Up until March 2020, festival and outdoor events were flourishing across the Europe as citizens sought unique cultural experiences in the company of others. And then, quite dramatically, the sector was brought to a complete halt. Festivals, concerts and popular events were part of the most effected industries within the Corona crisis. They were the first to be closed or banned and they were the last to re-open. The European festival market was forecast to rise from 2.3 billion euros in 2016 to 4.1 billion euros in 2020. It encompasses a wide spectrum of festival types – outdoor events, Music events, cultural events, conferences and meetings, exhibition and trade fairs, corporate hospitality and corporate events and sporting events.
However, what is good for the economy is not so for the environment. Festivals and outdoor events have huge ecological footprints: they consume energy, water, food, materials and produce waste and carbon emissions. Faced with the ambitious climate and environmental goals proposed by the EU Green Deal to 1) reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050; 2) de-couple economic growth from resource use, and 3) ensure no person and no place is left behind, every sector of the economy and society will have to increase efforts and play their part.
Our sector has been faced with the biggest challenge imaginable. With thousands of events across Europe cancelled, we were in a time of unprecedented uncertainty, the future of the festivals sector looked bleak due to the ongoing pandemic.
Future Festival Tools brought festival organisations together to work on the future of the sector at the most challenging time we have faced.
Our project introduces a new methodology for training festival/outdoor events’ professionals in environmental competences, so they can adopt new business models and reduce the environmental impact of their events.
The first tangible results of the project will be the intellectual outputs (resources):
IO1 Self-Assessment Tool. An online tool that raises awareness by enabling users to rate current performance in six key practical areas, linked to the policy themes of the EU Green Deal
IO2 Best Practice Compendium (Inspirational Green Festival Stories) A set of examples of sustainable festivals in practice alongside interpretation and analysis which introduces professionals, stakeholders and VET trainers to the scope and scale of sustainable practices, and persuade them to go further.
IO3 Online Course. A comprehensive, user-friendly e-learning course which provides a robust knowledge base in sustainable business practice and climate action, and develops users’ skills to act sustainably and lead change in six key areas: energy, waste, food, water, travel, and governance.
IO4 Trainers’ Handbook. Contains a curriculum of the course structure and learning objectives covered in the online course and additional guidance on adapting the Self-Assessment Tool, Best Practice Compendium and Online course for classroom use with students of events management, hospitality and related disciplines.
On completion of our Future Festival Tools project, we will have enabled current and future generations of festival and events’ professionals to improve their competences in relation to climate action and forward-thinking approaches to sustainable business/entrepreneurship. The long-term result will be a reduction in the environmental impact of the events sector and improved progress towards the national and European climate goals while ensuring that sector personnel are better equipped to deal with business planning for the future.