, which attracts audiences of 50,000, is offsetting its carbon footprint by contributing to UN-approved Clean Development Mechanism projects in China. Other energy-saving measures included solar chargers for mobile phones, electric golf carts for on site travelling, and LED lighting systems powered by wind and solar power.
Morten Sandberg, the festival's organizer, 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.
The Canal Street jazz and blues festival, which opens today, has also adopted a raft of climate and environmentally friendly measures for the 30,000-audience event. The festival is cooperating with the Hove Festival among others on the mapping of its carbon footprint and on how to reduce its energy consumption.
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".
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