Carnival Network explore low carbon power & new tech to reduce demand

The newly formed Environmentally Responsible Carnival Network have invited Powerful Thinking to advise their search for alternative solutions to diesel generators. Tim Benson, Chair of the Powerful Thinking working group joined the New Carnival Company organised networking meeting in August 2020 to discuss the process of introducing energy monitoring and exploring the feasibility of battery solutions, whilst also looking at low emissions alternatives to diesel.

In this blog Tim discusses the challenges and possible solutions for energy efficient carnivals and also explores the available tech that can help reduces energy demand in the first place with a review of Minirigs ultra efficient sound systems, and Swiss start up, Belair Technology’s battery powered amplifier solutions.

Last month I was invited to participate in an online meeting of the new Environmentally Responsible Carnival Network hosted by the New Carnival Company CIC to discuss how they could introduce energy efficiency measures at their events. From listening to membership, it soon became apparent that carnivals present their own very unique set of challenges when planning for power – no two sound systems are the same, they are generally built with volume in mind rather than efficiency, there is little to no hard data on expected load profiles, and weight and footprint of power management systems is key. However, what soon became clear was that there is a very real appetite amongst the carnival community for finding alternative solutions to diesel generators. To this end, Powerful Thinking will be working with them to introduce energy monitoring and to explore the feasibility of introducing battery solutions for some applications, whilst also looking at low emissions alternatives to diesel.

Fundamental to improving energy efficiency is, of course, reducing demand in the first place. Cue Minirig whose Bristol based team are specialists in designing and fabricating bespoke ultra energy efficient sound systems. They were responsible for fitting out the Arcadia Bug with a 6,000W 12V system that was capable of delivering sufficient audio output with all of Minirig’s renowned fidelity, yet with only a fraction of the power requirements of more conventional 230V systems.

Belair Technology, a Swiss start up, has also been successfully beta-testing their battery powered amplifier solutions with Void and Function-1 speaker cabs. Their hot swappable and modular 2kWh power banks, that feature up-cycled lithium batteries, a 500W inverter system to power DJ outboard and the capability to be both smart-networked with Nissan EVs and trickle charged from solar PV, offer a 100% integrated off-grid PA solution.

If one positive thing has emerged from the current Covid-19 crises, it is that we have had a chance to pause & explore new possibilities for greater technological convergence. As a result, we are beginning to see integrated solutions that combine energy autonomy with high-end performance, which can only be a positive step when reimagining the future of sustainable events.

This blog was first shown in the Vision:2025 September 2020 newsletter. Sign up to receive monthly event sustainability news, case studies and guest blogs direct to your inbox using the form in the footer of