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