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Managing Sustainability for Music Festival Suppliers and Vendors.

Andy Robertson

As music festival organisations become ever more committed to running sustainable events the importance of polices and enforcement increases. It can be relatively straightforward for festival organisers to control their own behaviour in striving to reduce their environmental impact but controlling what suppliers and vendors do can be more challenging.


Most music festival organisations have quite robust sustainability policies that govern how their events are run and this is usually enforced by someone who will have responsibility for enforcing this. With their fully documented policies it is the job of the responsible person to ensure that all staff and volunteers are appropriately trained in understanding what is and is not acceptable. The same policies are often reinforced in the festival’s website and social media to encourage compliance from festival-goers. Controlling contract suppliers and vendors can be more challenging because their impact will be greater than individuals and organisers need to find effective ways to police them.

Waste Management. 
The key tasks when engaging with vendors and suppliers is to ensure that they only bring materials onto a festival site that can be recycled or disposed of appropriately. This may include reducing the amount of unnecessary packaging used or to use compostable food packaging for example. The use of single use plastics is also forbidden by most festival organisers. For suppliers of bathroom facilities, it is essential that waste is appropriately managed, stored and disposed of with a commitment to ensure no waste water leaks onto the festival site. 

Carbon Emissions. 
The measurement of carbon emissions can be done in various ways but suppliers and vendors should be encouraged to minimise their carbon footprint. This may include using alternative energy powered generators and transport. The use of EV’s, PHEVs and lower emitting delivery vehicles is being encouraged. There is also a focus on materials being used in stage construction and other site structures to ensure that they come from ethical and sustainable sources.

Enforcing Compliance. 
If the music festival organisers have appointed someone to manage their sustainability policies it will be their job to advise suppliers and vendors on what they need to do to comply with these policies. Carefully constructed questionnaires given to each potential supplier can form part of the procurement process when making selections. Once onsite policies need to be monitored and enforced with suppliers and vendors potentially being blacklisted as non-compliant which will impact on their chances of selection for future events.

The key for festival organisers is to reinforce communication about their sustainability policies and remind everyone that all involved with a music festival have a joint responsibility. Policies apply to everyone including suppliers and vendors not just festival-goers and staff. 

For 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 Kampus Production from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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