That was GreenEvents Europe 2014

The GreenEvents Europe Conference in Bonn was a worthy anniversary event. The fifth edition of this unique sustainability related conference for the live music and events industry saw two and a half days of top-level discussions, presentations and exchange.

Pls. download full conference report 2013 here

"It's great to see where we are after five years. And it's good to see that there are more and more people interested in the topic, seeing the urge for greener and more sustainable events all around Europe. It's an honour to provide the special place for them to meet each other" says conference organiser Holger Jan Schmidt (Sounds For Nature Foundation e.V.) referring to almost 120 registered participants from 11 countries attending on nov 3 to 4 at the Wissenschaftszentrum in Bonn/Germany and the booked out pre-conference workshop at the IBIT training center on sun nov 2. "What strikes me most is the enthusiasm of the young people who come to see the bigger players in the field. Students who believe in the message of GreenEvents and push forward new projects. I am a fan of all of them!"

GreenEvents Europe offered 15 very well received high-class sessions on a huge variety of topics - with a special focus on more sustainable food and beverage at events. A few sessions that really made an impact were:

  • the GreenEvents opening featuring the mayor of the city of Bonn, Jürgen Nimptsch, who honoured the five year history of the conference, and key note speaker and documentary director Valentin Thurn ("Tast The Waste"), who gave an intense and remarkable introduction to the conference
  • Sustainable Event Design with speakers from other fields and branches showing new perspectives on service, communication and architectural design
  • the attitude-behaviour gap ?  showing that sessions that involve psychologists and deal with human behaviour really get to the participants.
  • Social Impact - the session showed how far events can go, what they can achieve for society and nature.
  • Food Drinks & Rock'n'Roll - terrific show cases from all over Europe made sure it is possible to provide good food and raise awareness for what is served at events.

Responsibility was a huge topic during the conference and center of the discussions in "The Show must go on" session and the "Elephant Round" that closed day one before an exceptional dinner at the famous restaurant "Strandhaus" in the Old Town of Bonn gave room for even more personal conversation and networking. The famous GreenEvents Dinner was once again presented by Yourope (the European festival association). On day two Karmakitchen delivered an incredible tuesday lunch from so-called "ugly fruits" donated by local farmers - fully organic, almost vegan and completely fabulous. Supported by students from Bonn University and volunteering GreenEvents participants.
The conference started with a completely booked-out workshop in the afternoon of November 2nd at the IBIT class room before the informal and very nice warm-up in the city of Bonn.

GreenEvents Europe was supported and funded by the Foundation for Environment and Development of North Rhine-Westphalia. The conference profited immensely from the contributions of essential partners such as the European festival association YOUROPE and GO Group (Green Operations Europe) - initiated at GreenEvents 2010. Special thanks to the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz).

The 120 participants represented major events like Tollwood Festival (120.000 visitors, Germany), Roskilde Festival (75.000 visitors, Denmark), Exit Festival (45.000 visitors, Serbia), Pukkelpop (60.000 visitors, Belgium), German Protestant Kirchentag (100.000 visitors, Germany), Hurricane Festival (60.000 visitors, Germany), Das Fest (210.000 visitors, Germany) or Pinkpop (60.000 visitors, Netherlands) and institutions such as Julie's Bicycle, WWF, Green Music Initiative, Bucks New University, Bonn University, University of Stuttgart, HafenCity University / TU Hamburg-Harburg, Powerful Thinking, A Greener Festival and 10.000 Hours/ID&T. GreenEvents included guests from Scandinavia, Benelux, United Kingdom, Serbia, France, Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia, Hungary et al. - 11 countries altogether.

GreenEvents Europe 2014 quotes:

"I am pleased with the conference's outcome. The reactions of the participants are once again euphoric. They leave Bonn inspired. What more can I wish for an event like this. And still we have a long way to go with the green issues in the events industry. Touring and venues have a huge potential and should get the motivation from the achievments the festival people made. It is possible and it feels good. And I know what I'm talking about as I was both: festival organizer and employed by a local concert promoter. You  see there's no time to waste. We have another five years to work on this and I am looking forward to it!"
Holger Jan Schmidt, GreenEvents Europe organiser, Sounds For Nature Foundation e.V., Yourope Anchorman for Green Issues

GreenEvents Europe with its topics, the themes and the invited speakers is simply a very high added value for European Festivals. I truly believe that each of us can help to make a change! Festivals are the best platform for this. To create the awareness on issues that are so much human. Enjoying life, a great live performance with a smile and have great healthy food are all parts to become and to be a happy human.
Green issues and especially the topic around food was discussed on a level, where I gained so much knowledge and it would be important to promote the importance to place the food topic in the future on the same level as festival programming. Bon Appétit!
Fruzsina Szép - on behalf of the board of Yourope and Berlin Festival

GreenEvents Europe is an inspirational melting pot of experts stirred around a carefully curated programme of sustainability themes. Something that came up repeatedly throughout this year's conversations is the fundamental importance of spaces to discuss our experiences and ideas, share our problems and solutions, forge new collaborations, and invite others to join in. GreenEvents provides exactly such a space to move us forward and I hope to be back next year!

Chiara Badiali, Julie's Bicycle

I was impressed by the level of the presentations, discussions and attendees. A must attend event for everybody in the (live) music industry working with sustainabillity.
Ruud Berends, Eurosonic Noorderslag


It's hard to believe it's five years since the first Green Events Conference and we've come a long way. This year's theme on food was barely mentioned five years ago. Event organisers are keen to understand not only what is good practise but why some things work and others don't. They want to know more about their audiences and what will motivate them to help make their events more sustainable. This year's conference did all of that. Well done to the team. I'm looking forward to the next five years.
Teresa Moore, Bucks New University & GO Group

"Green" clubs, arenas and festivals are important partners for us regarding climate protection. GreenEvents once again has brought many interesting players to our region - national and international players and those from next door. Thank you!
Verena Müller (Energieagentur NRW/Energy Agency Northrhine-Westphalia)

Inspiring, motivating and very informative! The Green Events conference is a unique opportunity to learn from each other, exchange ideas and network with experts. This year's top issue "food" was well chosen. At festivals, people come together to eat, drin and Rock 'n Roll. Food is so much more than to eat one's fill. It's an attitude  - towards your own body, the environment, fellow creatures and the global community.
Stephanie Weigel, Tollwood Festival

More and more people start to re-think the role of food, and it is great to see that music festivals take the lead to spread the message in the whole society and really live this change. We need a move from the throwaway mentality issueing from the industrial production of food (and culture) to a way of life that is valuing food (and other human beings)!
Valentin Thurn, director of documentaries (?Taste the Waste?)

It was an inspiration and an honour to host the Social Impact of Events and Food, Drink and Rock n Roll sessions at the GEE this year. I have come away with some great ideas to action here in the UK, and look forward to continuing some exciting partnerships forged at the event.
Claire O'Neill, A Greener Festival / Association of Independent Festivals (AIF)

Another inspiring meeting of passionate and knowledgable event professionals who are successfully establishing sustainability as a core principle of their businesses - Green Events has become Europe's pseudo think-tank for innovative green practice in events, providing a space to share ideas, learn and importantly, create new partnerships which help the industry to play a valuable role in shaping a positive future.
Christopher Johnson, Powerful Thinking

In order to tackle the issue of food waste we must involve all stakeholders along the food supply chain and find many creative solutions. This year?s GreenEvents Conference has brought together inspiring people from all over Europe that are already working to find such solutions and reduce food waste in the event and festival industry. The conference has provided all of us with lots of food for thought.
Nadja Flohr, Food Waste Initiative, WWF Deutschland

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