"We are at an exciting moment in time. Humankind faces an unprecedented challenge to repair and sustain social and ecological systems. As more and more people wake up to this, increasing pressure is put on all aspects of society to become more sustainable. Music festivals are in a unique position to respond to this need."
Rock On! Team 2007
Every day we hear advice on how to be more sustainable as individuals but what would it take for collective action such as holding a sustainable event? That question is what drove Sarah Brooks (Canada), Dan O'Halloran (Australia) and Alex Magnin (France) - pictured above - to study event management as their thesis topic within the MSLS programme in 2007. And with the recent focus on global concerts specifically intended to address sustainability issues (e.g 'Live 8' and 'Live Earth'), what better time to focus on the net impact of music festivals in society?
Looking through the lens of the framework for strategic sustainable development taught within the MSLS programme, they used a systems perspective to examine the actions various stakeholders - artists, audience, organizers and suppliers - can take to create more sustainable music festivals. The Australian-based 'Homebake' musical festival was used as a case study, allowing the trio to work in close cooperation with an event organizer to achieve tangible benefits on one hand, and practical testing of sustainability concepts on the other.
In addition to their thesis, a practical output from their research is a guidebook that has wide appeal to those interested or involved in musical festivals. They've also gone a step further by creating a website to promote their research!
Below you can read more from the group, visit their site, or contact them directly to assist make your next event more sustainable.
Dear friends and colleagues,
We hope this finds you well. As many of you know, we have recently completed our thesis work on bringing strategic sustainable development to music festivals. Part of our work involved the production of a practical guidebook for festival organizers interested in moving their events toward sustainability. Feedback from festival organizers and sustainability experts has been very positive and we have been encouraged to make our guidebook available to as wide an audience as possible.
The Sustainable Music Festival: A strategic guide is now freely available for downloading in both French and English at
Please feel free to distribute both the guidebook and the website to anyone you feel might be interested! We hope that the guidebook will make a positive difference on the road to sustainability.
We send our best wishes to each and every one of you.
Rock On! Team 2007