In 2008, Julie’s Bicycle released the findings of the report First Step: UK Music Industry Greenhouse Gas Emissions 2007. The report identified that annual audience travel to music events accounts for 43% (231,000 t CO2e) of GHG emissions from the UK music industry. Of this, music festivals contribute 24% of all music audience travel emissions – that is 68% of the festival sector’s total emissions.
Julie’s Bicycle convened a small group, chaired by Melvin Benn (CEO Festival Republic) and supported by a wider constituency of promoters, to identify next steps. This report is the first cross industry response to this issue. Research priorities were to analyse audience attitudes to festival travel and other live events, promote dialogue between operators, promoters and local authorities, and identify barriers and opportunities to reduce emissions.
Audience travel is an indirect GHG emissions source and therefore impossible for the music industry to control wholly by itself. It requires a complex, imaginative and coordinated approach across a range of parties, taking into account transport infrastructure, audience attitudes, commercial pressures, and local concerns. Committed partnerships focused on emissions reductions are needed between the music industry, local authorities, travel operators and non-government organisations.