Monthly Archives: August 2011

Busy Busy at Germany’s Green Music Initiative

Our friends at the Green Music Initiative in Germany have had a busy summer and sent us an update of what they have been up to – and some future plans – and we thought we could share this with you.

First of all GMI hosted a special dinner a the Melt! Festival and you can see two short videos about a greener Melt! and the green Melt! dinner here and here

GMI have also been interviewing artists at festivals which as they say can “can lead to funny answers (Even more when you ask about Climate Change…)” and you can catch up with Harry McVeigh (White Lies) | JD Samson (Men, Le Tigre) | Monarchy | Nicolas Jaar | Architecture in Helsinki | FM Belfast | Gary Barber (Is Tropical) | Junip (José González) | Retro Stefson | Everything Everything | Little Dragon | Miss Kittin | We Have Band | Âme | Bodi Bill | King Kong Kicks | M.A.N.D.Y. | Alec Empire | Apparat Band | Housemeister | Kiki here

Don’t forget the Berlin Music Week: From September 7th to 11th Berlin Music Week will take place again with Popkomm Business Fair, Alltogether Now conference, Berlin Festival, XBerg Club, What’s Up Mitte, Kulturbrauerei, New Music Awards and many more events to move and groove lovely Berlin – and GMI are an official partner for the Berkin Music Week

And finally GMI will be involved again with Green Events Europe which will take place in Bonn on November 2nd and 3rd 2011 hosted by our friends from the RhineKultur festival. And A Greener Festival will be there too! More at (German)  and (English)


Gibson faces ebony investigation in US

Guitar maker Gibson is the target of a federal investigation in the United States of America over allegations that endangered tropical hardwoods have been used to make guitars. The company strongly denies the claims. The authorities say they may charge Gibson with illegally importing ebony from India but Gibson’s Chief executive, Henry Juskiewicz, said “we will fight aggressively to prove our innocence”.  In 2009 guitars and pallets of wood were seized at Gibson according to the Times newpaper.

Another guitar maker, C F Martin and Sons have described the difficulty in getting musicians to switch to instruments mad from sustainable materials.  Numerous countries have laws that prevent the use of endangered plants and timber.

New book on green events launches

A new textbook covering the exciting new world of sustainable meetings, conferences, exhibitions, festivals and events has been written by Sam Goldblatt and features interviews with over 50 industry leaders around the world in order to put together a global perspective on sustainable practices for the events and entertainment industries. And not only does The Complete Guide to Greener Meetings and Events feature over 30 fabulous full-colour photos, it is printed with ink containing soy content on paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and is bound with 85% pre-consumer recycled fibre! You can buy the book here and find out more at and on Facebook:


Beans to the left, rhubarb to the right!

Two years ago I was allocated one tenth of a field just outside the town where I live which was overgrown with weeds, waterlogged (at the time – there had been floods!) and a complete mess. A local environmental  group were really instrumental in getting the Town Council to find more space for allotments (as there was a long long waiting list for the only available  ite) and they succeeded. So in October 2009 a field was found and rented and after a winter spent clearing the field, ploughing (thanks to a very kind farmer), laying drains, rotavating, digging and taking out vast quantities of rocks and rubbish (the field was rocky anyway and used to dump waste material from the nearby bypass) it’s amazing what a lot of hard work, wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow full of horse manure, home made compost and quite a lot of rain can achieve! 2010 was a planting year really – spuds to break up the soil and putting in plants things like raspberry bushes, strawberry plants and rhubarb. And lots of weeding.  Lots and lots of weeding. And just a few things to nibble on!

But now it Is all paying off and my allotment is now (in its second year) finally providing more than enough vegetables and fruits – and as ever – its give away time! I don’t use any pesticides or weedkillers and try and I grow everything organically – and here’s a tip – its amazing what you can find on Freecycle – the old scaffolding plants for my raised beds, a roll of chicken wire for my compost bins and a vanfull of sand to improve the soli were all free! And my builder friend Darren (guitarist with The Grip) helped me go skip raiding (with permission!) for old wooden flagstone crates which make perfect compost bins (and suggested the pun for the headline here)! He gets paid in veggies for his voluntary work!

And now its just great to have home grown courgettes, cabbages, lettuces, rhubarb, potatoes and runner beans all available fresh daily –  along with the last of the peas and  broad
beans where the crop is just ending now. Still to go – onions, celery, chard, pumpkins and more cabbages and NEXT year some lovely looking asparagus, which sadly I can’t touch this year as I need to wait whilst the root system strengthens. Also on the menu –  if you leave courgettes for too long they basically turn into marrows! Now sadly gone (and eaten!) are the strawberries and gooseberries, with just a few rasberries left now this year – but with newly planted blackberry bushes looking like they will be productive too! I even put in some sunflowers I was given (thanks Jo!) which are now enormous and buzzing with bumble bees.

Its been amazing to see the transformation of a field into allotment gardens – and not without problems I have to admit – but now its great to reap the harvest!


Important wildlife habitats for seabirds such as puffins  and razorbills will be put at risk if oil drilling is allowed of the UK coast according to the RSPB.  The RSPB is concerned that the latest round of oil and gas exploration could lead to drilling just a few miles of the UK’s coast.

IKEA, the world’s largest furniture retailer, has installed 39,000 solar panels on the rooftops of its UK stores as part of its goal to derive all of its energy from renewable sources.  While  the Swedish retailer has not set a deadline for using 100% renewable energy, it could reach 80% of its target by 2015.

Military land across the United States is to be opened up for private investors to install renewable energy infrastructure.  The US army said it would be seeking private investors to back ‘large scale’ renewable energy projects on its land to increase energy security, save money, generate revenues, meet federal targets and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Durham University Solar Car students will be setting off on a sun-powered adventure this autumn when they take part in the World Solar Challenge. Using nothing but solar power, the DUSC team will travel 1,864 miles (3,000km) from Darwin in the north of Australia to Adelaide in the south. reports that whilst algae may be a good future source of energy. the environmental issues it causes could mean it’ll never be used on a large scale. New research from the New University of Virginia in the US found that algae-based fuels could produce ‘high’ energy outputs with minimal land  use, but their production could also come with ‘significant environmental burdens’.

The UK’s Environment Agency has cut its carbon emissions by almost a fifth since 2006-7, including reducing its office waste by 18% and sending 66% less to landfill.  New figures in
the agency’s first internal environment management update show that during the past five years, the organisation has also reduced its mileage by 33%, clamped down on building energy consumption by 15% and reduced mains water use by 18%. The agency measures its environmental performance in five key areas, with ambitious 2015 targets set for each. One of these is to reduce CO2 emissions by 33% by 2015 from 2006-7 levels.

News comes to us from Sam Goldblatt that his new book,  The Complete Guide to Greener Meetings and Events will be available in print this September. You can find out more here on his blog: and on Facebook:

US based Sustainable Waves and Kleege Industries have partnered to build the largest solar powered hybrid stage in the USA. The stage is a Stageline SL250 integrating a 4.83-ilowatt (4830 watts) solar array, which supplies sunlight to (2) 800 amp batteries totaling 1600 amps of storage. The array powers (4) Outback Systems Inverters pumping 120 amps of power at 120 Volts. The stage also houses a 10 KW bio-diesel generator equipped with an auto start feature making this stage 100% self-contained.

Five dead in Pukklepop tragedy

At least five people have died and many more injured at the 60,000 capacity Pukklepop Festival in Belgium after a storm swept through the popular open-air music festival in the town of Hasselt, 50 miles east of Brussels. The storm hit the site in the late afternoon on Thursday 18th August. Concertgoers described scenes of panic as the sky darkened, the winds whipped, rain poured, hailstones nearly half an inch across pelted the crowds, and concert structures buckled. The worst affected area was the Chateau Stage which collapsed as the Smith Westerns began their set.  Lead singer Cullen Omori  told Pitchfork: “We had just finished the first song of our set at Pukkelpop when the stage/tent started shaking. We simply thought it was a storm passing through. I made a comment about Cheap Trick, and we were about to play the next one, when our tour manager yelled at me to run off the stage. Right then the tress collapsed one foot in front of Max. At this point we thought only the stage broke, not the tent. Amid the chaos it was hard to tell exactly what had happened, but after the rescue teams started coming in it became clear that there were severe injuries and we are now being told there are reports of multiple deaths. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families who lost loved ones in today’s tragedy”.

Hugo Simons, Hasselt’s head of emergency medical planning, told VRT radio that three people had died, 11 had been severely injured and 60 had sustained light injuries as a result of the storm and the numbers have since moved upwards. Ambulances ferried the seriously injured to nearby hospitals. Some of those lightly injured were being treated at a local sports complex. More than 20 ambulances were dispatched to the festival ground. Dutch NOS television reporter Rick Hoogkamp, who was attending the concert Thursday, said several tents collapsed. An AP reporter saw concession stands blown down and a large food tent spread across the ground. Initially only the remainder of Thursday’s shows, including Foo Fighters’ headline performance, were cancelled, but as the death toll rose and the extent of the damage became clearer, organisers decided to call off the whole event and Chokri Mahassine, the organiser of the festival who is a MEP initially said, “We have for now put the festival on hold until we understand the situation completely” Then confirmed the event’s cancellation saying “Pukkelpop is in deep mourning. We truly sympathise with the families and friends of the victims. Words are not enough. We have struggled with the [initial] decision to continue the festival. Therefore we have decided to cancel Pukkelpop 2011. What has happened is very exceptional and could not have been predicted. We are deeply moved by all the spontaneous support the festival goers and the organisation have received … We ask everyone to understand that this decision was extremely difficult to make”. The news follows on from the disaster at the Indiana State Fair in the US on Saturday when a storm hit just before country stars Sugarland were due to perform on the event’s Hoosier Lottery Grandstand stage killing five and injuring dozens more, and a stage collapse during a storm whilst Cheap Trick were onstage at the Ottawa Bluesfest in July

Video here here

Sunrise Off Grid – turn off, switch on!