Sustainability at Music festivals: the importance of visitor engagement

blog ppe header (1)

Music festivals are a celebration of music, art, culture, and community. However, the environmental impact of these events is often significant, with large amounts of waste, high energy consumption, and substantial carbon footprints. As awareness of environmental issues grows, the need for sustainability in music festivals has become increasingly important.

A crucial aspect of this sustainability effort is the engagement of visitors, making them active participants in the cause. The most important aspect is making them part of the solution rather than part of the problem. This article explores the importance of visitor engagement in sustainability at music festivals and how utilizing various media, especially social media and websites, can foster this engagement.

The role of sustainability in music festivals

At music festivals, large numbers of people gather in a relatively small space for a considerable amount of time. This inherently generates a significant environmental footprint. Factors contributing to this include waste generation, energy consumption, and carbon emissions from transportation. Without proper management, these factors can lead to substantial environmental degradation.

To mitigate these impacts, music festivals are increasingly adopting sustainable practices and appointing dedicated sustainability managers. Responsibilities of a sustainability manager at the event include designing and implementing sustainable practices, educating both staff and attendees, and continuously assessing the effectiveness of festival efforts.

To evaluate our sustainability measures at AtoJazz Festival, we utilize the Planet Positive Event methodology, which combines ESRS Standards and Carbon Footprint Measurement, providing a comprehensive framework for assessing environmental impact and guiding improvement efforts.

Sustainable practices at the festival include waste reduction and recycling, energy efficiency, and carbon offset initiatives. While these measures are crucial, their success largely depends on the participation and cooperation of the festival-goers.

social media communication with the visitors reusable

Engaging visitors in any festival’s sustainability efforts is vital for several reasons:

  • awareness and education: educating attendees about the environmental impact of festivals and the importance of sustainable practices helps foster a culture of responsibility and mindfulness.
  • behavioural change: encouraging visitors to adopt sustainable behaviors, such as proper waste disposal and using public transportation, can significantly reduce the environmental footprint of the event.
  • community building: creating a sense of community and shared responsibility enhances the overall festival experience and promotes long-term commitment to sustainability.

To effectively engage visitors in sustainability efforts, music festivals can use various strategies such as social media, websites, and on-site promotional tools.

Social media: social media platforms offer powerful tools for engaging with attendees before, during, and after the festival. Pre-festival campaigns can share information about the festival’s sustainability initiatives, educate attendees on how they can contribute, and build excitement around being part of a green event. Interactive content, such as quizzes, challenges, and polls related to sustainability, can encourage attendees to share their own tips and experiences using dedicated hashtags. During the festival, real-time updates on sustainability efforts, such as the amount of waste recycled or energy saved, can highlight individual and group contributions to reinforce positive behavior.


Websites: a festival’s website is a central hub for information and can be a valuable resource for promoting sustainability. Creating a dedicated sustainability section focused on the festival’s initiatives is essential. This section should include detailed information on waste management, energy use, and carbon offset projects. Visitor guides and resources, such as downloadable guides that emphasize reusable items and tips for minimizing waste, can help attendees prepare for the festival. Incorporating interactive features like carbon footprint calculators and sustainability pledges allows visitors to track their own impact and set personal goals for the festival.


Effective sustainability practices at a festival also require clear communication with various stakeholders, including vendors, the production team, and accommodation providers for the artists.

  • vendors: clear guidelines on waste management and the use of sustainable materials can ensure vendors contribute to the festival’s green goals.
  • production team: collaboration with the production team to use energy-efficient equipment and renewable energy sources is crucial.
  • accommodation providers: ensuring that accommodations for artists adhere to sustainability standards can further reduce the festival’s environmental impact.
  • transport information: providing detailed information about sustainable transport options to the festival can encourage attendees to choose eco-friendly travel methods, reducing the overall carbon footprint.


Engaging visitors in sustainability efforts is an ongoing process that requires continuous evaluation and improvement. Gathering feedback from attendees on the effectiveness of sustainability initiatives and their overall experience is essential. Analyzing data on waste reduction, energy consumption, and carbon offset helps assess the impact of these efforts, allowing for comparison with previous years and identification of areas for improvement. The Planet Positive Event program provides a structured approach to this evaluation, offering benchmarks and metrics to guide our sustainability efforts. Transparent reporting of the results builds trust and demonstrates the festival’s commitment to environmental responsibility.

Sustainability at music festivals is a collective effort that hinges on the active participation of visitors. By effectively engaging attendees through social media, websites, and other channels, festivals can foster a culture of sustainability that enhances the event experience and contributes to the broader goal of environmental stewardship.

As the Sustainability Manager for the MetalDays Festival in Slovenia and at the AtoJazz Festival in Sofia, I have seen firsthand the positive impact that informed and engaged attendees can have. Utilizing the Planet Positive Event program has further strengthened our ability to assess and improve our sustainability practices. As festival-goers become more aware and involved, the positive impact of these events will continue to grow, paving the way for a greener future in the world of music and beyond.

ppe green team (5)

Author: Nika Brunet Milunovič, Freelance event organizer