Norwegian music festivals lead the way to sustainablility by becoming the first music festivals to sign on with the UN Environment Program for climate-friendly events.

The Canal Street Festival in Arendal, Norway and the Hove Festival on the island of Tromoya, outside of Arendal, are lowering the carbon footprint of the entertainment industry through a partnership with UNEP’s Climate Neutral Network. The two big music festivals are the first to sign the UN Environment Program known as CN Net.

The Canal Street Festival, a jazz event taking place from July 21 to 27, is using certified green energy sources for their concerts. They also introduced organic cotton and paper bags in the city and they are selling organic and fair trade T-shirts.

The festival continues through Sunday and features John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, and The Waterboys, many bands of local, European, and U.S. renown, boat cruises, kids’ events, a parade and nightly jam sessions.

The Hove Festival, which featured Jay-Z, Beck, The Raconteurs and the Kooks among their major acts last month, invited their audience, staff, and participants to pay for their individual carbon footprint caused by their travel to the event. They also provided solar-charging points for their mobile phones, LED lighting systems powered by wind and solar power, and they set a target of 50% for recycling materials used during the event. 

Funds raised by the offsets are going to support Clean Development Mechanisms in China approved by the United Nations under the Kyoto Protocol.

UNEP’s Executive Director, Achim Steiner, said, “The greening of live musical events represents an opportunity to lower the carbon footprint of not only the entertainment industry, but those of millions, if not hundreds of millions, of people worldwide.” 

He continues, “The Hove Festival and the Canal Street can serve as models for musical and entertainment events everywhere. Climate change tops the charts as the number one challenge facing this planet. Unless all sectors of society step up to the bar and address this challenge, we will all be singing the blues.”   

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