Sustainability at mega-festivals in Europe. The status quo & recommendations.

Sustainability at mega-festivals in Europe. The status quo & recommendations.



Mega music festivals are increasing in popularity and number (Brennan-Horley, Connell, & Gibson 2007) and with it, the concern about their impact on the environment, the economy, and society/culture increases. The current impact seems more negative as festivals tend to have an enormous ecological footprint (David 2009), are losing cultural value due to commercialization (Arcodia & Whitford 2006) and, can cause over-consumption and increased criminality in the host communities (Getz 1997; Smith 2009). Fortunately, festivals have an enormous potential to positively influence the overall sustainability of the region, its audience, suppliers and employees as music festivals are excellent opportunities for transformative learning because they are sources of powerful, soulful and sometimes mystifying experiences (Stettler 2011). ‘Music is one of the most powerful mediums to communicate environmental awareness to billions of people worldwide - irrespective of race, religion, income, gender or age’ (Jones & Scanlon 2010, 4). This research paper has analyzed the sustainable performance of three mega music festivals, using the triple-bottom-line definition of sustainability that includes environmental, economic, and social sustainability. The status quo of the festivals has been analyzed against 10 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from which it can be concluded that festivals are facing the above-mentioned challenges but are actively trying to become more sustainable by focusing on a couple of SDGs. Festivals could use their role in society more to influence their stakeholders and the music industry in general to become more sustainable. Based on these results, specific SDG recommendations, general recommendations and financing recommendations are provided for mega-festivals to advance on their sustainability journey. The general recommendations focus on monitoring all data, establishing a clear strategy, urgency and goals, and communicating these goals and its importance to the festival’s stakeholders.

Publication Date



Valencia (Spain) Campus

Sustainability at mega-festivals in Europe. The status quo & recommendations.