Today, our lives are being affected by climate change more than they have ever been. Yet, our underground bass music scene, historically known for bringing social and societal issues into the spotlight, hardly speaks about this major issue. How can we explain this? Is it for financial reasons and fear of additional costs? Is there still a lack of evolution in mentality towards this topic? Or maybe a lack of data, resources, and communication, leading to a sense of disconnection and powerlessness toward the issue? 

Nowadays, many festivals have adopted a “green” stance, yet we still wonder if these actions are genuine and ethical, or merely marketing ploys. As citizens, we need to be able to distinguish real empowerment from greenwashing. We also need to be able to grasp and realize the real harmful impacts of electronic music events on our planet. So, despite the encouraging news of organizers showcasing their new environmental commitments, do festival-goers, artists, performers, and festival staff align on these issues? And, will the introduction of these new initiatives raise awareness and create a major shift in the industry?

As a result of all these questions and concerns, as well as the absence of public debate around this topic in the bass music industry, we have decided to write a series of articles. Indeed, it has never been more urgent to address this issue collectively.

“We have been completely rethinking the event in every aspect to radically reduce the impact. For 2019 and beyond, we are putting the imminent environmental crisis front and center of our messaging and deep into the fabric of our event planning and infrastructure.” Boomtown

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“Mankind’s greatest influence on the greenhouse effect is via the combustion of fossil fuels during the generation of electricity and heat, as well as through the use of airplanes, cars etc. Furthermore, the production of food in agriculture also plays a significant role” – Rahmstorf & Schellnhuber

Now that the groundwork for this series of articles is laid out, we would like to first discuss the impact electronic music events have on our planet. They are the core of the electronic industry, the primary experience bringing people together, in a single place. Think of the festivals you’ve been to this summer, or the club events you will attend next weekend. Many of you admit that we aren’t the worst, compared to the aviation or textile industries, for example. However, it’s not because we don’t belong to the most polluting industries that we don’t have any role to play, nor should we remain unconcerned. Each small step and action counts. Thus, 7.753 billion humans live on planet Earth, each with its own responsibilities and roles. We could make a more liveable future if everyone is more aware and engaged. 

To develop further, climate change is not an abstract concept, and it is not something that will only impact others. There is already plenty of evidence in the music industry showing the consequences of climate change, even if the most severe is yet to come. Indeed, you might have even noticed it, more and more promoters in the last few years were forced to cancel performances due to extreme weather conditions. These conditions included winds, thunderstorms, and heavy rain. Plus, this year, heat records have been set in Europe, making festivals and club events less enjoyable, and much more energy-consuming. Because some actors use more air conditioning to cool down the dancefloor, and water the soil and people during festivals, it makes this industry even less sustainable. What a vicious circle.

“There is a never-ending parade of nightmarish images today illustrating the evils of climate change and the likely disasters that lie ahead. These images are necessary to warn us. But we also need hope, beautiful stories. Art, by glorifying our dreams, must help us build the future. – Naomi Klein

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Sustainability Eco Warriorz on a ‘GreenMission’ at Boomtown Festival

Change begins with a trigger in each of us. It can be a book, a speech, a song, or any piece of art from an artist. By the way, did you know that most of the biggest influential personalities followed on Twitter belong to the music industry? With millions of followers, musicians and labels can play the role of models in order to inspire their audience, making them adopt more sustainable behaviors. Music is about culture, culture is about people, movements, art, and about habits. Actors in the music industry have the power to create this shift of mentality. Therefore, the first step for change to happen is to conduct more talks, more discussions, and more communication, in order to generate more actions.

“We need a radical transformation of processes and behaviors at all levels: individuals, communities, companies, institutions and governments.” – IPCC, 2nd part of the 6th report, 28 February 2022

However, change must not only come from artists and labels. The audience also has responsibilities. But, we have great news for you. Contrary to what you might think intuitively, participating in this change does not mean limiting your festival or event experience. It’s about improving our habits, with as much enjoyment as before, but in different ways. This is so critical to keep in mind.

Let’s face it, environment protection is a complicated issue, and yes it’s a complicated challenge to decarbonize our industry. There is a lot to be said on an international scale: artists are touring (Nina Kravitz mentioned to Resident Advisor that in about two weeks, she had an average of 30 flights), people can travel to festivals around the world for cheap rates in only a few hours, regulations are almost nonexistent, lights and sound systems for huge festivals are pretty energy-intensive, and among other things, creating sustainable events can lead to another issue: greenwashing. Furthermore, we face another pressing concern: an overwhelming amount of people think that technology and human ingenuity and creativity will save us from this crisis. We ought to see it from another angle. As the great physicist, Etienne Klein said, we must consider these issues based on what we know today and the technologies we already possess. We must avoid utopian scenarios that give us the possibility to escape our responsibilities. Words. 

In the following sections of this article, we will do our best to outline major points of improvement. We will also give you some insights about our scene, according to a survey we undertook this summer. Even if our sector seems extremely difficult to transform, let’s keep in mind that difficult does not mean impossible. You will see that some alternatives are easy and costless. It is also a question of habits and getting used to them. You can also find videos and resources at the end of this article.

‘Together we can do the seemingly impossible’ Greta Tumberg at Glastonbury Festival, 2022

A- I don’t feel concerned about ecology
B- I would like to be more involved in ecology (individually and collectively), but I don’t know where to start
C- I try to be eco-responsible on a daily basis, but this is not my priority
D- I have changed my habits and I have more eco-responsible behaviors than before
E- I have adapted to the homemade and ecological way of life

1. Transportation is the biggest issue

First, let’s address the largest concern. Transportation accounts for 80% of the global energy consumption of a festival. Indeed, promoters can’t control how festival-goers get on site. However, they can, at least, raise awareness, and decide to work with the local authorities to make the situation a bit better. They can also choose to buy a train ticket instead of a plane ticket for the artists they have booked. The most extreme measures would be to rethink their lineup by choosing a maximum of artists living near the venue, or only national acts, for example.

We can all agree on the fact that moving around 200,000 people over a weekend on an international scale is a major challenge. Unfortunately, the most effective solution at the moment, in order to limit the carbon footprint of events, is to reduce the number of festival-goers. Do the authorities set up gauges? Is it possible to create, in 2022, a festival and as it grows, bring massive crowds in a single weekend without limitation? For now, in most countries, yes.

A concrete example with the Burning Man Festival:

Evolution of attendants:
1997: 10 000 
2001: 25 000
2018: 70 000 (limit set by the authorities) (8)
2022: 80 000

305699955 10160042473023798 2364820519092609262 n“Leaving no trace is arguably Burning Man’s most important principle. If we don’t uphold that one, no more Black Rock City. But leaving no trace is not just about the playa; it’s our ethic about the whole planet. Burners are environmentalists.” – Burning Man


Although the Burning Man Festival claims to “leave no trace” in order to preserve the natural site of the Black Rock desert, the consequences of the incineration of numerous statues left us perplexed as to their ethics. For example, in 2007, to burn a wooden tower, it took more than 3000 liters of kerosene and 7000 liters of propane.

Indeed, festivals are getting bigger and bigger. Did you know that the biggest electronic music festival was the SUMMERFEST in the USA? Created in 1960, it takes place over eleven days and brings together between 800,000 and 1,000,000 people each year. To try to give you an idea of what this represents in terms of carbon footprint; a study from the Shift Project, a French think-tank, calculated that a festival in France that would welcome 280,000 people over four days each year, like the ‘Vieilles Charrues’, would potentially emit 14,000 tons of CO2e. That’s about 50 kg of CO2e per festival-goer. Can you even imagine how detrimental a 1,000,000-people festival could be? (1)

To put it in perspective, here are some equivalents for 1 single tone of C02:

– 158 beef meals 🥩
– 1961 vegan meals 🥗
– 43 cotton jeans 👖
– 578 035 km traveled by High-speed train 🚝
– 5181 km traveled by car 🚗
– 61 smartphones 📱
– 6,4 laptops 💻

Now, let’s discuss alternatives and what you could do. 

  • Carpooling: Organizers can reduce C02 emissions by encouraging carpooling.
  • Hybrid vehicles: Green VTC, etc.
  • Train, Problem: The majority of the prices of plane tickets remain 2 times lower than train tickets. Governments must create more incentives for the population to take the train rather than the plane when it’s possible.
  • Incentivize bicycle usage, create bike storages at clubs and festivals, or even raise awareness around the bicycle services provided by the city.

“In 2019, 1% of our audience arrived at Shambhala by bicycle as part of the ‘Red Fox Cycling’ tour. Our cyclists were rewarded with £15 off their entry tickets, free programmes on arrival and a right royal pampering in our healing meadows with a dedicated, muscle-healing workshop.”

  • Public transportation: create partnerships with the city, in order to make public transportation more affordable and included in the ticket’s price: Combo tickets.
    One great example is the Cabaret Vert Festival in France, which collaborated with SNCF, the French railway network. Indeed, for attendees who purchase a festival entry ticket and a one-way train ticket to reach the party area, they can enjoy 1 euro train tickets home. Plus, this one-way ticket can be cheaper thanks to a special subscription to SNCF.

    Rampage, for example, gives access to a “free” public transportation service that is included with the festival ticket. As for Boomtown, this year, they targeted 40% of attendees arriving by public transport, and in 2018 they achieved 35%. (9)

  • Artists, Crew, and equipment transportation:
    – Rental of local equipment (lighting, video, sound, etc.)

    – Take trucks using biofuel.
    – Avoid the maximum of crew flights.
    – Take the shortest road, at least the most efficient one.
    – The crew needs to travel small whenever they can.

2. WASTES: The 2nd major source of pollution

23,500 tonnes of waste are generated every year at festivals, 68% of which ends up directly in a landfill. Much of this is composed of single-use plastics (2). Indeed, plastic, what an issue. A lot of items we find at festivals today seem to be designed for unique or limited use in time. Plus, between 2005 and 2015, annual global plastic production increased by 45% and, if nothing changes, it is expected to increase by a factor of four by 2050. This plastic expansion is made possible by the low cost of raw materials. (3)

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“At Outlook, we have a no single-use plastics and no glass policy; reusable metal bottles will be on sale at our merchandise stands and on-site bars will stock water in aluminum cans.” – Outlook festival

In 2017, around 1 million plastic water bottles were sold during Glastonbury Festival. Fortunately, since then, they adopted strict regulations on plastic and banned it in 2019. As for ‘We Love Green‘, a festival located in the woods near the French capital, it is the first festival in the Parisian area to have signed the ‘Drastic on Plastic charter’, alongside sixty other French festivals, to put an end to single-use plastic. It applies a zero single-use plastic policy in all areas of the festival, public and backstage. 

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We Love Green: 68,000 liters of waste transformed into compost each year


FACT, an average of 1,000,000 tents are abandoned at festivals each year in Europe. They mostly end up in land fields or incinerated. Note that one tent is the equivalent of 9000 straws or 250 cups. (4) For example, in the United Kingdom,13 percent of attendees in 2019 admitted to always leaving their tent behind at the end of an event. A further 25 percent said they occasionally did so.

Are there any alternatives? 

  • Pre-paid tent: the majority of festivals offer you to rent a tent at the venue to avoid you bringing your own.
  • Cardboard Tents: If you have been to some festivals recently, then you probably saw these cardboard tents. They are supposed to be an eco-friendly alternative. Designed by KarTent, a Dutch company, these tents are waterproof, keeping the darkness and freshness inside. They are collected, cut into cardboard boxes, and reused at the end of the festival. An alternative for people who have the bad habit of leaving their tents on site. However, one tent costs 67 euros, which is a consequent amount of money for a single-use cardboard item. Although you may be able to find better rates if you book your KarTent through the festival website, we urge you to choose products that are not made for single use if you are really trying to be eco-friendly. A tent rental will seem to be the best option, as it could serve many times over the years. You can rent it on the festival site or via sharing or a rental app. 
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Festival-goers lifting their Kartent at Liquicity Summer Festival


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Single-use plastic bottles and cups are probably the most common items you can see on a festival floor. Do you know that 90 drinking water taps at a festival site can save 154,000 plastic bottles? If you had one recommendation: bring your own water bottle. 


With water bottles and cups on the floor, cigarette butts are also a major problem. Organizers should provide pocket ashtrays and provide more information on that issue. You can also bring your own pocket ashtray to the festival to avoid throwing your cigarettes on the floor. Take the example of Ozora Festival. They give one to each attendant for free when he picks up his wristband at the entrance. 



  • accessibility of sorting garbage cans
  • Strong signaling, make it easy to sort trash out
  • Work hand in hand with the local community
  • Recruit more volunteers for this task
  • Give trash bags during the festival
  • Raise awareness around this issue and incentivize

During the Cabaret Vert Festival, in France, a volunteer team counts waste production in targeted areas to improve the implementation of the sorting policy and to better target the sorting areas.

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Recycling points at Let It Roll were implemented in 2017 (5)

To have perfect recycling once the wastes have been collected, there are some criteria that need to be ticked. First, it’s necessary that the producer of the good or the packaging that has become waste has chosen recyclable materials and a design that allows recycling. Second, additives, both metallic and non-metallic, are also obstacles to recycling processes. For example, it is impossible to remove the dye from plastic, fabric, or dyed glass. Because of the added dyes, the recycled raw material is often gray, which limits its subsequent uses. The fineness of the sorting process, therefore, influences the quality of the recycling. 


Dour & Cabaret Vert Festival are two major festivals that have chosen recyclable cups over eco cups. By sorting these cups together from other plastic wastes, they are able to produce valuable new recycled material. For example, Jean Perrissin, responsible for sustainable development at the Cabaret Vert festival, affirms that these recycled plastic cups are used to produce baby seats. Caroline, from Dour Festival, told us during a phone call that their plastic cups then serve as new recyclable items for the automobile industry. 


Here we are, the last ⅓ of Global GHG emissions during a festival come from the food system. Once again, what needs to be done is to avoid the maximum movements of food & drinks by choosing locally grown ingredients. Seasonal and local dishes help reduce the carbon footprint, as no energy is wasted on complicated storage, or on transportation over long distances. You will find benefits in working hand in hand with local communities. Source your product as much as possible in the region. For instance, Cabaret Vert festival has a 200km zone to source their products, no further. No Coca Cola, no Heineken and you CAN SURVIVE!

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Go for a vegan offer (at least a partly vegan offer)

Choosing to be meat-free doesn’t mean that your audience should stop eating meat, however, that’s a great way to show that it’s possible to eat great and tasty dishes differently. Thus, the festival becomes a hub where people can try alternatives for only a couple of days.

“The production of a meat-based diet typically consumes twice the amount of water as compared to a plant-based diet”. – UNESCO Institute for Water Education

Note that if you have the intention to be greener, start applying new measures, and raising awareness among your audience and staff. If you decide to only serve vegan dishes, you must do so proactively with them, without frustrating them. They need to feel your sincere intentions, your ethical standards, and the sense of community you desire to create. You won’t change people’s behaviors and their awareness of the subject if you don’t listen to them or don’t start any discussion on this topic. 

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Question N°11: as a bass music enthusiast, what is your diet? (Survey produced by STUDIO during Summer 2022)

To deep dive into the burning ‘meat debate’, it’s important to mention that we have reached a point, where we never, as a society, produced and consumed as much meat as we do today. Meat, more than any other food, is highly costly to the planet. Indeed, in 2017, 323 million tons were produced worldwide, and the latest Food and Agriculture Organization report estimates that livestock farming in the world was responsible, in 2005, for 14.5% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. This activity emits about 7 billion tons of CO2 per year, more than the United States and France combined. Meat, in addition to being energy-consuming, is also water-consuming. According to National Geographic, on average, a vegan person who doesn’t eat meat or dairy indirectly consumes nearly 600 gallons of water per day less than a person who eats the average American diet.”

“The real solution [to water scarcity] lies in agriculture: about 90 percent of our global water footprint relates to food.”Water Footprint Network founder Arjen Y. Hoekstra, Ph.D.

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Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) in Las Vegas

So, we spoke about camping, food, and transport, but the real reason why people come to a festival, is not to eat or sleep, it is to spend time listening to music, and dancing in front of big sound systems, with an impressive light show. These installations are also energy-consuming. Because a majority of festivals don’t have direct access to an energy source, they use diesel generators on-site, causing massive pollution. However, there are still several alternatives that some clubs and festivals already use. 

LED lighting: eco-friendlier

LED light bulbs save energy mainly because of their low power consumption. For the same light output, their power consumption is about ten times lower than that of the old filament bulbs. Energy efficient solutions aren’t just environmentally friendly. They can also provide significant cost savings as well as make a big visual impact.

Water management optimization: Dry toilets

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Dry toilets at We Love Green Festival
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Solar fields at Lowland Festival

Solar Panels for a decentralized production

Lowland Festival (The Netherlands), in association with the company Solarfield, equipped 35 hectares of the festival parking lot with 90,000 solar panels. According to Jelmer Pijlman, this installation will be able to produce approximately 35,000,000 kWh of electricity per year. While the festival consumes “only” 300,000 kWh over a weekend, this project will allow supplying about 10,000 households with green energy during the rest of the year.

  •  Generators filled with organic oil. Nowadays, you can create energy by using recycled vegetable oil collected from restaurants. We Love Green and Shambhala festival run their energy with this kind of technique, among other alternatives.
  • Biodiesel: in 2020, the DGTL festival announced they switched from diesel to biodiesel, reducing CO2 emissions in this area by almost 89%, which is enormous.
  • Generators running on renewable energy network

Outlook festival is using Danley Soundsystems, some of the greenest ones available. They take up around ¼ of trucking space and power requirements. They also use recycled materials. 


While often overlooked, scenographies also contribute to increasing the total CO2 emissions produced during an event. The imposing stages on which artists play are often ephemeral, just like the structures that make up the festival as a whole, from the food shops to the toilets. This means that throwing a festival almost always leads to building a small city for a few days and tearing it down at the end of the show. This represents massive amounts of effort and consequent use of energy and resources.

Just like most environmental issues, there are some improvements that are already possible to implement. The Green Europe Experience (GEX), a sort of living laboratory, helps a few festivals in Europe become greener. They focus primarily on food and scenography. Through mentoring and workshops, they co-create scenographies that are based around the circular economy, while still being able to produce aesthetically pleasing structures for events. In the upcoming months, the GEX has also promised to release a charter to help festival organizers create more environmentally-friendly buildings and installations.

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Wooden scenography at Terraforma Festival
A light engineer working at Petit Bain during a STUDIO Invites event in Paris

So, these are great news for festivals, but where do clubs stand?

In Germany, there is a label that could help you catch the most sustainable venues, it’s called The Green Club Label.  This certification program lists energy-efficient clubs in the country. Among other things, a club consumes about 120,000 kWh of electricity per year. This is the equivalent of the annual consumption of more than 30 three-person households. The potential for savings in this area is therefore high. In fact, 10-20% can almost always be saved on electricity and in some cases savings of up to 50% are possible. This positive statement comes from a one-year pilot project in Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia) with 6 participating clubs in 2011. Plus, all clubs received free individual energy advice and were able to save considerable amounts of energy and money in some cases. This label shows us the benefits to work with experts, and associations and joining movements.

“Thanks to the advice, measures have been initiated that will save a total of almost 83,000 kWh of electricity (in all clubs) and 19,000 kWh of heat (by the end of 2012) and thus save about 63 tons of CO 2 for the climate. This resulted in a cost reduction of about 26,000 €. In addition, three clubs” – Green Club Index

Some examples of sustainable clubs: Rote Sonne and Glockenbachwerkstatt in Munich, Jazzkeller Cotton Club in Hamburg, and Gloria in Köln.

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The Glockenbachwerkstatt & and Rote Sonne Clubs in Munich

Earlier, in April 2021, the world’s leading live entertainment company launched LIVE NATION launched “The Green Nation Touring Program” They target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 and to end the sale of single-use plastics at their venues and festivals.

“The Green Nation Touring Program will allow Live Nation to help artists adopt and scale sustainable touring practices that prioritize people and planet. “

Live Nation Sets Sustainability Goals For Concerts And Live Events As Part  Of Ongoing Green Nation Program - Live Nation Entertainment


  • Passive behavior > Active behavior
  • To raise awareness among people in the music industry and the audience, in order to fight for measures to be adopted at the international level by decision-makers. 
  • The better we know about a subject, the best we can help and act.
  • Make this issue clearer and less complex to understand

“Art go very well with protest and are formidable weapons for communicating a message, especially one that is hard to hear.” Naomi Klein

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People come to music events to have fun. It is not uncommon for some to rave following the ”YOLO principle”, meaning that they leave their responsibilities behind them, and throw waste anywhere with the sensation that they are out of their daily life. They feel they are in another society where everything is allowed. They can do what they wouldn’t do in the streets. They see the venue as a free space, excluded from society. There are big improvements to be made on this side, that’s why, to sensitize them, a festival can be a great hub. To accomplish this, we must strengthen communication and measures taken by club and festival events, both on-site and on social media. Promoters propose conferences and talks during the festival. We Love Green has a stage dedicated to it and sometimes, during a change of artists on the main stage, a speaker comes quickly to speak about environmental issues. Let It Roll has a special booth. Dour used to do it but realized that it was not worth it because only a few people came to that booth.

As for Tomorrowland, they just launched one of the biggest sustainability platforms regarding climate change. It’s called the “Love Tomorrow Conference”, with speakers like Yuval Noah Harari (author of international best-seller ‘Sapiens’) and Nadine Bongaerts (synthetic biologist). The first edition of the Love Tomorrow Conference took place on 28 July 2022, right before the start of Tomorrowland’s third festival weekend.

You can watch all the talks here.

“To the ecological system, we shouldn’t put too much trust in IA, computers, and new technology to solve it. Yes, we should rely on them, we should get help from them, but we shouldn’t shift responsibility to them. They aren’t the solutions in themselves. Ultimately the solution is political, not technological. Technologie is just a tool”Yuval Noah Harari


  • Transparency: communicate data, and your improvements, in order to inspire others. We Love Green is one of the first festivals to put public its list of green partnerships, associations, and actors who contributed to making it happen. Their goal was, indeed, to encourage other organizers to change. Climate change is not a competition, it’s a race where we are all together, fighting against present and upcoming challenges. 

  • Valuing responsible behaviors. Actually, our society tends to make us materialists. The more I own, the best I feel, and this concept comes from the modern industrial era where the quest for meaning was to find happiness through material prosperity.  We must put a value on sustainable behavior and inverse this trend. Thus, being eco-resilient will be what society rewards. (6)

TO SUM UP (copy-paste this on a note on your phone)

On our pollution podium, we have:

  1. Transportation
  2. Wastes
  3. Food

Festivals & events could be

  • Much more sustainable
  • An ecological hub, a moment to raise awareness
  • A lab where organizers can try measures, create data, and improve the events, thus improving the global industry

To make events more sustainable, we need

  1. More transparency towards the impact of events and festivals
  2. Collect data
  3. Work with experts in sustainability
  4. Join sustainable movements, associations
  5. Work with the local communities 
  6. More sobriety and resilience
  7. Rewarding people who have responsible behavior during events and festivals
  8. Time: it’s a progression, a constant improvement 
  9. Be responsible about how we behave 
  10. Communicate much more about the subject in order for everyone to become aware of the alarming situation
  11. Sustainable riders? 
  12. More regulations coming from the states


The Climate Music Project
Gex – The Green Europe Experience
Green Touring Guide
Green Music Initiative
About the water crisis
About Food
Boomtown & sustainability


We Love Green X Ozora X Le Cabaret Vert – La Recyclerie
Love Tomorrow Sustainability Conference | Tomorrowland 2022
How music festivals are responding to the climate crisis | Resident Advisor
How much waste do UK Music Festivals produce?
Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation & Vulnerability – Full video
Yuval Noah Harari: The Actual Cost of Preventing Climate Breakdown | TED
This Is What An Eco-Friendly Music Festival Looks Like

(3) Flore Berlinger : “Recyclage, Le Grand Enfumage”
(6) Sébastien Bohler, “Le Bug Humain”