Monthly Archives: February 2013

Competition launched for unsigned UK band to play at top European festival

INmusic1Festival travel specialist eufest has teamed up with one of Europe’s leading music festivals to unearth some hot new talent from the UK. In conjunction with Croatia’s INmusic Festival, the UK-based travel company are inviting unsigned artists and bands to take part in a competition with a truly unmissable prize – an expenses-paid trip to Croatia to perform live at the festival in front of thousands of festivalgoers.

The competition – dubbed ‘All About the Music’ – is open to any unsigned bands or artists from across the UK who write and perform their own material, with the winner being chosen at a live final held at the Leamington Assembly, an award-winning live music venue in the Midlands.

The final in April will be hosted by Ben Challis, the founder of A Greener Festival, and presenter of this year’s European Festival Awards. And with a panel of judges including representatives of Band Crusade – a campaign to get real band music back in the UK charts and INMusic – the event promises to attract a stack of emerging talent.

Bands who want to enter the competition should visit eufest’s website at for full details and terms and conditions.

eufest has been specialising in providing tickets, travel and accommodation for festivals across mainland Europe since 2006. The company works with several of Europe’s leading festivals, including Exit, Melt! and Bilbao BBK Live, as well as a number of smaller events such as Unknown in Croatia, B’ESTFEST Summer Camp in Romania and Latvia’s Positivus.

“As a company, we’ve always been great supporters of the European festival scene, and especially when it comes to working with new or start-up festivals” stated eufest’s Dermot O’Flynn. “But we’re also keen to promote the next generation of emerging acts and give them the opportunity to share their music with a larger audience. Who knows – we could unearth the next big thing.”

inmusicNow in its 8th year, the 30,000 capacity  INmusic is the biggest open-air music festival in Croatia, and was recently named in the Huffington Post’s list of ‘Ten music festivals that will rock the world in 2013’. Acts confirmed for 2013 include the likes of Iggy & the Stooges, NOFX, Arctic Monkeys and Bloc Party, while previous editions have seen acts such as Franz Ferdinand, Jamiroquai, Arcade Fire and Morcheeba wowing the 25,000 crowd.

Band Crusade is a campaigning website which launched last year to find an alternative to the ‘traditional’ X-Factor Christmas number one and achieve recognition for some of the raw talented bands that epitomise the UK’s musical heritage.

Closure of Olympic policing unit could leave the ticketing industry open to criminal exploitation

podiumOperation Podium, which focused on ticket crime during the London 2012 Olympic Games, will close at the end of March. A Metropolitan Police report, analysing findings from the operation, says the closure could “create an environment that allows greater exploitation by ticket fraudsters and touts” and that Operation Podium’s work over the past two years could be lost. The report, called Ticket Crime: Problem Profile, estimates that ticket fraud costs the economy around £40m a year. It says the lack of legislation around ticketing markets encourages “unscrupulous practices, a lack of transparency and fraud”.

It calls for new legislation to outlaw to the unauthorised resale of tickets, which is not currently illegal. The report states: “The loss of a dedicated unit, with well-established relationships and knowledge, means there is no simple policing solution, resulting in increased disenchantment on the part of victims. This clearly places the public at risk.” It adds: “Should the opportunity not be taken to pass legislation outlawing or controlling the resale of tickets, or to impose regulation across the primary and secondary ticket markets, the onus will be on the ticketing industry to regulate itself. Self-regulation is unlikely to be successful, given the current lack of transparency and unscupulous practices by some. The impetus for change may have to come from fans and performers.”

Since launching in 2011, Operation Podium identified more than 200 unauthorised websites and eight fraudulent websites claiming to sell Olympic tickets, when in reality there was only one official site. It has collated a list of over 1,000 UK-based touts, and arrested 220 people for touting London 2012 Olympic tickets.

Nick Downing, detective superintendent and head of Operation Podium, said: “We know that ticket crime is extremely under reported, and there is a lack of public awareness and understanding which means that people find it difficult to distinguish between an authorised, unauthorised or fraudulent websites. For these reasons it is important that ticket crime is properly tackled and the awareness is raised on how the public can take steps to protect themselves from becoming a victim of these crimes.” Jonathan Brown of the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR), said: “This industry has never before benefited from such concentrated work to help uncover criminality and fraud which continue to cause detriment to the ticket buying public.”

Anyone with information or who wishes to report a fraud should contact Action Fraud 24 hours a day, seven days a week via their website (refer to related links section) or telephone reporting is also available on 0300 123 2040 – opening hours apply.

Festival crime conference scheduled for month end

policemanFestival Republic will again host a conference focussing on combating crime at major music events. The annual Crime At Major UK Music Festivals Conference is now in its fifth year, will take place in Reading on 28th February. Representatives from a number of British and Irish festivals, including Festival Republic’s own Reading, Leeds and Latitude festivals, and Download, T In The Park, V Festival, Secret Garden Party, Global Gathering, Womad, Lovebox and Oxegen, along with police chiefs who have major music events in their regions, will meet at the event which aims to share knowledge and best practice to cut down crime rates at festivals. One topic this year will be safety and liaison issues resulting from cancelled events


Soylent_greenAh the great British weekend, time for many British families to clear out the fridge and freezer to remove all traces of horse burger, ready made ‘beef’ lasagne and all other traces of donkey and pony, whilst sniggering teenagers try to locate the kitchen to put the obligatory ASDA or Tesco ‘ding’ meal in the microwave to sample the real ‘Grand National’ experience. If that makes no sense to non-European readers,  over here in the Eurozone, we have only recently discovered the folly of allowing the food industry to convince us that it should be self regulated, with some fairly shocking results for meat eaters. 100% horse and kidney pie anyone? So thanks food industry – what HAVE you been feeding us? Can we now PLEASE have some sort of traceability with suppliers – sustainable suppliers – transparency: I know that’s not what the industry wants but since they seem incapable of doing this right, and we are now all questioning the reliability of our food, I think I now want more UK and EU regulation – not less. I want to know what (or who) I am eating.  Solyent Green is starting to look less like science fiction, and more like a documentary.

ilva-steel-italy-Following years of uncontrolled environmental abuse, in August 2012 judge Patrizia Todisco held that the ILVA steel factory in Taranto, Italy, could not produce steel while it made court-ordered improvements to its processes – because of concerns that pollution was harming the health of the workers and local residents. Court documents say the family owned Riva group hds made numerous unfulfilled pledges to clean up at the site, and company head Emilio Riva had been convicted twice of environmental offences over the past decade. Mortality rates near to the site are 70% above average. Although an Italian court briefly returned Europe’s biggest steel plant to company control after the Italian government intervened to save 20,000 jobs, now the court has authorised the sale of E800 million of steel seized from the plant. Investigating judge Patrizia Todisco made the order after Taranto prosecutors said that they need they be sold before they deteriorated. The steel products had been produced in disregard of previous court orders.

The head of Iberdrola owned Scottish Power has urged the UK Government to turn its attention from nuclear power to wind and gas to keep Britain’s energy supply running – saying that by 2015 the UK will have a energy problem and no new nuclear plants could be built in such a short time frame calling on the Government to “focus on gas and renewables”. For the Uk tpo meet its carbon reduction targets by 2030 most commentators see nuclear, offshore wind, solar and hydro electricity as the major sources of power. reports that energy recovery infrastructure has received a boost with several significant infrastructure developments in the pipeline following contract wins. ENER-G Natural Power has joined forces with Seneca Global Energy to harness energy generation from three landfill sites in the north of England.  ENER-G will design, build, finance, operate and maintain three renewable energy facilities at Seneca’s landfill sites at near Newcastle, Hartlepool and Hull. In total up to 3.8MW of electricity could be generated for export to the grid.  The methane gas will be drawn from the waste through a series of wells and then captured and converted into electricity using technology that will be housed in small soundproofed enclosures. It is hoped the facilities will be operational next month.–Energy-from-waste-contract-news-/nl

A recent YouGov poll commissioned by the Sunday Times has revealed that 78% of people want low carbon sources to power Britain in the future, with nuclear power coming top of the list with 26%. Wind and marine energy came joint-second in the poll, which measured public support for Britain’s future energy needs.  The poll revealed that 18% of respondents supported wind and 18% supported wave and tidal, which was more than three times the support for gas (5%) and nine times the support for coal (2%).

European leaders have agreed to commit 20% of all EU spending to mitigate climate change, following two days of negotiations. Following a two day European Council Summit on the EU Budget, which covers the 2014-2020 period, EU Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard tweeted: “This is really a new way of thinking: climate mainstreaming in concrete numbers, not just words. 20% of all EU spending”

The Green Investment Bank’s (GIB) deputy chairman, Adrian Montague, will be standing down in April this year, the Government has announced.

windturbines_300Wind news! The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has announced that it has invested £50m in five onshore wind farms and one offshore farm.. The money from the Government will go to renewable energy fund, Greencoat UK Wind, where it will be spread out across the wind farms located in areas ranging from Scotland to Kent in the south.  Also, green energy company Ecotricity is carrying out final tests on a micro wind turbine which it claims could be 40% more efficient than similar sized turbines on the market: Siemens has been awarded a contract worth more than €700m (£596m) to supply, install and service 80 wind turbines for an offshore wind farm off the North Coast of Germany: And finally on wind, Plans for up to 22 wind turbines at Heckington Fen in Lincolnshire have been approved by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. The UKs 4th largest onshore wind farm.

A new technology that harnesses the power of bacteria could transform wastewater from an “expensive problem” to a sustainable source of hydrogen and valuable chemicals, according to a new report. Pilot studies have indicated that energy captured by the technology, known as bioelectrochemical systems, as hydrogen can greatly offset, or exceed, the energy needed to initiate the process.  Electrically-active microorganisms in bioelectrochemical systems can remove contaminants from wastewater while at the same time produce valuable commodities, such as hydrogen or caustic soda.

Fears have been raised that national recycling rates in England may be flatlining following the release of latest figures from Defra. Statistics for the first quarter of 2012-3 show that six million tonnes (45.5%) of household waste was sent for recycling between April and June 2012 – just 0.5 percentage points higher than the same period the previous year.  Meanwhile the use of incineration with energy recovery increased by over 20% to 1.3 million tonnes, suggesting that councils are struggling to move their waste management activities up the hierarchy.

us-high-speed-rail-map.The dream of high speed rail in the United States is very, very slowly moving forward. But what if we permit ourselves to dream? Alfred Twu, a high-speed rail activist and mapmaker, has created the map above, showing what a cross-country high-speed rail network might look like in the United States. More on Treehugger here .

Liora Lassalle, the winner of this year’s sustainable fashion award, the Estethica / Veolia Re-Source competition, will launch her first collection during London Fashion Week February 15 – 19 2013. Lassalle has produced an upcycled capsule collection supported by a mentoring programme sponsored by recycling and waste management company Veolia.

It seems the awful Donald Trump wants to build another golf course in Aberdeenshire in Scotland.  

Beijing is currently covered in a think blanket of smog as pollution hits record levels – with China’s residents now asking if they are paying for economic growth with their health. Its being called the ‘airpocalyspse’ or the ‘airmaggedon‘ – one day pollution levels were 30 times higher than World Health Organisation highest safe levels. The WHO says that air pollution accounts for 2 million deaths each year – over 60% in Asia.

“We can believe the superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen, were all just coincidences. Or we can believe the over whelming judgment of science and act”. President Obama.

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Irish festivals get green help has been set up to provide Irish festivals, events and destinations with support materials and guidance to help them go green. The experience and know-how already developed by participating events and local authorities is made available for free so that others can take the step towards more sustainable fun. The website also aims to support and promote the many festivals, events and destinations that have already gone down the green route, and to allow discerning participants to sustain these environmentally friendly celebrations of what it is to be Irish.

Ireland is famous for world-class festivals, events and destinations. Several thousand of these are happening all over the country, 52 weeks of the year. While they provide major social, financial and cultural benefits to Ireland’s people, they can also have significant environmental impacts. The aim of Green Your Festival it to reduce this environmental impact, and many events and destinations have already been greened in partnership with the local authorities in their regions.

Green Your Festival is the initiative of participating local authorities in Ireland’s Local Authority Prevention network – LAPN –  one of many resource efficiency programmes being implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).


Businesses that are best insulated from energy price shocks will be the most successful, while the most energy efficient economies in Europe will see the most growth, says David Cameron.  Speaking at the official launch of the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) new Energy Efficiency Mission, the Prime Minister said the UK could not afford to overlook green energy. “Far from being a drag on growth, making our energy sources more sustainable, our energy consumption more efficient, and our economy more resilient to energy price shocks – those things are a vital part of the growth and wealth that we need,” he said.

The North East coast of America has been hit by extreme weather as heavy snow and gale force wind pounded the region. More than three feet of snow fell on parts of Connecticut, and more than two feet accumulated on Long Island and in Massachusetts, causing coastal flooding that forced evacuations of some Massachusetts communities. Hundreds of thousands of people shivered without power in the biting cold. Wind gusts of 80 miles per hour cut power lines and toppled trees. After a day of pelting wet snow, five states — New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island — had declared states of emergency, and Massachusetts had banned vehicles from every road in the state.

Campaigners have hailed news from the EU that plans are afoot to reform the Common Fisheries Policy – which currently means hundreds of tonnes of edible fish thrown back into the sea. The European Parliament will pledge to return fish stocks in European waters ti sustainable levels within two years. A Greenpeace spokesperson said “this marks a crucial turning point in the battle to save Europe’s seas from over fishing and protect the livelihoods of fishermen”. The new system would replace fixed quotas which take little heed of fish stocks or scientific advice with ‘maximum sustainable yield’.

bluefin-tunaMore on fishing: The new Global Ocean Commission will be headed up by former UK Home Secretary David Milliband, South Africa’s former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and Costa Rica’s former President Jose Maria Figueres. With over fishing of the seas already an “environmental catastrophe” the body will seek to end the lawlessness of the high seas which are unregulated by national governments or bodies such as the EU – and subject to ‘plunder and pillage’ on a massive scale according to Milliband dismissing the The UN’s current 30 year old ocean charter (unsigned by the USA) as a ‘tragedy’. More here.

And in South Africa, fisherman Leon Bekker has been fined £8,550 and given a 12 month suspended prison sentence for catching and killing a Great White Shark. Fishing for Great Whites has been illegal in South Africa since 1991 to help protect dwindling numbers. The court found that despite arguing the catch was inadvertent, Bekker needed specialised equipment to make the catch, and he was photographed with the dead shark. reports that new clauses in the Energy Bill will grant the Government powers to set a 2030 decarbonisation target range for the electricity sector in 2016. The clause will take affect once the Committee on Climate Change provides advice on the level of the fifth carbon budget and is set in law, says the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).  Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Edward Davey, said: “We will  take powers to set a decarbonisation target range for the power sector in 2016, which will provide a clear signal to industry and investors that we are serious about moving to a low-carbon economy”.

For the first time none of Britain’s 25-30 travelling circuses feature big cats – and only 5  still feature any performing animals.

A circular economy cannot be achieved by business collaboration alone – strong intervention is also required from world governments, a leading commentator has warned. Dr Gev Eduljee, director of external affairs at SITA, has called for “game changing” action to accelerate new ways of working under a circular economy, but argues that a “few hundred transactions” between businesses will only go so far.  “To truly scale up the circular economy … a comprehensive framework of policies is needed, that can be applied at national and supra-national level,” he said.

Politicians undermining investor confidence in wind projects are contributing to the industry’s bigger problems such as the economic crisis, warned top industry figures today. At the opening of Europe’s wind energy event, EWEA 2013, Arthouros Zervos, President of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) criticised “sudden or retroactive changes to support schemes” and warned “the wind industry can be a driver for growth, for jobs and exports but not if government policies drive away investors.”

phone shoesO2 has made a fashion statement by unveiling a range of functional mobile phones built into vintage shoes as part of its Recycle campaign. The ‘Walkie Talkies’ have been created by designer Sean Miles using retro models (pre-smartphone era) that are still fully functional. Footwear in the range include a men’s brogue, a Nike Air trainer, and a Hunter Wellington Boot.

Recovery of carpet waste has accelerated over the past 12 months due to sustained efforts across the supply chain in capturing this material stream. Figures released by trade association Carpet Recycling UK (CRUK) show that diversion rates increased to 21.4% in 2012 – a rise of 30% on the previous year’s 16.5%. Of the 85,000 tonnes diverted, 36,000 tonnes were recycled or reused while 49,000 tonnes were sent for energy recovery via cement kilns and power generation plants. Energy recovery grew by 44% as the high calorific value of carpets became more widely recognised.

The efficiency work being carried out by water utility companies is likely to help the UK achieve water savings of up to 10% by 2020 and at least 20% by 2050, says Paul Jeffrey from Cranfield University. Jeffrey is the co-author of a Policy Brief on Carbon Sensitive Urban Water Futures, which addresses the supply of quality water to a growing population.  According to the brief, reducing the amount of embedded carbon and energy used in the delivery systems is adding to the challenge.

Glastonbury tackles left behind tents


With news that the Glastonbury Festival is offering ticket holders a range of pre-erected off-site camping facilities in custom-made and pre-erected Festival accommodation, festival boss Michael Eavis has said that the amount of cheap and poor-quality tents dumped at Glastonbury Festival in 2011 has meant that he is considering making the offer of pre-erected tents compulsory to everyone who plans to attend it in the future.

A large proportion of tents abandoned at the end of the last festival in 2011 had to go in landfill because it was the only alternative to the  costly and labour-intensive job of trying to recycle them for further use. Tents are made of mixed materials and many cannot be re-used as they are damaged or dirty, and Glastonbury and other festivals point out that it’s a myth that overseas aid charities are going to want a load of cheap and poor-quality tents from supermarkets. Last time the Festival made clear that they wanted attendees to think that a tent is for life not just for a festival and have adopted the sloga ‘Love The Farm, Leave No Trace’. There is now an international campaign  called Love Your Tent combating the widespread problem of dumped tents. Michael Eavis  explained his vision of the future to local BBC news saying, “I would actually like to see, in about 10-15 years time, a situation where every single tent is provided by us, and we can make sure that we can keep them, and store them for the following year.”

ltflogo(1)The new camping area, called Worthy View, which looks out over the Festival site, will be home to  at least 4,000 people and  is in addition Glastonbury’s pre-existing tipi camping. BCT Outdoors, a company based in Bradford, won the contract to make 1,000 reusable tents for the Glastonbury Festival. The tents are based on the classic ‘scout tent’ and designed specifically for the Festival – and the British weather – and with the guy-ropes featured inside the structure to avoid late night trips! Festival organisers hope people will hire the tents instead of buying cheap ones, which are often left behind after the event has ended – and it means festival goers can travel to and from the five day festival with nothing but their bags. In 2008 Eavis invited BBC1’s Countryfile to film the left behind tents and rubbish in the camp site areas immediately after Festival ended, and in 2009 site crew members posted the ‘Glastonbury Aftermath‘ video on YouTube showing the site  after campers had left – a sea of left behind tents, discarded camping equipment and waste. As one festival goer said afterwards “Truly shocking. An appalling waste of resources and money and a poignant display of the selfish pursuit of pleasure without responsibility. I am ashamed to think that people can care so little”.

Glastonbury has also outlined plans for its legendary Green Futures Field for 2013. The Tadpole stage is expanding into its own themed venue ‘Toad Hall’ celebrating England’s natural countryside and highlighting the animal kingdom .

DSCF0251The area opposite ‘Croissant Neuf’ in the Greenfields  will be dedicated to creative change and Eco problem solving and will be brimming with ideas and bright colours with Solar Venues, Exhibits and Market leaders and will give Festival goers the opportunity to enjoy the future as it happens and contribute to it as well with eco exhibits and a full programme of conscious music. Since 1990 the area of the Festival has provided an important contribution, helping to keep the green agenda at the forefront of Glastombury. Green Futures organisers explained: “Our theme in 2013 celebrates the UN International year of Water Cooperation. We feel it is crucial to highlight the earth’s most critical resource. Especially at a time of unpredictable weather systems, growing populations and greedy countries” adding “Those in the know, know that the field is packed full of venues, spaces and healthy food. There is Groovy Movie, The Mandala, Small World, Permaculture, Henry’s Beard, A pedal powered Laundrette, Rinky Dink, The Tin Village, Lunched Out Lizard, Speakers Forum, Astrologers amongst many. All powered by natural renewable energy since 1994”  and “”We will be linking with The International Year of Water Co-operation to theme the field with some exciting exhibits. Including an 18 foot riverboat sculpture and the unveiling of our brand new venue Toad Hall”

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Glastonbury Aftermath

See our short film on camp site waste  here