Fossil Fuel subsidies to be removed for Event Sector

In the UK Budget on 11th March it was announced that subsidies for red diesel will be scrapped for the entertainment sector, amongst others. The Government has however committed to consulting with affected sectors over the summer. This will impact most outdoor events that use generators and onsite plant with fuel cost rises of up to 50%. 

The industry is already on a journey toward smarter energy planning, better fuel efficiency and using alternative fuels such as HVO: between 2016 and 2019 Powerful Thinking’s Industry Green survey recorded an increase in events who are monitoring their fuel use, from 53% to 80%, monitoring generator loads rose from 44% in 2016 to 68% in 2019, and the number of events working with suppliers to increase energy efficiency and reduce fuel usage has doubled from 27% in 2016 to 56% in 2019.

With 2 years to adapt to this change, and the knowledge that typically outdoor events can reduce fuel consumption by 40% by working with their suppliers to make simple changes such as more detailed planning, there is an opportunity to reduce the financial impact of this change and take the steps needed to reduce fossil fuel emissions. 

Alternative fuels such as HVO and HOV are increasingly available and are ‘drop-in key solutions’. Other technologies such as hydrogen fuel cells, hydrogen generators, hybrid generators and battery technology are also becoming more available and cost-effective in the events market.

To learn more about alternative technologies and managing energy efficiently to reduce fuel costs and emissions, you can use Powerful Thinking’s free-to-access Energy Knowledge Hub – Europe’s leading knowledge base on sustainable energy at outdoor events.

Beyond Covid-19: Let’s Build a Better New Normal

As a community of festivals, suppliers and industry organisations we are facing an unprecedented challenge. This is not the last significant challenge we will face, as the wider environmental crisis evolves. Let’s make this hardship count, build a better ‘new normal’ based on collaboration, resilience, and respect for life and the ecosystems that support us.

In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, we acknowledge the hardship this is causing for individuals and the catastrophic effects the crisis is having on the outdoor event sector, along with societies nationally and globally. As a community of festivals, suppliers and industry organisations, the Vision:2025 members are facing an unprecedented challenge.

We are currently in a state of flux as our situation changes daily and weekly. Many of us are currently in isolation; some are still working, trying our best to protect ourselves, the health system and keep minds busy.

This is not the last significant challenge we will face, as the wider environmental crisis is still evolving. Where we are able, let’s use this unprecedented ‘pivot’ moment in history to be as prepared as we can be to tackle the next crisis, by supporting each other, communicating, learning from the resources we have created together and sharing information. Let’s make this hardship count, build a better new normal, based on collaboration, resilience, and respect for life and the ecosystems that support us.

Stay Safe. Stay Healthy. Stay Home. Stay in touch. 

The Show Must Go On Report and Vision2025 Website Launched

The Second Edition of the festival and outdoor event sustainability report – The Show Must Go On – has revealed the latest industry figures, trends and practices, and is available to download for free now (February 13,2020).

Five years on since the first edition was published, the new report, which has been crowdfunded by the industry, gives an insight into sector sustainability, and reflects the progress made in technologies, materials and operational practices to reduce environmental impacts. Its main chapters, authored by experts in their own fields, cover Governance, Resources and Waste, Water, Food, Energy, Travel and Transport.

The report also marks the launch of an online Knowledge Hub,, a significant free-to-access resource that will feature case studies, briefings and a supplier directory. 

More than 100 festivals and events have made the Vision:2025 pledge and more than 60 suppliers have supported the report.

Chris Johnson, chair of Powerful Thinking and Vision2025, stated: “After a decade of the Powerful Thinking industry steering group, this is a significant step in the journey. The industry has now come together around a vision and has crowdfunded world-leading resources to inspire meaningful action. This has been a huge collaborative effort and our thanks go out to all contributors, including our three ‘Gamechangers’: Festival Republic, Continest and Nordic Wristbands, whose financial support underpinned the process.

“The report is a call to action. Whatever people and organisations have done to date, the time to act and to tackle the climate crisis is now. 

“The Show Must Go On report opens with a clear note framing the climate emergency with an optimistic message – we must act now and ‘We Can Fix It’.”

Alison Tickell, CEO and founder of Julie’s Bicycle, the charity behind Powerful Thinking and Vision 2025, said: “Living within the generous boundaries of our planet’s ecosystems is now the only job in hand. As a creative and events collective, we can bring inspiration and community to this task.”  Visit now to download The Show Must Go On report.

Industry Green Survey releases 5-year headlines

For the last 5 years, Powerful Thinking have been collecting sustainability festival and event data through the annual Industry Green Survey.  The survey does not track a ‘basket of festivals’ data consistently, but does indicate key trends in what sustainable practices festivals are implementing.

Between 50-70 events in the UK have participated in the Industry Green Festival Survey annually for the last five years. This has increasingly included more high capacity events (over 20,000 people) which suggests that sustainability issues are reaching more and more people. 64% of events now measure and address their carbon impacts compared to only 40% in 2015.


Fuel and power

There has been an increase in the number of events which monitor their fuel use from 53% in 2016 to 80% in 2019. There was also an increase in events which monitor generator loads from 44% in 2016 to 68% in 2019. The number of events working with suppliers to increase energy efficiency and reduce fuel usage has doubled from 27% in 2016 to 56% in 2019 and the number of events which receive a post event power consumption report has tripled since 2016 from 15% to 48% in 2019. Great news! Use of biofuel in generators has remained constant at around 20% of events.


The number of events with a grid connection with a green tariff has doubled from 11% in 2016 to 24% in 2019. The number of events that use LED stage lighting has almost doubled from 40% in 2016 to 72% in 2019

Renewable energy

Twice as many events are now using solar energy onsite as they were in 2016 (18% and 36%).



The number of events with recycling systems for public areas has remained fairly constant at between 79 – 88% whereas the number of events with a comprehensive back of house recycling system has increased from 55% to 88%. The number of events which check and verify how their waste and recycling is processed after leaving site has remained constant between 74 – 84% of events from 2015 – 2019. There has been an increase of 30% of events that know what kind of recycling plant their waste goes to from 63% to 96% from 2015 – 2019. There was also an increase in the number of festivals which set recycling targets for their event from 34% in 2015 to 60% in 2019

and a small increase in the number of events that have a strategy to reduce waste and increase recycling from 83% in 2015 to 96% in 2019.


There has been an increase in the number of festivals which have a reuse policy for wood and infrastructure from 51% in 2015 to 80% in 2019.

Food and drink

Events have been working hard on food and drink and there are now 68% of events which have minimum food standards compared to 45% in 2015. Around 60% of events have a sustainable procurement policy and this figure has not significantly changed in the last three years. Cups are a success story with now 76% of events using reusable cups on the festival site as opposed to only 53% in 2015. The number of events that have a green traders award has increased from 21% in 2015 to 36% in 2019.


More festivals are promoting sustainable travel options – 56% in 2016 to 76% in 2019. The number of events offering travel carbon balancing has varied from year to year (25% in 2017, 58% in 2016 and 39% in 2019). This is likely to be because of the different wording of the question in different surveys. More data is needed in the travel sector to make further comparisons.


Lack of time, cost of implementing new measures and inability of contractors to deliver sustainable solutions have remained the three key perceived barriers to sustainability at events. Lack of expertise was also listed as a primary barrier in 2016 but interestingly not in subsequent years which may suggest that people feel more equipped with knowledge to tackle sustainability problems. However in 2019 a primary barrier was a lack of clarity on the right thing to do (as well as difficulty engaging stakeholders).

Accreditation/Festival Vision: 2025/ Engagement

76% of participating organisations were signed up to the Festival Vision: 2025 pledge in 2019 compared to only 51% in 2016 and around 76% of those signed up felt encouraged or inspired to take action as a result of being part of the initiative. The number of organisations using Industry Green (IG) tools to measure their impacts has increased from 32% in 2015 to 54% in 2019. One of the main reasons for not using the IG tools is a lack of data but also a lack of time.

The number of organisations that took part in the survey that have read the Show Must Go On report has increased from 57% to 88% between 2015 – 2019.

The number of participating organisations which entered A Greener Festival Award increased from 21% to 36% and the number of events that area ISO20121 accredited rose from 0% in 2015 to 8% in 2019. The number of participating organisations who were taking part in Julie’s Bicycle IndustryGreen certification remained about the same between 7-12% between 2016 – 2019. The number of participating organisations which are members of Energy Revolution increased from 13% in 2016 to 40% in 2019.

What would help?

Training for a team member or management team, access to case studies and opportunities to share knowledge remain the three main things across the five years that participants felt would help facilitate sustainability action in their organisation.

Sign up to be part of Vision:2025 and receive the full Show Must Go On report on the impacts of the UK events industry and roadmap to reductions:

Show Must Go On report ed.2 previews at The UK Festival Awards

Vision2025 previewed the January launch of the second edition Show Must Go On Report, supported with a new on-line sustainability knowledge hub for the outdoor event sector, at the UK Festival Awards, Dec 6th, 2019.

As the world spirals towards a climate catastrophe The UK Festival Awards organisers backed the festival sustainability initiatives, showcasing a video that detailed plans for a January 2020 launch of the re-edited Show Must Go On Report and a new Vision2025 free to access website giving detailed sustainability knowledge. The report will be free to download from the website, featuring chapters on governance, waste, food, transport / travel and power, giving advice and best practice examples to festival organisers, with the aim to reduce carbon impact by at least 50% by 2025.

A short video shown on the large screen, centre stage at host London’s Troxy, opened with the message “It’s Time to Act”, featuring Festival Republic CEO Melvin Benn, alongside Shambala and Powerful Thinking chair Chris Johnson sending a powerful message to the room. It received a standing ovation from the 700 strong audience, with whom the message to create sustainable events clearly resonated.

Melvin Benn stated:

“Reach out, inspire artists, inspire audiences, lead by example.”

As a long-term supporter of Powerful Thinking, Vision2025 and through pro-active initiatives at Festival Republic’s festival portfolio Melvin has certainly done that.

Chris Johnson commented:

“We need to change the way we do business. Vision2025 is the industry response to the climate crisis.”

Shambala Festival has blazed a trail as sustainability innovators, reducing its carbon footprint by an impressive 90% over the past decade and aims to be carbon positive from next years’ edition, showing it CAN be done.

Any outdoor events looking to embrace the pledge to half their carbon impact by 2025 are invited to visit the website holding page now and sign up to receive a free copy of the new edition of the Show Must Go On Report when it is launched, bringing hope to the new decade.

Industry Green Survey 2019 – The Results are in!

The 64 UK festivals completing the 2019 Industry Green survey, covered a broad range of genres with capacities of less than 1000 to over 50,000. The trends toward more informed energy management continues for UK events, with over half working with their supplier to reduce energy use. 

Waste has also been a focus for events in 2019, with almost all events stating that they now know where their waste goes when it leaves the festival site. Surprisingly only 60% of participants have recycling targets in place. The main barrier identified to implementing new sustainable measures remains cost for 4 out of 5 festivals, with lack of time also significant for half of events. The most popular new measures put in place this season by events are; engaging in new projects to improve sustainability, travel and carbon balancing initiatives, and public-facing campaigns.

An analysis of the Industry Green Survey between 2015 and 2019 – identifying trends in the UK outdoor events industry – will be included in the second-edition Show Must Go On report, due to be published by Powerful Thinking in January 2020. In the meantime, find a summary of the 2019 results below.


  • 72% of festivals use LED festoon lighting and 72% use LED stage lighting
  • 68% of festival monitor generator loads
  • 56% of festivals engaged with the energy supplier in a plan to increase efficiency and/or reduce fuel use
  • Only 24% of festivals charge concessions for their energy use


  • 56% of festivals promote car sharing
  • 48% of festivals charge for car and campervan passes
  • 36% of festival provide dedicated coaches from cities to the festival
  • 40% of festivals use renewably-powered onsite transport
  • 34% of festivals offer some form of carbon balancing – while 57% of festivals currently don’t offer carbon balancing but would consider for some or all of the people involved with the festival 


  • 88% of festivals have recycling systems back of house and 88% have recycling systems in public areas.
  • A whopping 96% of festivals know what type of plant their recycling waste goes to, and 84% of festivals know where all their waste goes after the event. 
  • Whilst 96% have a strategy for reducing waste and increasing recycling, only 60% of festivals have recycling targets
  • 76% of participating festivals use reusable cups

New in 2019

  • 40% festivals have been involved with a program/consultancy/project to improve sustainability in their organisation or event
  • 28% of festivals promoted new sustainable travel options this year or introduced carbon balancing for the first time
  • 36% of festival created a new public engagement campaign on the environment

Vision 2025 celebrates reaching 100 members

Festival Vision 2025, has topped 100 members with the ‘From the Fields’ portfolio joining the festivals pledging to reduce their carbon footprint by 50% by 2025. 

With the Association of Independent Festival (AIF) community gathered in Sheffield for the 2019 AIF Congress to discuss issues ranging from mental health to festival economics, Chris Johnson, Vision 2025 founder, participated in the panel ‘Garden of Eden: A Vision for A Sustainable Industry’, he stated:

“It is time critical that we act now. It’s great to see more members of the festival community engaging to reduce their carbon impact, getting onboard Vision 2025 and seizing the moment to play their part in helping tackle the climate emergency.” 

From the Field portfolio of six festivals includes Kendal Calling, Bluedot and Inner City Electronic, which joins other Vision 2025 members; including Festival Republic’s Download, BBC Proms in the Park, Wireless, Leeds and Reading, along with AIF members such as Shambala, Hay Festival, Manchester Pride and Kew The Music.

Ben Robinson, director at From The Fields, comments:

 “We have initiated many successful sustainable initiatives across our festivals in recent years and we recognise the spirit of collaboration to share and promote knowledge and best practice embodied by Vision 2025.”

The Vision 2025 campaign, run by Industry think-tank Powerful Thinking, recently hosted its third, and most successful, annual conference at the Showman’s Show, attracting over 150 event professionals. The growth in attendees and members reflects the growing number of festivals proactively sharing and exploring best practice around implementing sustainable measures. 

Festival Vision 2025 is currently writing the second edition Show Must Go on Report, set to be published in Jan 2020. This will become an invaluable free to access event sustainability tool alongside an online knowledge hub for outdoor event professionals looking to reduce their carbon impact.

To take the Festival Vision: 2025 pledge to cut environmental impacts of your event visit

Festival Vision2025 Conference: round up

A huge thanks to all who were part of the Festival Vision: 2025 event last week at The Showman’s Show.

It was great to see organisers from diverse event sectors, and many delegates and exhibitors at The Show, joining the conference throughout the day for updates in key areas of sustainability. 

Many thanks to The Showman’s Show for hosting, to Eat to the Beat for the delicious member’s lunch and to Purity Ales for the networking drinks – and of course to all of the speakers and guests who’s knowledge and experience helped put Festival Vision: 2025 in context of climate emergency globally and nationally and offered potential solutions, while also drilling into the day to day onsite challenges of event management and what the future might look like in terms of new event-led initiatives and innovations in the supply chain. 

Many of you have requested the slides from the day. You can download these HERE.

If you would like to carry on the conversation with any of the speakers, guests or delegates or give feedback on the day get in touch at

Useful Contacts from the day:

  • Powerful Thinking re: being part of the forthcoming Show Must Go On report: Chris Johnson
  • Energy Revolution: the charity tackling event travel miles with investment in clean renewable energy:
  • CGA: Audience Attitudes to Sustainability: Charlie Mitchell:
  • Networking drinks by Purity Ales:
  • Members lunch by Eat to the Beat:

Leading International festivals signed ‘Green Deal Circular Festivals’ at ADE Green 2019

ADE Conference 2019 hosted the launch of the Green Deal ‘Circular Festivals’ by the Dutch Minister of Environment Stientje van Veldhoven.

The Green Deal is an initiative of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and Green Events International. The participating festivals collectively committed to sharing knowledge and developing circular solutions for the international event industry.

The participating festivals of Green Deal Cicular Festivals are Amsterdam Open Air, Best Kept Secret, Boardmasters, Body & Soul, Shambala, Boomtown, Down the Rabbit Hole, DGTL, Eurosonic-Noorderslag, Into the Great Wide Open, Lollapalooza Berlin, Lowlands, Mañana Mañana, Milkshake, North Sea Jazz, Roskilde, Shambala, Vierdaagse Feesten, We Love Green and Zwarte Cross.

The organizers collectively want to set the standard for sustainability in the event industry. They strive for circularity in 2025, by developing solutions that can be put into practice by other festivals worldwide. The Green Deal is unique; it is the first time that this many international leading festivals are joining forces for such a cause.

The Dutch Minister of Environment Stientje van Veldhoven stated:

“ We have to stop wasting our resources and focus on circularity. We must reuse materials and turn them into new products. For our planet, for a healthy future. Circularity is our way forward! So, let’s coordinate our efforts, share what we learn and make a difference together.” Paul Schurink of Green Events International adds: “Collaboration is the key to the urgently needed change in how we deal with energy, water, food, mobility, plastic and other materials. And with a combined number of over three million festival visitors we can make an enormous impact.”

Festival Vision:2025 Conference 2019 – PROGRAMME NOW LIVE

The Festival Vision: 2025 conference returns to The Showman’s Show on Wednesday 16th October this year for another afternoon of talks, panels and presentations on event sustainability with industry-leading guests.

It’s a chance for Vision:2025 festival organisers to get together and talk about the successes of the last seasons and look to the opportunities ahead in 2020. This year for the first time sessions will be open to all delegates to The Showman’s Show. Full programme below or download HERE.