MIDEM to give awards to 3 green festivals / by Jason

I hadn't heard of MIDEM until this press release came along. From the looks of it, MIDEM is a bit like South by Southwest, only with a more international appeal. The 4-day event in Cannes, France, is in its 42nd year and claims that it will draw about 10,000 lucky participants later this month. Those attending will get lots of networking and the opportunity to pick from some 500 concerts. I'm jealous!

MIDEM, like everyone else in the free world, got the green bug this year. Besides taking steps to green the conference, it's also recognizing trailblazers who have already started to green large music events. I'm not sure how MIDEM picked these three, and I'm surprised that Peat's Ridge didn't make the cut (perhaps because this year's event was unfortunately canceled due to extreme rains). Never mind the methodology, these events certainly deserve the credit, and it's very heartening to see that the greening of the music movement is getting so mainstream.

So who's getting the awards?

What, exactly, did these three folks do to deserve this? Well, according to the press release (lazy man's research):

In collaboration with other environmental groups, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore and his organization, The Alliance for Climate Protection, Live Earth set out strict “Green Guidelines” aimed at creating a “low-impact” event. Carbon emissions were substantially reduced and 81% of the 97 metric tons of waste collected was diverted from landfill sites via recycling and composting efforts. Advertising banners in South Africa, for example, were redistributed to rural townships to make sunshades for school playgrounds.

The Roskilde Festival Society is the largest Northern European music festival, exceeding the population of the fifth largest Danish city and producing the equivalent in waste. Some of their environmental policies date back to 1994, making the group one of the pioneers of the greener festival. All beverages are served in plastic mugs with 97% of the mugs being returned to recycling deposit points. The waste is sorted into 13 different categories and all organic materials are composted and used to refertilise the site. All profits from the festival are then donated directly to humanitarian causes.

The Paléo Festival Nyon is powered by a single green energy source, ‘vivonatur’, which is generated using 100% sustainable wind and water energy from the Swiss Alps. Powering one of the largest open-air festivals in Europe with green energy - over 225,000 festival-goers over a six day period - is a monumental achievement in itself. Paléo Festival Nyon has already won numerous accolades including the Nice Future 2006 prize and in 2007 the ‘Green ’n’ Clean’ title awarded by the organization of European festivals, Yourope. Under its slogan, ‘Respect the Environment’, Paléo also encourages people to sort their rubbish and take advantage of public transport.
Sounds pretty cool. Perhaps SXSW or someone else will start giving out similar awards to US-based musicians/venues/events.

And by the way, Radiohead is playing at Roskilde this year, so if any rich journalism-lovers out there want to sponsor my flight and event ticket, I'd love to go, um...research the greenness of this event. Here's Radiohead playing their most recent album, live!