Monthly Archives: September 2009

Festivals are a big help to local economies

tn_IMG_7269With Bestival, The End of the Road and Fitz Fest 09 pretty much signaling the end of the UK’s festival season, the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) have published the results of a survey of people who attended their members’ festivals and have crunched some numbers to show just exactly what a huge contribution to both the UK and local economies festivals make. The survey of over three thousand festival goers includes some eye catching stats: In 2009 AIF member festivals (which include Big Chill, WOMAD, Bestival and Glade) attracted 340,000 people, who spent in excess of £139 million (ticket, travel, food, drink), £16.3 million of which was spent in local towns and cities; the non camping festival Evolution is estimated to boost the economy of the twin cities of Newcastle and Gateshead by £2.9 million and Bestival generates around £600,00 0 in extra revenue for Ferry companies every year as 30,000 revelers travel to and from the Isle of Wight. A similar survey carried out by South Mendip District Council in 2008 found that Glastonbury, with its 177,500 capacity, turns over £25 million itself and contributes a further £75 million into Somerset’s economy. AIF member festivals, who range is size from 1,000 at Glasgowbury to 40,000 at Creamfields, generate on average £1 million for local economies; Hugh Phillimore, founder of the Cornbury Festival said “Not only do we fill every B&B, pub and hotel within a 10 mile radius; lots of local shops stay open to benefit from the extra custom. Cornbury not only makes a huge contribution to the local economy but also supports fundraising for local schools, brownies, and scouts”.   The AIF survey also looked at the diversity of entertainment on offer at festivals and discovered that for many punters, music is just a small part of the festival experience and in the case of the Secret Garden Party, 70% spend less than half their time watching bands! Finally the survey looked at the environmental impact of festivals, and looks at how better use of public transport and greater car sharing should be encouraged to further reduce festival s’ carbon footprint.  With audience travel being the greatest source of festivals’ greenhouse gas emissions, attention was also paid to the modes of transport used by festival goers. 60% of respondents travelled by car, of which 44% were travelling with three or more sharing the car journey – a figure festival’s are keen to improve on. Claire O’Neill, AIF general manager and co-founder of A Greener Festival said: “It is clear that independent festivals make a significant contribution not only culturally, but also to the local and UK economy” reinforcing the point that with over 300 festivals taking place in the UK each summer, the economic impact on areas of the UK that might otherwise miss out is immense, especially in the current economic climate.

Big run up to Fitz Fest

ToLatrigg and beyond!

ToLatrigg and beyond!

OK so this year I have been to Glastonbury (total attendance 177,500), Sonisphere (40,000),  Cambridge Folk Festival (10,000) and Y Not (4,000) but none have had such a big run up as Keswick’s Fitz Fest this Saturday (500 expected). Why, well, it’s one of my dreadful puns as Keswick in Cumbria is hosting the Commonwealth Untradistance and Mountain Running Championship 2009 – with runners from ten Commonwealth nations including Canada, Kenya, Australia, New Zealand, India, Scotland, England, Northrn Ireland and Wales competing in some pretty amazing events. There has already been a 24 hour race, and the pictures here are from the ‘uphill only’ race – that’s a race up Skiddaw, at 3053 feet the fourth highest fell (peak) in the Lake District – which took place today (17th Septenber), and a 100KM race tommorrow (Sat 18th) as well as junior and open runs. 

All of a sudden the London Marathon looks like walk in the Park All of a sudden the London Marathon looks like walk in the Park


The organisers of the event are hoping that mountain and ultra distance running will soon be accepted as sports in the Commonwealth Games themselves and then at the Olympic Games. But this year they became have become an established international event in their own right the and have the honour to be the ‘run up’ to Fitz Fest, Keswick’s own musc fetsival which in 2009  features the talents of Water’s Edge, The Deadbeats, the Phil Lewthwaite Band and Obrigado. The Festival is using the same facilities that the Commonwealth racers have been using over the weekend including the ‘all weather’ marquee – a sensible precaution for events just ten miles from the wettest place in England. Tickets are £6 for adults and under 16s get in for just £2.

The men's uphill race leaves Kweswick The men’s uphill race leaves Keswick
We will report back tommorrow or Sunday with news of how Fitz Fest went. A limited number of tickets will be available on the door and we hope to be able to file our final review on 2009 as the UK festival season draws to a close.
Update! Fitz Fest sells out!
Well, we ended the festival season at a fantastic family festival in Fitz Park in Kewick in Cumbria with some great performances and a happy happy crowd!  This is a very local festival – almost everyone walks there, and the bar and food are provided by local suppliers which is good for the overall carbon footprint. Suprise of the night was probably the Dead Beats who put in a corking show.
Fitz Fest 2009 Fitz Fest 2009

Now in Keswick there is a guy who works down the chippy who thinks he’s a pop star – and maybe  maybe he might just be -the Dead Beats  had a great audience reaction – and it would be good to hear some of their own material. Next on were Water’s Edge who played a beautiful set – and as the band are made up of three teachers, there was mass support from the

Dead good .... Dead good ….

younger elements of the audience – and some of the oldies were pretty keen too. The night ended up with a rabble rousing set from Obrigado and then Fitz Fest 2009 was over – and a bigger and even better festival is planned for 2010.  With its Jazz Festival, Comedy Festival and even a flying visit from Eddie Izzard this year Keswick seems to be the place to be!

Miliband finds £4.4 million for wind but BP retreats from renewable power

Free as the wind

Free as the wind

Ed Miliband, the UK Energy & Climate Change Secretary, has announced that the Government will invest £4.4 million in funding for a new factory in the North East producing giant blades for wind turbines. The new plant, which will provide a jobs boost for the region, will be run by Clipper Windpower who aim to make the massive blades for offshore wind turbines – the turbines will be over 175 metres high and weigh 30 tonnes. The announcement, amongst a number of grants and investments into the green economy, was welcomed by Friends of the Earth as “exactly the sort of development the government should be supporting”. The investment is part of a £120 million sum promised for green projects over the next two years. That’s the good news, less encouraging is the news that BP has sold its windfarm operations in India, signaling a further retreat by the oil giant from sustainable energy and a retrenchment as a provider of fossil fuel energy. The company had already closed two solar power plants in Spain and closed an assembly plant in the US axing, 650 jobs in the process. BP says it will concentrate on its wind operations in the USA, saying that in India it is continuing to “actively explore new opportunities and long term material growth options” for its Castrol automotive lubricants and other sectors. The Company was recently awarded a deep water oil exploration licence off the east coast of India although BP says it remains committed to a solar venture with Tata Steel in India. BP’s wind portfolio in the US contains almost 100 projects and a generating capacity of approximately 20,000 MW and the company says it will spend $8 billion in clean energy by 2015 although may cut upcoming budgets.  Finally from the world of business, 180 of the world’s largest investors with collective assets of $13 trillion have called for strong US and international action on climate change at a summit in New York. The summit drew together investment managers from some of the world’s biggest investment funds including HSBC, Schroeders and Henderson and pension funds from the State of California and the State of New York, the BBC and the Church of England. Mindy Lubber, the president of Ceres the green investment network that helped put together the summit said ‘investors are ready to put money into green tech but they are not going to act until the government acts and makes it clear that the right incentives are in place’. In a joint statement the investors supported tougher targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions put forward for negotiation at Copenhagen including cuts by developed countries by 25-40% by 2020.

India will be key player at Copenhagen conference, says Miliband -conference-says-Miliband_18_212_711_202210.html

Copenhagen splits start to appear

power station 3A senior Chinese advisor has said that the country should not be expected to reduce it’s greenhouse gas emissions because this would compromise it’s economic growth. Speaking at the launch of a new report on China’s prospects for low carbon growth, Dai Yande, the Deputy Chief of the Energy Research Institute made it clear that developing nations should not be forced to compromise economic growth because of climate change targets. With the Copenhagen UN summit on climate change fast approaching, China is clearly signalling that it is the developed world that needs to take the lead in reducing greenhouse gas emissions – as it is nations like the USA, members the European Economic Community, Japan and Australia who consume 80% of the world’s resources and create 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.  A co-author of the Report, Professor He Jiankum said that China faced huge obstacles in moving to a low carbon future because it was still developing – and said that “there are a huge number of cities to be built. They will consume a large amount of steel and cement. This means that emissions will not be reduced for some time”.  With massive investments needed for sustainable power sources such as solar and wind power, current projections show that China will increase greenhouse gas emissions to a peak some time in 2030-2035.

India will be key player at Copenhagen conference, says Miliband -conference-says-Miliband_18_212_711_202210.html


Delhi throws down green gauntlet to US by announcing carbon cuts


Mermaid who faces failure

By Ben Webster – The Times 18th Septenber 2009

Green light for Electric cars

gwizzThe UK is trailing behind other European countries in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars – ranking just 16th out of 25 in a survey by campaign group Transport & Environment. The survey shows that many European countries including France, Italy and Denmark are cutting CO2 emissions faster than the UK. At the Frankfurt motor show this week a number of new low carbon cars were launched and the industry is being led by BMW who achieved a 10.2% cut in average emissions from its cars from 2007 levels due mostly to efficiency measures introduced across it’s entire range of cars. By 2015 all European car manufacturers will be required to ensure their average emission is less that 130g/km CO2, and laying down a marker Toyota have said that their new ‘plug in’ version of the hybrid Prius will reduce CO2 emissions from the current 89g/km CO2 to under 60g/km CO2 – and will allow owners to charge up their cars electric power source at home. Other manufacturers introducing new cars included Renault with an electric saloon, The Fluence Zero, a hybrid RCZ from Puegeot and a new hi performance car from Audi – the e-Tron.

The clock ticks are Copenhagen gets closer

bedsAs UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon warns that vital climate change negotiations have stalled, record label The:Hours have announced that they are recording and launching a ‘musical petition’ as part of the ‘tck tck tck’ campaign for climate justice, aiming for a positive outcome from the UN Copenhagen summit this December.The classic 1987 Midnight Oil track ‘Beds Are Burning’ is being re-recorded by a cast of 55 music stars as part of the musical campaign on climate change – and you can check the snippet here – The Copenhagen summit is widely thought to be the last chance to come to a meaningful solution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and climate change on a global level and it seems that Europe and the USA have fundamental disagreements over the structure of the new international treaty that is meant to be agreed in Copenhagen – with Europe wanting to build on the Kyoto Treaty on climate change – and the US wanting to build a new framework – potentially to protect US interests. With the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warning that greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2015 if we are to avoid a 2% plus change in the climate (and therefor reach the ‘tipping point’ of irreversible climate change) leaving  the matter unresolved is simply not an option. Ban told the Guardian “we are deeply concerned that the negotiations are not making much headway. It is absolutely and  crucially important for leaders to demonstrate their political will, leadership, and give a clear political guidelines to negotiators. They should be responsible for the future of this entire humanity”. 

And what are they doing – they are arguing …. and the clock is tck, tck, tcking,  

Beds are Burning factoids

Former Midnight Oil frontman and now Australian Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett says he will not join the 55 celebrities including Simon le Bon in reprising one of Midnight Oil’s greatest hits in the name of climate change. Garrett confirmed he and the band did collaborate with the Geneva-based Global Humanitarian Forum on a revamp of Beds Are Burning, but will not take part in the recording. “The band were obviously aware of it and were happy to contribute to [the song] being reworked,” a spokesman for Mr Garrett said. Celebrities featured include Duran Duran, French Piaf actress Marion Cotillard, Senegalese star Youssou N’dour, heavy metal band Scorpions and Chinese singer Khalil Fong.

The song is a political song about giving native Australian lands back to the Pintupi, who were among the very last people to come in from the desert. These ‘last contact’ people began moving from the Gibson Desert settlements and missions in the 1930s. More were forcibly moved during the 1950s and 1960s to the Papunya settlement. In 1981 they left to return to their own country and established the Kintore Community. It is now a thriving little community with a population of about 400.

Beds are Burning, the first track from Midnight Oil’s 1987 Diesel and Dust album reached #1 in the South African charts, #3 in Holland’s Top 40, #5 in France’s Top 50, number #6 in the UK charts and #17 in the UK Billboard Hot 100.


Japan’s dolphin slaughter begins

we are your friends

we are your friends

I read the Guardian newspaper this morning with growing anger and a sick feeling in my stomach. Titled ‘Flailing fins in emerald sea turned red – Japan’s dolphin hunt begins’ the report details the appalling slaughter of pilot whales and dolphins in Taiji where 100 bottlenose dolphins and 50 pilot whales will be slaughtered – to international condemnation. Over the next six months 2,300 dolphins will be killed by the town’s fishermen – out of Japan’s “quota” of 20,000 dolphins. Read more if you want to (the Guardian newspaper, 15/09/09) and see below – I can’t write any more.,_Wakayama