(Photo: Tomorrowland) By Wilhelmine Preussen, Politico | European music festivals have been attempting to jump on the climate bandwagon — with one mega event this summer even inviting EU green deal chief Frans Timmermans to speak.

But while the musical jamborees trumpet their climate credentials and court EU policymakers, activists and scholars accuse some festivals of greenwashing and a lack of transparency over their sustainability data.

From England’s Glastonbury to Belgium’s Tomorrowland to Spain’s Primavera Sound, festivals have outlined the measures they are taking to combat climate change and become more sustainable. But whether reality matches the promoters’ rhetoric often remains unclear, as hundreds of thousands of people fly across the Continent to enjoy days of consumption and excess.

It’s time for music festivals to shed the risk of greenwashing, stop “showing off initiatives” and start “enforcing them,” said Dogan Gursoy, professor at Washington State University and author of a book on the climate impacts of festival tourism.

While Timmermans dialed in remotely in late July to Tomorrowland’s Love Tomorrow sustainability conference, a side event at the festival, the enormous transport carbon footprint remains music festivals’ biggest climate problem.

“A lot of festivals emphasize waste reduction, but if you look at the overall picture of carbon emissions, it is dominated by travel. Audience festival travel emits 11 times more climate pollution than waste does,” said Kimberly Nicholas, professor and sustainability scientist at Sweden’s Lund University.
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[Thanks to Alex Teitz for contributing this article!]

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