Fields of Green: Music Festivals and Climate Change

Fields of Green: Music Festivals and Climate Change

Fields of Green was an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project exploring the environmental sustainability of Scotland's music festivals through the eyes of artists, audiences and festival organisers.

Fields of Green was a one year research project (April 2015 – April 2016) funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council exploring the environmental sustainability of Scotland’s music festivals and their capacity to enable ‘greener’ audience behaviours within the temporary communities formed during such events.

The project aimed to lay the foundations for a future community of practice of music festival organisers and artists working together towards a greener Scotland.

Project partners came from a range of disciplines and backgrounds including sociology of music (Matt Brennan, University of Edinburgh), urban planning and environmental management (Angela Connely, University of Lancaster, creative practice and songwriting (Jo Collinson-Scott, University of the West of Scotland) and arts and sustainability organisation (Gemma Lawrence, Creative Carbon Scotland

The project had a number of key strands:

  • Working with two music festival case studies – XpoNorth and Solas Festival – to explore sustainability-related behaviours enacted by festival organisers, artists and audiences.
  • Holding a series of roundtable discussions and interviews with music festival organisers and green festival initiatives run by organisations including Greener Festival and Julie’s Bicycle to establish best practice models and support a community of practice of Scottish music festivals working in this area.
  • Exploring themes of travel through songwriting and live performance led by Jo Mango and working with musicians Rachel Sermanni, RM Hubbert, Louis Abbott (Admiral Fallow) and The Pictish Trail. Find out more about the Wrack Lines EP made by the musicians.
  • Tracking and visualising musician festival touring patterns through infographics.

FoG coverA key aim of the project was to help establish a network of music festival organisers, artists, service providers and industry professionals working together on sustainable practices.

A next steps guide for music festival organisers was produced by the Fields of Green team and launched at Wide Days Music Industry Convention in April 2016. The guide gathers key actions and initiatives being taken by Scottish music festivals to green their events and engage artists and audiences.

Interested in getting involved in greening Scotland’s music festivals? Join Creative Carbon Scotland’s Green Arts Initiative – a growing community of cultural organisations and events committed to reduce the negative environmental impacts of their activities and contributing to a more sustainable Scotland.


If you’d like to find out more about how others are engaging with this work check out the following reports:

The Show Must Go On (2015)

The Power Behind Festivals: A Guide to Sustainable Power at Outdoor Events (2014)

Powerful Thinking: Smart Energy for Festivals and Events (2017)

Image credit: Sandy Butler

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We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.


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Supported by

Edinburgh Festival City Edinburgh Festival City

A project initiated by Edinburgh’s Festivals with key partners the Federation of Scottish Theatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network

Edinburgh Festival City Federation of Scottish Theatre Scottish Contemporary Art Network