Festival Republic to bring renewable power to UK festivals under new project

Teaming up with Music Declares Emergency, the music promotor will introduce a host of green-focused changes to Reading & Leeds this summer

Festival Republic – the music promotor behind Reading & Leeds, Latitude and more – has teamed up with Music Declares Emergency in an effort to bring renewable power to UK festival sites.

The project aims to drive grid connections to festivals nationwide and begin the transition of the UK outdoor live sector to grid power, per a press release. It will ultimately reduce carbon emissions for the sector in relation to temporary power generation.

Funded by Festival Republic, the collaboration falls under the ongoing No Music On A Dead Planet climate campaign which has previously won support from the likes of Billie Eilish, Foals and Brian Eno.

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Festival Republic will support the project closely with the aim of presenting fully renewably powered, grid-connected stages at three of its events for the 2023 festival season. It will also help create a pathway for other promoters and event organisers to follow suit.

The grant marks a key moment in the transformation of the UK outdoor live music portfolio and reinforces the commitment of Festival Republic to playing a leading role in creating a greener and more sustainable future for live music in the UK and beyond.

For the first time, Reading & Leeds this year will be powered by 100 per cent HVO biofuel – a renewable form of fuel that has 90 per cent less carbon equivalent emissions than regular diesel.

A priority car park for Reading car sharers with GoCarShare will also be launched, as will a paper cup and rPET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate) bottle deposit return scheme and a ‘Take Your Tent Home’ campaign. Additionally, no virgin single-use plastic will be sold at the festival (all bottles are rPET).

Win VIP tickets to Wireless Festival 2022
Wireless Festival. Credit: Jordan Curtis Hughes

The Youth Climate Justice Coalition – made up of Climate Live, Fridays For Future, Teach The Future and XR Youth – is due to bring its campaign bus to Reading & Leeds. They’ll host a series of speeches and workshops from the vehicle, and the Youth Climate Justice Coalition will also perform on the Alternative Stage (find more info here).

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Across the Festival Republic outdoor portfolio for summer 2022, there’ll be a continuation of sustainability initiatives including £1 from every Reading parking pass being donated to Trees For Cities.

Festival Republic MD, Melvin Benn, said in a statement: “This project will be a game-changer for outdoor live events. Generating our own temporary power is the highest contributor of on-site Greenhouse Gas emissions at a festival, and by plugging into the grid we will reduce this significantly.

“By doing this, and sharing our knowledge with others, festival-goers can have an amazing time at festivals safe in the knowledge that we are doing everything we can as event organisers to create events that have positive rather than negative impacts.”

Music Declares Emergency Co-Founder, Lewis Jamieson, added: “Festival Republic and Melvin personally have been at the forefront of action on climate and environmental issues within the music industry for years.

“In partnering with MDE to make renewable event power a reality, they are not just continuing FR’s transition towards a greener future but offering the entire live sector an invaluable pathway that will benefit the whole live music community.”

The stage for Yungblud at Reading 2021. Credit: Andy Ford for NME
The stage for Yungblud at Reading 2021. Credit: Andy Ford for NME

Jamieson continued: “We are delighted to be working with Festival Republic on such a visible example of the difference positive music businesses can make in relation to the climate crisis.”

Speaking to NME back in April, Melvin Benn said that environmental matters were “a big issue for every festival” as Download outlined a range of green-focused changes for its 2022 site.

“It’s probably the most urgent thing that the planet is facing,” Benn explained. “We had the pandemic which took people’s attention from it, as has the terrible invasion of Ukraine, but it doesn’t take away the need to focus on the environment. At Download, as with all Festival Republic events, we’re very much focused on it.”

He continued: “That’s an improvement in bio-fuels, getting rid of single-use plastic, having much more of a focus on upcycling, recycling and re-energising. We’ve much more focus on people taking their waste away. We just have to get it right. We have no choice. As festival organisers, we need to promote the need to do well.

“Of course some festival fans will always leave rubbish behind, but that’s something that we continually have to push hard against. We need to encourage people to act responsibly, because there is no planet for the future otherwise.”

Last month Glastonbury co-organiser Emily Eavis said that single-use plastic drinks bottles will not be sold on-site at the Worthy Farm festival this year.

“Let’s keep the standard up, as we did so well in 2019, saving 1.7million bottles from landfill! Reuse. Reduce. Respect,” Eavis wrote.

Reading & Leeds 2022 is scheduled to take place between August 26-28. This year’s headliners include Arctic Monkeys, Rage Against The Machine and Dave. Any remaining tickets are available from here (Reading) and here (Leeds).

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