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Alternative Power for Music Festivals and Potential Impacts.

Andy Robertson

Whilst the world moves to alternative more environmentally friendly renewable energy power sources music festival organisers need to make informed decisions about how they power their events. The focus has been on reduction in CO2 and other harmful emissions but what are the real impacts of using alternative power sources. 

Music festivals need huge amounts of power to supply sufficient electricity for stage equipment sound and lighting, in addition are the requirements of vendors and other ancillary services. As most festivals are in remote locations the traditional method of power supply has been banks of diesel generators. Organisers have sought additional power supply through solar and wind but despite their green credentials just can't produce the power required. Diesel generators are now being replaced by hydrogen powered generators, they have the ability to produce substantial electric power and produce zero emissions.

Having the correct balance of required power production and maintaining sustainability and green credentials is key to any PR messages released by festival organisers. However, there is a growing debate regarding the green credentials of alternative renewable energy power generation. Despite producing zero emissions at the point of use some alternative ‘electric’ supplies are still generated using fossil fuels in alternative locations, plug in electric cars being a good example. The rising concern is now over the mining of raw materials required for the manufacture of photovoltaic (PV) solar cells and lithium-ion batteries, both causing toxic waste pollution. Despite wind power production increasing wind towers have a limited life span and once dismantled cannot be recycled with some parts of the German countryside littered with hundreds of dismantled wind towers that nobody wants to deal with.

The manufacture of photovoltaic (PV) solar cells and lithium-ion batteries requires the mining of graphite, lithium and cobalt in large quantities and is causing toxic waste and water contamination close to the site of manufacture. This is having a catastrophic effect on local environments in China, counties in Africa and Latin America where the bulk of mining takes place. These issues are gaining more coverage in mainstream media and music festival organisers should ensure they are up to date on the latest research and thinking around these issues when deciding on a renewable energy policy for their event.

The safest route for supplying a power-hungry festival looks like it's going to be hydrogen powered generators. The production and manufacture produce no toxic waste and despite hydrogen production requiring power to manufacture it only emits water when generating electricity. There are still issues over use of fossil fuels used in the power to manufacture but currently it looks like the best compromise in the coming years.

For organisers planning their music festival using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their festival logistics. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors guestlists, cashless ordering and ticketing.

Image by seagul from Pixabay

Andy Robertson
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