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Alternative Eco-Friendly Power Sources for Music Festivals.

Andy Robertson

A large music festival could consume up to 300,000 megawatts of power over a long weekend, the same as a small city. With the current focus on reduction of emissions and plans to go carbon neutral what can music festival organisers do to meet the demands of their sustainability policies whilst maintaining their power requirements?

Most big music festivals have been using alternative power sources for some time to a greater or lesser extent. The key challenge for organisers is the huge power required for stage backlines and all the audio-visual equipment. What are the alternatives currently being used and considered for the future and how environmentally friendly are they really? 

Solar Power. 
The installation of temporary solar power panels for any festival can be problematic due the physical space required for installation. Although costs have been coming down solar panels can still be quite expensive. The electricity generated is clean and there are no by-products but the amount of electricity generated is too small and weak to power anything more that some low energy users and typically is used for vendor pitches. The key concern with solar panels is their production and disposal after use as they use highly toxic chemicals in production called silicon tetrachloride along with boron and phosphorous.

Wind Power. 
As with solar power the installation of wind turbines is expensive and limited by the space available and ultimately produces little electricity. The wind turbine manufacture process uses numerous materials that are far from environmentally friendly and after a useful life the turbines and blades can be difficult to dispose of.  

Biofuel Generators. 
The key provider of copious amounts of power has traditionally come from diesel generators but these are now being fuelled by various biofuel alternatives. The benefit of using biofuels is that diesel generators can be converted to run of biofuels such as biodiesel, methanol, ethanol and butanol. All these biofuels create little in the way of emissions and are generally made form sustainable plant sources. However, there are some concerns about the deforestation in some countries because they need the space to grow sugarcane for example.

Hydrogen Generators. 
Using hydrogen as an alternative fuel is becoming more popular because it is easy to use and only produces water as a by-product during use. There may be concerns about the production of the hydrogen depending on its source but for festival organisers it provides a great alternative to diesel generators being portable, cheap to run with great power output and zero emissions.

Whatever alternative power source music festival organisers migrate to they will have to balance the pros and cons of each source. This may include an assessment of power requirements, costs and how environmentally friendly each alternative power source actually is. 

For music festival organisers planning their events using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their event 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, ticketing, cashless payments and contactless ordering.

Photo by Kelly L from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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