Ecological Sustainability: the European Music Sector takes action!

The global climate crisis has led many organisations from the music sector to act towards a more eco-conscious future. Culture can be a strong driver for positive changes in society. In this article, we highlight ecological initiatives and concrete tools from the live music sector, both at national and European levels.

Why We Need to Change

We are facing a global climate crisis. Because the urgency of it has not been taken very much seriously yet by governments, civil society is finding ways of doing their part to change habits and find alternative ways of living and working to reduce their ecological footprint. Cultural sectors need to make the transition towards a more livable future, which would respect human rights and the planet’s ecosystems.  

When we speak of sustainable development, we envision it through three pillars: social, economic and environmental. Many people argue that culture should be the fourth pillar of sustainability

The Role of Culture in Ecological Transition

Culture is strongly interconnected with our vision and way of life. It indeed has a powerful role to play in ecological transition. The societal impact of culture must not be underestimated. Cultural activities, access to them and participation in them, plays a crucial role in individual and collective emancipation. They can influence our values and behaviours. In his 2017 thesis Social Marketing Through Events (University of Gothenburg), Swedish academic Henrik Jutbring studies the impact on audiences behaviours and values that the music festival Way Out West had when it proposed only vegetarian diets to its festival-goers in 2012. This forced adoption of a new eating behavior stems from a want from festival organisers to reduce their ecological footprints and raise awareness among their audiences on the dramatic ecological impact of meat-consumption. This action has had a tremendous impact on peoples’ values and behaviours: more than 15% of surveyed audience reported to have reduced their meat consumption after the festivals’ initiative. In other words, music events can be a driver for societal change. They can give examples of how to do things differently.

Many cultural organisations are doing things differently and work towards impulsing and facilitating this transition. The objective of this article is to provide a panorama of various initiatives at national and European level which work towards an ecological live music sector. As so many initiatives exist, we will not reach an exhaustivity of projects, organisations and initiatives. We would rather like to present the most active initiatives from our network as well as very concrete tools for live music venues to implement change within their organization and serve as role model for the people which gravitate around them.

List of European projects and actions towards sustainability in the live music sector

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