Norwegian rock and jazz festivals link with the United Nations

Two music festivals in Norway are both aiming to become a blueprint for a green global music festival movement in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme.

The HoveFestival - a rock event that this year featured major acts including Beck, Duffy and rapper Jay-Z - and Canal Street - a jazz and blues festival that opens today and features John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, and the Waterboys - have signed on to UNEP's Climate Neutral Network.

"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, " Achim Steiner, UNEP's Executive Director, said.

Participants at the HoveFestival, including staff and acts, were invited to pay for their individual carbon footprint caused by their travel to the event. Solar-charging points were provided for mobile phones, LED lighting systems were powered by wind and solar power, and a target of 50 per cent was set for recycling materials used during the festival.

"We are sure that this new UNEP-led music network can grow to become as powerful as the network UNEP already has established with the sports industry, including the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup, " said festival organizer Morten Sandberg.

The Canal Street festival - which like the HoveFestival takes place in the southern city of Arendal - is using certified green energy sources for the concerts, as well as introducing organic cotton and paper bags in the city area to reduce the use of plastic, as well as selling organic and fair trade T-shirts.

Funds raised from both projects are going to support UN-approved Clean Development Mechanism projects in China.

UNEP's Climate Neutral Network - which includes countries such as Costa Rica and New Zealand as participants, as well as cities and companies - aims to create a low, or even zero, pollution world.

"The HoveFestival 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, " Mr. Steiner said.

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