Monthly Archives: February 2016


President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama

The Guardian reports that President Obama’s special envoy for climate change has warned Republican presidential hopefuls including Donald Trump and Ted Cruz that any attempt to scrap the Paris climate agreement would lead to a “diplomatic black eye” for the US. Speaking to journalists in Brussels, Todd Stern also said that a recent supreme court decision to block Barack Obama’s clean power plan would not affect US climate pledges, or plans to formally sign up to the Paris agreement later this year. Republican candidates such as Trump or Cruz who query climate science on the presidential stump would in practice be “very loathe” to set off the storm that would follow any ditching of the Paris accord, Stern argued. Republicans’ favorite climate chart has some serious problems: As usual, cherry picking and misrepresentations are used to oppose climate policies

In the UK  DECC and Defra have said they will “deliver an energy infrastructure fit for the 21st century”, “champion the environment”, “tackle air pollution” and “provide security against floods” in their new five-year plans. The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM)  criticised the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) for delivering a “highly disappointing” five-year environmental policy plan which they say contains a distinct lack of commitments on the reduction of UK waste.

DGTL has announced a major decision regarding its culinary offering at its next festival on Easter weekend. The organisation, already known for their ‘Revolution’ concept through which they commit to making massive festival productions more sustainable, have now made the bold decision to be completely meat-free!

BBChuwThe Scottish Government has pledged to reduce the nation’s food waste by one third over the next nine years – a plan that would save businesses and households across the country more than £500m if successful. reports that Jaguar Land Rover will incorporate a sustainable aluminium alloy that contains up to 75% recycled content into the manufacturing of all of its vehicles, thanks to a successful collaborative project between the British carmaker and US aluminium can recycler Novelis.

The El Niño that caused record temperatures, drought and floods over the last year has passed its peak strength but will continue to have humanitarian impacts for months to come, the UN has said. The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said the event, which plays havoc with weather systems around the world, was still strong and its impacts on communities in southern Africa, the Horn of Africa and Central America were becoming increasingly apparent.

plasticbagPlastic pollution in the marine environment is a “critical problem” for global ecosystems and for human health as microscopic pieces of waste enter the food chain, an Australian Senate inquiry has been told. The warning came as Guardian Australia learned the federal health minister has the power to instantly ban controversial plastic microbeads from products like soap and toothpaste without any new legislation, according to official parliamentary advice.

The UK Government’s Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has kick-started phase two of its collaborative, cross-industry plan to bring greater consistency to household waste and recycling collections in England.  Working with Resources Minister Rory Stewart and representatives from local authorities, waste managers, producers and retailers, WRAP is now investigating a range of potential waste collection models across the country “We are looking to develop a vision for England that will offer local authorities a way to recycle greater volumes of higher quality materials whilst reducing costs, delivering good services to residents and supporting growth in the recycling sector,” said WRAP’s director Marcus Gover. “It won’t be a one-size-fits-all solution and we want to work with local authorities, to demonstrate the business case for change. This is not just about what local authorities do though; all parts of the value chain have a role to play in achieving greater consistency and improving recycling.” More here.

Europe’s car industry has suggested that the continent’s entire road network be resurfaced at a cost of hundreds of billions of euros as a “climate initiative” so that it does not need to make mandatory car emissions cuts by 2030. The lobbying document produced by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) and seen by the Guardian also advocates for greater use of biofuels; “smart transport” infrastructure; and “eco-driving” lessons for motorists. The Guardian says that its cornerstone is the audacious suggestion for a huge infrastructure project which the car-makers suggest could substitute for planned EU targets for reducing emissions.

RJFPSainsbury’s has announced that it is scrapping multi-buy promotions across its food retail outlets in an effort to ease growing customer concerns about food waste and price logistics.  As the first UK retailer to announce a promotional change at this scale, Sainsbury’s will combat the multi-buy and buy-one-get-one-free (BOGOF) phase-out in August 2016 by lowering regular prices. Sainsbury’s marketing director Sarah Warby, said: “Careful management of household budgets, a growing awareness of the cost of food waste and more health-conscious living has driven a trend away from multiple product purchasing towards more single item purchasing. “We have listened to our customers who have told us that multi-buy promotions don’t meet their shopping needs today, are often confusing and create logistical challenges at home in terms of storage and waste.”


Access to live music for people with disabilities – a work in progress

Online-access-informationParkingAttitude is Everything, the charity dedicated to improving deaf and disabled people’s access to live music, has released its 2016 report on the state of access in the events industry. The launch of the report, which was attended by venues, organisers and other industry professionals, also featured a panel discussion on best practice accessibility. The report covers onsite and online access information, as well as the challenges deaf and disabled people often face in the immediate environment around a live music venue.

Attitude is Everything chief executive Suzanne Bull MBE told reporters: “Or aim is to highlight areas of good practice and progress” and  “At the same time the report is an opportunity to reflect on the barriers faced by deaf and disabled people” adding “A lack of decent online access information websites has become a constant source of frustration to millions of disabled fans” and “Evidence suggests that many will not risk attending an event if they are unsure about access facilities. We should not be letting these online failures hold back the tide of progress, especially when they are so easy to fix.”

Glastonbury’s Emily Eavis, who wrote the foreword of the report, said: “It is a vital that all festival goers can easily access clear information about how to buy tickets, what facilities are available onsite and how they can arrange for the necessary support in order to be able to attend. We’re very pleased to be continuing our work with Attitude is Everything to ensure this.”

More here

Full Green Events & Innovations Agenda Released!

With exactly two weeks to go until GEI 8 takes place in London on 3 March, we’re delighted to reveal the full agenda for 2016:

In a keynote speech, Professor Joanna Haigh, director of Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment, Imperial College will provide insight into what is happening, what action we need to focus on, and how we will have to adapt to our changing environment.

10:10 – 10:55

In a series of mini presentations focussing on technological innovations, strategy or campaigns that have pushed the boundaries in 2015 and beyond, Rob Scully, Zap (Concepts, NL)will demonstrate the Smart Power Plan, which has reduced generator and fuel needs of both DGTL and Mysteryland festivals in the Netherlands by over 50%, saving them a load of euros.

Sarah Chayantz (We Love Green, FR) presents Parisienne event, We Love Green’s stunning and up-cycled stage design and development.

And finally we will hear about UWE’s ground-breaking pee-powered toilet as used at Glastonbury Festival.

10:55 – 11:15

It’s been 10 years since co-hosts of GEI, A Greener Festival, first launched their pioneering audience research in to festivals and the environment. In that time, The Greener Festival Awards have assessed over 300 festivals across 5 continents, and at GEI 2016 we will hear from co-founder Claire O’Neill about the new award assessment, and Teresa Moore will launch the AGF training.

11:35 – 12:25

Moderator Holger Jan Schmidt (GO Group/Yourope, DE) will ask representatives from various festivals in different countries to share their experience. What is done differently? What are the commonalities? What can we learn from each other?

Steve Taylor (Lake of Stars, Malawi) will share insight into the Lake of Stars Legacy project and what they have learned in Malawi in recent years. An event that has been working towards sustainability since before 2000, Fuji Rock Festival’s Jason Myall (JA) will demonstrate how they have incorporated circular economy within their own event’s production materials amongst many of the events intriguing achievements. 

Finally, Michal Kaščák (Pohoda Festival, SK), talks about the Slovakian audience responses to the festivals sustainability actions, and Peter Nobel (Bluesfest Byron Bay, AU) gives us insight to how it’s done down under, and their events unique responsibility to care for Koala’s!

12:25 – 13:10

Demonstrating that the work done in our industry goes far beyond its own borders to make a difference, we hear from outstanding social projects that have taken the knowledge, passion, innovation and drive that we see in our festival and event communities, in order to help others. We will be delving in to the festival community’s response to emergencies, and the role of the culture and entertainment industries in making a stand on intrinsically politically charged social issues. Moderator: Chris Tofu (Continental Drifts / Shangri La)

Love Support Unite Foundation & Firefly Clean Energy, show us how this temporary event power company has helped bring light to a community, whilst the Refugee Councils, have been working with partners such as Secret Cinema #loverefugees campaign to help bring about social action through entertainment.

Fruszina Szép (Yourope / Lollapolooza DE)  will present the Yourope Mission Statement which
crystalizes the connection and movement of people of all backgrounds, united as one community through culture.

14:30 – 15:00

T In The Park’s Steve Taylor discusses the challenges they faced moving to the event’s new site at Strathallan Castle, that required an Environmental Impact Assessment and full planning application. We find out if they were able to meet the requirements of local stakeholders and regulators.

15:00 – 15:50

From meat-free festivals to recycling poo…what does it take to be a sustainable event (and society)? In this session, Livvy Drake (Shambala Festival, UK), and Hamish Skermer (Natural Event/FRL Festival, AU) explore internal action and interaction between audience and organiser. What cultural or social conditioning is played out through these interactions when we seek to make changes that may feel close to the bone?

16:10 – 17:10

Caroline Niland (Stand Out Magazine, UK) takes us on a journey amongst a fine selection of collectives, to demonstrate how they have overcome competitive challenges between events to unite on a common goal, and where sharing and pooling have really paid off.

Creative Carbon Scotland’s Gemma Lawrence and Catriona Patterson, Festivals Edinburgh, give us examples of collaboration in practice across events in Edinburgh, and a focus on the benefits for urban-based events in working together.

Réseau Eco Eventment’s Dominique Behar talks about the collaboration between events in Nantes, France, and how the event community has shared experience, knowledge and resources. They have also launched a charter for events in the region.

Finally, Powerful Thinking’s Chris Johnson will present The Show Must Go On and debate the Festival Vision: 2025. Delegates will have the opportunity to help shape and join this industry-wide public commitment to our own sustainability targets.

17:10 – 17:30

ILMC MD Greg Parmley will talk about the actions that the conference is taking to implement their sustainability targets, and the unique considerations faced by conference events, while Teresa Moore will conclude the day’s discussions just prior to…

18:00 – 20:00

GEI delegates will have the opportunity to discuss the days’ discussions, network and chill, at ILMC’s ‘Space Invaders’ Opening Night Party which runs from 18:00 – 20:00.

Useful Information

Green Events & Innovations conference (GEI) is presented by A Greener Festival and Bucks New University in partnership with ILMC, and welcomes around 150 professionals working, or with an interest in, environmental initiatives at live events.

A delegate pass for GEI costs £90 (plus a booking fee of £5.49) but a discounted price of £60 is available to ILMC delegates, and members of AIF, A Greener Festival, AFO and Yourope.

To take advantage of the discount delegate rate, ILMC delegates should tick the relevant box when registering for ILMC. For other discount rates or information contact

To promote your company or services at GEI, or to exhibit or sponsor the event, please contact Chris Prosser at, or download the GEI 2016 media pack here.

Pollstar 2016 winners crowned

Arena of the Year
Madison Square Garden Arena

Best Major Outdoor Concert Venue
Hollywood Bowl

Best New Major Concert Venue
Ascend Amphitheater

Best New Touring Artist
The Weeknd

Bill Graham Award/Promoter of the Year
Louis Messina

Bobby Brooks Award/Agent of the Year
Chip Hooper

Booking Agency of the Year
Paradigm Talent Agency

Comedy Tour of the Year
Amy Schumer

The Glastonbury Festival

The Glastonbury Festival

Facility Executive of the Year
Rena Wasserman

Independent Booking Agency of the Year
High Road Touring

International Music Festival of the Year
Glastonbury Festival

International Promoter of the Year
Michael Chugg

International Venue of the Year
The O2, London

Lighting Company of the Year
Bandit Lites

Major Music Festival of the Year
Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival

Major Tour of the Year
Taylor Swift



Most Creative Stage Production

Music Festival of the Year
Newport Folk Festival

Nightclub of the Year
9:30 Club

Nightclub Talent Buyer of the Year
Josh Moore

Personal Manager of the Year
John Silva

Red Rocks Award/Best Small Outdoor Venue
Greek Theatre, Los Angeles

Road Warrior of the Year
Dale ‘Opie’ Skjerseth

Sound Company of the Year

Staging/Equipment Company of the Year
Talent Buyer of the Year
Don Strasburg


Emma Banks

Theatre of the Year
Ryman Auditorium

Third Coast Agent of the Year
Adam Voith

Transportation Company of the Year
Rock-It Cargo

UK Booking Agent of the Year
Emma Banks

Video Company of the Year

Moo TV

Event Production Awards 2016 – the winners!

EPA winners

EPA winners

The Event Production Awards 2016 winners are:

Best Audio Visual Supplier
Creative Technology

Best Crewing Company
Connection Crew CIC

Best Security Company
Specialized Security

Best Fencing/Crowd Barrier Company
Eve Trakway

Best Flooring/Trackway Company
LION Trackhire

Best Staging Company
Actavo Events

Best Structure Company

Best Plant Company
Winner Events

Best Indoor Venue of the Year
Banqueting House

Best Technology Provider

Best Ticketing Company

Green Supplier of the Year
Big Green Coach Ltd

Best Outdoor Venue of the Year
Hampton Court Palace

Sustainable Event of the Year
Arcadia Metamorphosis by Arcadia

Public Event of the Year
Para Tri by Sportsworld

Cultural/Food Event of the Year
London Korean Festival

Music Event of the Year
Liverpool Sound City

Sporting Event of the Year
Progress Productions for Rugby World Cup 2015

Best Visual Spectacular
Fantastic Fireworks for The War of the Worlds Spectacular

Brand Activation of the Year
Sense Marketing for Guitar Hero Live

Production Team of the Year
Ground Control

Access All Areas Editor’s Award
Tania Harrison

German Judges put secret EU-US trade negotations into the spotlight

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama

German judges have dealt a blow to US-EU free trade agreement talks after declaring a proposed arbitration court illegal. But the decision is a rare glimmer of good news for opponents of the secretly negotiated trade agreement, as the signing of the US-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is imminent, and comes hard on the heels of the already signed Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) – another international trade agreement that was negotiated in secret between tweleve Pacific Rim nations including the US, Canada, New Zealand, Peru, Mexico, Vietnam and Japan. 

As part of the TTIP the European Commission had proposed setting up an investment tribunal court that would allow firms to challenge government decisions: these are the so called Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions –  instruments of public international law, which grants an investor the right to initiate dispute settlement proceedings against a foreign government. Critics says the new court, which is intended to replace the actual ISDS system, would be even worse – and would will pressure governments into clawing back consumer protection rights, pushing up the price of medicines and watering down  environmental protection to favour of corporate interests. 
Now the German Association of Magistrates, the Berlin-based umbrella organisation for the judiciary, said it “sees neither a legal basis nor a need for such a court”. It says existing national courts are good enough and that efforts by the Commission to create a new court undermines jurisdictions across the Union saying  “The German Magistrates Association sees no need for the establishment of a special court for investors” and the new investor court would alter national court systems “and deprive courts of member states of their power.” The German magistrates also cast doubt on the independence of the judges in the new system, as well as their appointment procedures.
Proponents, for their part, say the investment tribunal court is needed to both protect and attract foreign investment from potentially hostile governments or biased domestic courts. EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom, who is heading the TTIP talks, last year said the new court would be “subject to democratic principles and public scrutiny”.
Katja Kipping

Katja Kipping

If you wonder why this is of concern – Global Justice recently highlighted the $15 billion legal action brought by energy infrastructure corporation TransCanada against the USA for President Obama’s actions cancelling the Keystone XL Pipeline project. Keystone XL was designed to carry tar sands oil from Hardisty in Alberta to Steele City in Nebraska, thus increasing outlets for the most carbon-intensive oil currently produced, and reinforcing the dependency that industrialised countries like the US have on fossil fuels. The legal case is being brought under the auspices of NAFTA, a predecessor of the current crop of free trade agreements such at TTIP, CETA and TPP –  some of the most alarming legal instruments ever devised to subvert democracy. Why any government would agree to fetter their own power is questionable (at best) – and the potential of the end result is simply terrifying. And yes, President Obama IS the elected leader of the dominant economy in the so called ‘free world’! But it has been Obama’s administration that has pushed through these trade agreements – but not without sustained criticism from both Republican and Democrat elected representatives.The TTIP talks, which have been largely held in secret since 2013, aim to remove non-tariff barriers to trade. One German MP, Katja Kipping, an elected representative ofcourse, was one of the first German MPs to gain access to the new TTIP – but only underr close supervision in a reading room opened in Berlin. As Ms Kipping notes: ” TTIP, the EU-US free trade deal, has secrecy written all over it. Those responsible for it live in dread of any public scrutiny. If it was up to me, I would give everyone who’s interested the chance to make up their own minds on the text of the agreement in its current form. Sigmar Gabriel, Minister for Economic Affairs and a top cheerleader for TTIP, has now set up a reading room in his ministry where since the beginning of February German MPs can each spend two hours looking at those texts on which consensus has already been reached.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren

Senator Elizabeth Warren

In May 2012, United States Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) said that “the majority of Congress is being kept in the dark as to the substance of the TPP negotiations, while representatives of U.S. corporations—like Halliburton, Chevron, PHRMA, Comcast, and the Motion Picture Association of America—are being consulted and made privy to details of the agreement. […] More than two months after receiving the proper security credentials, my staff is still barred from viewing the details of the proposals that USTR is advancing. We hear that the process by which TPP is being negotiated has been a model of transparency. I disagree with that statement”.   In 2013, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) and Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) were among a group of congressional lawmakers who criticized the Obama administration’s secrecy policies on the TPP.  Warren reiterated her opposition in a speech and press release, And in December 2014 Presidential hopeful Senator Bernie Sanders denounced the TPP saying: “Let’s be clear: the TPP is much more than a “free trade” agreement. It is part of a global race to the bottom to boost the profits of large corporations and Wall Street by outsourcing jobs; undercutting worker rights; dismantling labor, environmental, health, food safety and financial laws; and allowing corporations to challenge our laws in international tribunals rather than our own court system. If TPP was such a good deal for America, the administration should have the courage to show the American people exactly what is in this deal, instead of keeping the content of the TPP a secret.”

Returning to the TTIP, Ms Kipping says “Even the registration procedure for the reading room speaks volumes. Once I’d registered, I was sent the instructions on how to use the room. The first thing that I noticed was that the terms and conditions had already been the subject of negotiations between the European Commission and the USA. Get your head round that: TTIP isn’t even signed yet, and already individual countries have lost the right to decide who gets to read the texts, and on what terms” and “It is revealing in itself that the Ministry for Economic Affairs is prepared to go to such lengths in order to keep the text of TTIP under wraps. And they have every reason for doing so. Anyone who was going into these negotiations to enhance environmental protection, consumer protection and labour standards would have nothing to fear from transparency. Anyone who’s engaged in selling out democracy, on the other hand, is obviously going to want to avoid public scrutiny. If Sigmar Gabriel and the negotiators are really so convinced of the benefits of TTIP, why don’t they just make the text available to everyone online?”

Sustaining Creativity at the Event Production Show

Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson

Sustaining Creativity at the Event Production Show

Olympia, London
3rd March 2016
2pm – 3pm

Chris Johnson, Chair of Powerful Thinking  will be chairing a panel at The Event Production Show on ‘Sustaining Creativity in the Events Industry’. Speakers include Alison Tickell, CEO of Julie’s Bicycle, Emma Hudson of Access All Areas, Melvin Benn of Festival Republic and Nick Green from Arts Council England.

This promised sequel to ‘People Planet Profit’ at the Event Production Show 2014, will discuss The Show Must Go On report and the Festival Vision: 2025; how to combine business success with responsible approaches; and how festivals are engaging audiences in increasingly creative conversations about the future.

The Show MustgoonNov26thPowerful Thinking at the Green Events and Innovations Conference

Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington, London
3rd March 2016

Powerful Thinking will also be hosting a panel discussing The Show Must Go On report and Festival Vision: 2025 at the 8th edition of the Green Events and Innovations Conference. Delegates will have the opportunity to help shape and join Powerful Thinking’s industry-wide commitment to achieve festival sustainability in line with government targets by 2025.

Other conference speakers include:

  • T In The Park’s Steve Taylor discussing the environmental challenges that the event encountered when they relocated to Strathallan Castle.
  • Representatives from festivals around the world speaking about the challenges they face in meeting and understanding their environmental impact, including Lake of Stars, Malawi.
  • ILMC’s Greg Parmley talking about the actions that the conference is taking to implement their sustainability targets.
  • A Keynote speech from Joanna Haigh, director of the Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment.
  • The recently relaunched Greener Festival Awards will be presented by Claire O’Neill and Teresa Moore.

The Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI) is produced by A Greener Festival, Bucks New Uni and the ILMC.