Green the Crowd. Communicating Sustainability through Open Air Music Festivals

Master's Thesis 2012 127 Pages

Business economics - Marketing, Corporate Communication, CRM, Market Research, Social Media


List of Contents

List of Abbreviations

List of Figures

List of Tables

1. Introduction

2. Sustainability Issues
2.1. Understanding Sustainability
2.2. Sustainability Challenges
2.3. Economic Roots of the Struggles
2.4. Strategies for a Sustainable Development

3. Basis of Sustainability Communication
3.1. Communication and Marketing
3.2. Meaning
3.3. Bottlenecks
3.4. Strategies and Instruments
3.5. Businesses Challenge

4. Music Festivals – Special Events for the Society and the Music Event Industry
4.1. Meaning of Events
4.2. Development of Music Festivals
4.3. Significance for Economy and Society

5. Stop Dirty Dancing - Sustainability at Music Events
5.1. Environmental Impact of Music Festivals and the Demand for Transition
5.2. Sustainability Ambitions in the Music Festival Scene

6. Realizing Sustainability Communication
6.1. Incentives for and Demands on the Festival Operators
6.2. Green message – Subtle or Slather
6.3. Communication with and Involvement of Staff and Corporation Partners
6.4. Communication with Attendees
6.4.1. In Advance Festival Communication
6.4.2. On- Festival Communication
6.4.3. Après- Festival Communication

7. Empirical Study about the Expandability of Sustainability Communication through German Festivals
7.1. Research Demand
7.2. Research Design
7.3. Evaluation of the Survey
7.3.1. Return
7.3.2. Description of the Festival Fan Sample
7.3.3. Sustainability Measures in General
7.3.4. Tickets and Mobility
7.3.5. Framework Program
7.3.6. Sale of Goods
7.3.7. Waste

8. Derived Sustainability Communication Concept
8.1. Types and Functions of Communication Concepts
8.2. Sustainability Communication Concept for Open Air Music Festivals
8.2.1. Analysis
8.2.2. Communication Challenge and Targets
8.2.3. Strategy
8.2.4. Realisation

9. Conclusion



Appendix 1: Mail Openairguide.net

Appendix 2: The winners of the Greener Festival Award

Appendix 3: Rock’n’Roll- Guide

Appendix 4: Facebook Festival Distribution of the Survey

Appendix 5: Survey Results

Appendix 6: Comments Q. 7 – General Ambitions

Appendix 7: General Comments Structured

Appendix 8: Comments Q. 10 - CO2- Compensation

Appendix 9: Comments Q. 8 & Q. 14 - Framework Program

Appendix 10: Comments Q. 15 and Q. 16 - Waste

List of Abbreviations

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

List of Figures

Figure 1: Triple, Bottom Line Model/Weak Sustainability versus Strong Sustainability

Figure 2: Population Inquiry: Ranking of Political Areas of Responsibility.

Figure 3: Simply Economic Model Based on System Dynamics

Figure 4: Economic Possible Directions Regarding the Natural Limits.

Figure 5: Strategies and Instruments for Sustainable Action

Figure 6: Share of Music Divisions in the Music Event Market in the 1st half of 2007

Figure 7: 10 Most Popular German Festivals and their Visitor Figures Referring to Open Air Guide

Figure 8: GHG Emissions per annum from the UK Music Market Recorded and Live Total

Figure 9: Winning Nations honoured by AGFA 2011

Figure 10: Importance of festivals environmentalism

Figure 11: Communication Example Making a Sustainable Problem Tangible for Festival Fans

Figure 12: Advertisement for Glastonbury Festivals Shuttle Service

Figure 13: Greenpeace Putting Festival Fans in a Picture.

Figure 14: Navitron Showers at BBG.

Figure 15: Peats Ridge Festival Waste Location

Figure 16: Polaroid Water Aid Backstage Bar

Figure 17: Festivals and Their Location

Figure 18: Age structure of the Sample

Figure 19: Current occupation of participants

Figure 20: Festival Visits in 2011 and Planned for 2012

Figure 21: Q. 7 - Importance of Various Aspects for Festival Visits

Figure 22: Q. 9: Opinions about general environmental & climate protection measures.

Figure 23: Q. 4: Distance of Festivals from Attendees Home.

Figure 24: Q. 10: Opinions about Additional Tickets for CO2 Compensation.

Figure 25: Q. 11: Share of the Sample who said that the Amenities are Crucial or Very Crucial

Figure 26: Q. 8: Opinions about Different Possible Framework Program Items

Figure 27: Q. 14: Opinions About a Green Program Realized by NGOs

Figure 28: Q. 18: Opinions about the Most Convincing Sales Message.

Figure 29: Q. 13 Sustainability Issues in Sales of Goods

Figure 30: Q. 15: Opinions about Bringing Own Bottles and Dishes to the Festival.

Figure 31: Q. 16: Opinions About Volunteers for Waste Disposal and other Sustainability Issues.

Figure 32: Types of Concepts

Figure 33: Communication Concept Scheme

Figure 34: Cruical Aspects for a Convincing Sustainability Communication

Figure 35: Attitude of Festival Visitors Regarding Sustainability

Figure 36: Example of an Information Board

List of Tables

Table 1: Music Festival Sustainability Management

Table 2: Cooperating Festivals and Key Facts About Them

Table 3: Respond to the questionnaire

Table 4: Main Media for Music Festivals’ Sustainability Communication

Table 5: Arguments for Sustainable Transport Alternatives

1. Introduction

What do you have in mind, when you hear music festival ? Do you think on the first representatives, like Woodstock, as a movement of love and peace against the confrontational direction of the world leaders? Or, more likely, do you think of young adults hanging around without any political intentions? Festivals today are more popular than ever in Germany, but lack the revolutionary spirit of their meaningful ancestors.

But thereby is mankind confronted with the greatest challenges, which indeed are communicated by politicians and business leaders, but not satisfactorily tackled. Weather extremes all over the world remind menkind, with increasing frequency, of the strong dependence of human activities on climate conditions. Climate change has already begun and it looks like it will affect the living generation. These are self-made problems, because they concern those who emit more and more carbon dioxide and use so much of the natural resources that the available amount shrinks drama­tically (see Sachs 2008: 19 et seq.).

With the rising public awareness for sustainability the companies’ interest to include the topic in their communications strategy has increased, which is also true for the Music Event Industry branch. But while many companies are concentrated rather on green washing than acting like that, some encouraged sustainability efforts do not become public after all, although marketing communication provides a valuable tool for the strategic positioning and is able to inspire people to modify their consumption behaviour (see Meiländer 2011: 52).

Hence, this master thesis attempts to explore, by taking the example of Open Air Music Festivals, how an applied target group specific Sustainability Communication (SC) concept needs to be designed to reach the customer and influence them towards a more sustainable behaviour.

For research the event industry has been chosen, as it is indeed a small part of the market, but with creative and experimental characters, who could probably push greener alternatives into the limelight (see Jones 2010: 140). As there are various differences between the existing events, Open Air Music Festivals are focused as all of them have similar characteristics and attract many people, especially the younger generation, which should be aware of the sustainability challenges.

Taking results for sustainability management and the festival fans attitude into account, operators can achieve cost reductions and image improvements. As representatives of an extravagant industry they could show responsibility and tie in with the spirit of the first festivals. Ideally, it would induce more competitors to adapt to a more sustainable way.

To provide a solid foundation, the second chapter explains sustainability and how it is understood in this thesis, giving an overview about the present challenges regarding sustainability and named reasons. After that it takes a look at the discussed sustainability strategies to understand the field of duties the businesses face. Chapter three covers the background information about Sustainability Communication, including the role of Communication in Marketing, the specialties and action fields of SC and the respective importance of reliability. Afterwards, the fourth chapter deals with insights of the Music Event branch and the development, as well as the meaning of open air music festivals to understand their societal and economic importance and the potential to influence individuals through those events. Chapter five demonstrates the festivals’ deep impact on sustainability issues, but also the few and even growing rays of hope, in the festival landscape.

The following chapter six is dedicated to combine the three different parts SC and open air music festivals. In this landscape SC strategies are analysed, to see how they are being successfully put into practice with respective to convince festival attendees.

Chapter seven describes the results from the festival fans survey examining their attitude and how this influences the SC design, especially how to encourage them, without constraining the attractiveness of the event. Therefore, promising festival communication measures become integrated. As music festival fans are from every segment of society, the results offer information about the general ecological awareness of the mostly younger generations. Due to the results a communication concept is presented at the end giving an overview about adequate measures.

T he final chapter summarizes the general results of the thesis, evaluating the overall outcome of the research.

2. Sustainability Issues

As there are quite different understandings of sustainability, this initial chapter begins by defining the term and goes on to give an overview of the challenges in the sustainability discussion. It examines sustainability deficits, which arise as consequences of our economic system and the different strategies for a sustainable development (SD). This overview is helpful in understanding the complexity of the sustainability discussion and how many different aspects need to be considered when both implementing and communicating a sustainability strategy.

2.1. Understanding Sustainability

Some people might think sustainability is a buzz word meaning nearly everything picked up by businesses to show their good will. But the first approach for sustainable development (SD) was already described in 1713 by the German Carl von Carlowitz, who in his book Sylvicultura oeconomica coined the forestry based definition of the term. In his understanding the conservation of natural resources is the elementary issue of sustainability, which simply means that enough resources have to remain unaffected to enable the necessary reproduction processes (see Carlowitz 1713: 105 et seq.). This descended into obscurity as industrialization progressed and technical innovations in western nations enabled humans to vastly improve living conditions. The importance of the term sustainability arose again in the sixties with observable global environmental problems and the rise of the environmental movement. Meadows et al recognized during this time that natural systems, which underpin society, will collapse soon, if resource intensive industrial development continues (see Meadows et al 1972). At this time a SD was understood as an eco-centric approach to preserve ecosystem (IUCN 1980: 18 et seq.).

The transformation to an anthropocentric view arose finally with the reuse in the Brundtland Report in 1987 due to the cognition of anthropogenic environmental changes caused by human mismatched manners to the requirement of livelihood (see Kruse 2005: 111). This report established a definition for SD, which is the most used: "Sustainable development is a development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”, (Hauff 1987: 46). Its main aspects are resource extraction, demographic growth and assimilation ability of ecological systems, wherefore it provides recommendations for action. Furthermore, aspects are divided into consideration of intergenerational justice and distribution between developed and developing countries based on Rawls’ theory of justice (see Rawls 1971).

But since then significant changes have still not been achieved. Measures to tackle climate change relocate the problems in the south hemisphere rather than solving them. The economic upturn of development countries goes in line with massive environmental destructions and a still increasing energy demand. Established in western countries are a schizophrenic attitude, political and economic proclamation of climate protection, but also the expansion of airports (and their low cost airlines), conventional power stations and international instead of national business (see Sachs 2006: 19 et seq.).

During the underlying attempt to combine SD with economic growth, the conception is also called triple bottom line approach (see figure 1), expressing that the three inter-dependent constraints must be balanced to achieve sustainability. Based on this a huge step was taken by the UN Rio Summit on Environment and Development in 1992. There, the international community determined a collection of instruments of great SD importance to step into the international political and business activities (UNEP 1992). Revolutionarily, for the first time humans were placed in focus as the affected, as well as the responsible actors (see Severin 2005: 66). Hence, national environmental policy developed into a global issue connecting environmental and development policy; which faces the important role of industrialized countries to develop sustainable lifestyles. So, the introduced UN action program, Agenda 21, includes a part, where all societal groups are invoked to support the conversion of the world economy. This means developing forms of consumption and production which are bearable for the natural livelihood base (see Wehrspaun/Wehrspaun 2005: 55).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 1: Triple, Bottom Line Model/Weak Sustainability versus Strong Sustainability,

Source: Author, following Phase 2, the strong sustainability think tank.

By introducing the triple bottom line approach in Rio, the German Advisory Council on the Environment acknowledged the large contribution to enhance the environmental issues (see SRU 2002: 67 et seq.). Nevertheless, this idea leads to a problem:

“While a broad framing of the sustainability concept allows for a diversified and wide- ranging participation of stakeholder in the implementation of sustainability, this vagueness also leaves it open to bring misused by power groups who want to press their business-as-usual attitude into a new trendy setting”, (Ott et al 2011: 14).

As actors have not adequately taken into account the long term preservation of the natural capital, the triple bottom line approach has been recognized as the weak model for sustainability. It is characterized by economists strong believe in the substitutability of natural capital until a minimum (see Perman 2003: 91). Meanwhile many economics follow the approach of strong sustainability, expressed through the model below on the right (see figure 1, right picture). It suggests that the economic system is dependent on the society and both are subdivisions of the environment (see Perman 2003: 92).

Based on strong sustainability, SD is an ethically motivated and normative concept demanding lifestyles which do not endanger humans’ future (see Godemann/Michelsen 2011: 5). This includes a quantitative aspect, what means to use only the quantity of resources which is reproducible, and a qualitative aspect, which means to take care of the quality of the natural capital like water, air or soil (see von Winterfeld 2007: 46). In fact, this is comprehensible, but environmental borders are hard to face in a globalized world. In the present paper sustainability is described by the strong approach as it is essential to preserve prosperity and the Earth as an inhabitable place for the current and future generations.

2.2. Sustainability Challenges

Sustainability challenges are various. However, due to the Agenda 21, the UN plan for global transformation, the main challenges are to sustain consumption and production patterns in order to stop the deterioration of the environment. This demands an adjustment of goods and services to minimize the use of natural resources, toxic materials, waste and emissions over the whole life cycle (see Agenda 21 1992: 4.3).

Beside its role as an important production resource factor, natural capital has further important functions, like life- support services or amenity services, which can hardly be substituted through human capital. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Report (2005) by Kofi Annan, past UN General Secre­tary, concluded that insecurity about the various environmental interconnections and its multi-functionality is problematic. It has already been observable that the disregard of regeneration processes could lead to irreversible damages comprising the loss of ecosystem services (see MEA 2005: 155 et seq.). The utility of insects demonstrates easily the financial impact of biodiversity loss. They fertilize 80 per cent of field crops and 50 per cent of flowering plants, but millions of years of convo­lution have adjusted nearly every plant to specific insects making substitution difficult (Buchmann/Nabhan 1996: 292). It is easy to imagine that the work done by butterflies, bucks and honeybees can nearly neither be substituted by humans nor paid. The results of the TEEB program that has been launched by the G8 in 2007 to analyse the global economics benefits of biodiversity and the costs for policy inaction, shows that the world loses natural capital worth between euro 1.35 and euro 3.10 trillion every year (Griffith 2010: 17).

This is also apparent in the unmatched biodiversity goals which were set by the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention of Biological Diversity in 2002 in order to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss significantly until 2010 (see COP 6: Decision VI/26). But instead of a reduced biodiversity loss the global resource extraction increased from 1980 to 2005 with an aggregated growth rate of 45 per cent to 58 billion tons (Luther/Giljum 2010: 1). Since a few years the Earth Overshoot Day demonstrates the date were the sum of resource exploitation for the current year surpass the planet’s ability for reproduction, which was in 2011 already the 27th of September. Afterwards the deficit is made up by using the natural saving stock and adding waste and emissions in atmosphere and oceans (see Freeling 2011). Hence, it needs to be faced that natural systems are extremely fragile, but urgently needed to ensure human life on earth.

Actually, the demand for limited resources like coal and steel is still growing, putting even more pressure on the ecosystems and global economies (see Supersberger/Luhmann 2008: 45 et seq.).

According to IPCC report, the main causes of changes in temperature and rainfalls are emissions of fossil fuel burning and the massive deforestation of tropical rainforest. Globally allocated old forests, fenlands, water masses and sediments of the deep sea are as well very important permanent reservoirs for carbon dioxide (see IPCC 2007a: ch. 7). S ome regions of the earth, like the Tropical Andes, shelter a rich and diverse biodiversity[1], but coeval they show a very sensitive reaction in case of changes in natural conditions (see IPCC 2007b: ch. 1.3.1). Meinshausen emphasises that the pre-industrial CO2– equivalent- concentration of 278 parts per million (ppm) has increased to 380 ppm in 2008 and a further annual rise of two ppm is expected. Owing to this number, the concentration will very likely rise over a CO2- equivalent of 400 ppm, the calculated upper limit to get climate change under control. Some scientists believe, it could be endurable for a short time and it would be rather important to keep the rise below an average temperature of two degrees Celsius. However, if emissions cannot be dropped, it is very likely that world climate will become uncontrollable (see Meinshausen 2008: 20 et seq.).

Nevertheless, damaging nature and bringing climate into crisis are of course not determined by laws of nature. The following pages illuminate the economic reasons for the significant human influence in natural conditions.

2.3. Economic Roots of the Struggles

It is likely that the majority of people dislike the destruction of nature. An interesting view on this allows a survey by forsa about preferred living conditions. The main response was ‘closeness to nature’, which shows the importance of Biodiversity just for a feeling of well- being (BMU 2007). This becomes even more obvious with a look at the top three issues on Germans’ political agenda (see figure 2).

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Figure 2: Population Inquiry: Ranking of Political Areas of Responsibility; Source: Author, following BMU (2010: 16).

Intrinsically, it is not quite astonishing. A least, humans are used to life directly in and around nature. Reasons for breaking the course are mainly due to great technological achievements.

Technological progresses has led to a strengthening of the private economy, always accompanied by economists, which analyses the theoretical structures of businesses. The deep societal support for private businesses has been established since business men helped with increased financial power were able to disempower the seigniors. This was crucial to enable democracy (Böhm 1966: 75 et seq.). Once Adam Smith reduces the role of the state to an invisible hand and argues that additional value of one entrepreneur supports the overall prosperity (see Smith 1776), the belief in a successful market mechanism as the mainstreaming economic view was set. Later, Malthus (1798) remarked that the availability of land or natural resources as a reason for population growth, but also as the limiting factor for a further expansion. The decline of marginal earnings would lead to a further decrease of population until a steady state. Ricardo (1817) faced this problem as well, but presented the rising of the intensive or extensive margin of land as solution for avoiding resource scarcity. This led to his famous perception of the comparative advantage against the background of the introduction of protective duties in Great Britain. It means that companies should focus on those goods, which can be produced more cost-effectively than others. In addition to these ideas, the inclusion of fossil fuels pushed the rapid growth of technological progress and knowledge, so that an ongoing technological improvement and specialization were seen, until today, as the favoured solution for capacity problems or bottlenecks (Perman et al 2003: 5). Very soon there was not only the challenge to deliver enough resources for a still growing population, but also to keep the accrued industry, which entails jobs and high investments.

There was also a change in economic theory. The representatives of the classical national economy, like the forementioned men, have seen the production value in the output as a result of labour. The neoclassical view puts more emphasis on the trading process, where values are relative and were set by supply and demand (Perman et al 2003: 3). Further inspired by Vilfredo Paretos’ studies on economic efficiency, businesses have been in a permanent state of trying to reach a higher efficiency. Even if some challenges arose in terms of economic crisis, never the path itself was questioned; rather the way in which to strengthen it. Hence, John Maynard Keynes reintroduced the important role of the state, in order to set adequate incentives for stimulating economic growth (1936).

A look at the neoclassical theories presents more analysis which have shown that specialization, so in the Neoclassical Trade Theory by inter-sectorial trade (Ohlin 1923) or in the New Trade Theory by intra-sectorial trade (Krugman 2009) could encourage growth and higher welfare effects. So, it leads to outsourcing, centralization and finally to supply chains extended over the globe. But beside the fact that it becomes risky to align on long distance supply chains, which conceivably will be restricted by rising oil prices or institutional limitation of allowed emissions, multinational companies, some of them stronger than states, continue to accelerate resource exploitation. DeSombre considers it a crucial problem that avoiding environmental pollution is costly for the firms. Hence, should pollution damages for the local society arise, it normally does not affect the businesses directly. So they can remove valuable natural resources and simply move on after they have exploited a region. But business managers in their position feel unable to care for it as they are responsible for the successful performance of their businesses, demanding a large amount of capital and therefore investors, who need to be convinced. Typically, high profits are the best argument for them, explaining the ongoing need for growth and creating new products to create new customer demands. There it comes to the economic creative destruction as Schumpeter named the entrepreneurial process (see Schumpeter 1942: 136 et seq.), but occurring much more intensively in another way, which is graphically summarized by Professor Bardi (see figure 3):

However, there is no doubt that, despite the societal fallouts, the industrialized countries were able to achieved high welfare effects in the second half of the 20th century, which goes in line with social balance measures. Criticism could be waved aside by saying that nothing is perfect, but it has come to further maldevelopments.

To make profitable earnings it was beneficial that the financial sector has introduced low interest rates in the last decades and has steadily reduced controlling tools for the financial risks management. Hence, seeing the opportunity for investment combined with the unflappable belief in personal luck and nearly uncontrolled markets led to the burst of market bubbles (see Ricciardi 2008).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 3: Simply Economic Model Based on System Dynamics (upper picture) and the Change of Stock Size in Time; Source: Bardi (2011).

As a result many people are scared to lose their capital assets and the national states still try to handle the latest economic crisis. The continuous globalisation process with the associated cost pressure is challenging for many enterprises in the industrialized countries, because their home based production centres are not able to produce as cheaply as foreign located ones with lower social welfare systems and less environmental regulations. This is especially puzzling for regional enterprises. Usually they do not have such a big carbon foot print, an advantage in sustainable terms, and support domestic social structures, but they cannot afford the low prices which have become possible through mass production and global outsourcing.

Hence, it results in higher unemployment rates and a tremendous change of established social structures. Employees get used to moving to another big city or even other countries every couple of years, where multinational companies promise well-paid jobs. They also get used to commuting, accepting low wages and long working hours and are often still frightened to lose them as many are just temporary. This development leads to negative impacts on families, regions (depopulation), climate and even democratic structures (see Schemel 2010).Where multinational companies offer jobs and dominate markets, it is clear that political institutions are hesitating to set rules, which might disperse powerful actors. That is why some experts see that these evolutions could lead to a “loss of policy autonomy” (Milner/Keohane 1996: 16 et seq.) Schemel argues that productivity has been grown so much that firms need to expand to keep the same amount of jobs. Since then the tasks of the institutions switched from regulation and control to deregulation and liberation of the market forces, which would endanger the civil rights and liberties that people fight for in the last centuries (cf. Schemel, 2010: 84 et seq.). The line of arguments from other globalization critics like Stiglitz (i.e. 2003) or Ziegler (2003) goes in a similar direction.

It becomes clear that the reviewed crisis are strongly linked to each other and that they need a comprehensive approach for a solution.

2.4. Strategies for a Sustainable Development

For decades many economics have ask, whether this direction is still welfare supporting. So, Keneth Boulding, broadly seen as one of the founding fathers of Ecological Economics (see Perman et al 2003: 9), remembered with his publication ‘ The Economics of the Coming S paceship Earth’ that the economy is a subsystem of a larger system. He suggested other models instead of the neoclassical growth paradigm, where less production and consumption are key issues (see 1966: 3 et seq.). John Maynard Keynes was convinced that growth is necessary, but only until economic problems become solved (see 1930). Thus, Ecological Economists have worked on bringing sustainable problems into economics and have developed different approaches to find economic solutions for these challenges, particularly as the sustainable problems have to intervene the international business activities the one or the other way around (see Sarkis 2010: 78 et seq.).

The sustainable theory distinguishes between three different ways to realize sustainability. These three indicatory concepts are efficiency, consistency and sufficiency (see Huber 1995).

Efficiency means to achieve an economic goal, e. g. producing a good, with the least possible resource and energy input; for instance as proclaimed for instance by the ‘ Faktor 4’ approach (see Weizsäcker/Lovins/Lovins 1995). Hence, revenue and effort become optimized and enable business to reduce resource costs. Typical measures are adapting efficient technologies or resource recycling. But, efficiency needs to be valued adequately. Otherwise utility, which is of course bound to specific interests and prospects, cannot be determined (see Scholz 1996: 4). So cars in Germany which emit much more than others get a green sticker (meaning the most harmless emission group) due to another categorization. This examples with respect to a still rising world population makes decoupling, the basic idea of the green new deal, just a wishful thinking, unless the “growth in the richer nations is curtailed, or some kind of completely unforeseen technological breakthrough happens”, (Jackson 2011: 86). The argumentation of Hawken et al (1999) goes in the same direction, when they say:

Without a fundamental rethinking of the structure and the reward system of commerce, narrowly focused eco-efficiency could be a disaster for the environment by overwhelming resource savings with even larger growth in the production of the wrong products (…), using the wrong business models”, (Hawken et al 1999: x).

However, the efficiency strategy is in line with the political and economic growth attempts and with the UN definition of sustainable development.

Realizing efficiency problems, the approach of ecological consistency was set, sometimes also called eco-effectiveness was set (see Braungart/Mc Donough 2002: 72). Their underlying concept of cradle-to-cradle is the idea of removing waste through the reuse of residues for another process. This technological and innovative oriented approach is focused on natural metabolic cycles, describing a qualitative change to nature-identical products and technologies (see Huber 1995: 111 et seq.). Hence, it is not an attempt to produce less, jut differently. Especially, the idea of biomimicry in the field of green chemistry engineering especially raises hope (see Doble/Kruthiventi 2007).

Due to rising population growth, Grunwald sees this strategy as essential, especially regarding the energy demands, and sees the use of hydrogen instead of fossil fuels as a supreme example for consistency, because there are no negative effects probable, even with an extensive usage (2003: 223 et seq.). Further, he rejects concepts, which postulate Bio-fuels or so called clean coal as too lavish and backward oriented (see Grunwald 2003: 225). However, Paech argues that the consistency strategies would be used as the best alibi to go on with a continuous economic growth (see 2005: 55). This could be harmful, while improvements cannot automatically reduce the consumption, they could moreover trigger the rise in resource use to a higher request, so called backfire- effect (see Herring/Sorrell 2009). Nevertheless, consistency is able to achieve a relative decoupling between a rise in consumption and the growth of environmental pressure due to the decline of environmental inputs per unit, but not mandatory to an absolute decoupling (see Grosse 2010)

The third orientation is the one with the most negative denotation as many people associate it with the switch from well-loved behaviours towards an ascetic life-style: Sufficiency, (Winterfeld 2007: 48). Asserted by Daly (1996) also Scherhorn promotes a modest life-style including a general reduction of resource expenditure as well as the regionalization and deceleration of production, consumption and traffic as well as the partial removal of industry. Emphasized is the individual redevelopment of agricultural and mechanical skills (see 1997: 25 et seq.). Fitting to this, a redevelopment of regional economic cycles is a recommended resilience strategy to handle globali­sation crisis like peak oil, climate change, financial crisis and accordingly to accordingly enforce the local economic and social structures (see Paech 2005: 67).

Princen explains the concept of sufficiency as when by doing something, for instance eating, sleeping, or consumption, individuals reach a saturation point. Then, surplus value changes into negative effects. So, sufficiency would mean to consume an adequate amount for an optimal well- being, which means in fact downsizing consumption and the typical high living standards (see Princen 2003: 43). Therefore, energy and resource use can be rapidly diminished, already by changing extravagant private life styles. Rogall demonstrates this with examples like jogging instead of skiing, buying second hand products or avoidance of car use (see 2004: 127 et seq.). But Grunwald argues sufficiency had only slight acceptance within politics and culture, which would invalidate the topic pragmatically (see Grunwald 2003: 219). Alcott claims shifting effects, for instance the decrease of meat consumption in one region could lead to a rising demand in other regions, where it thereto becomes affordable to buy meat (see 2008: 770 et seq.). Korhonen remarks in addition that sufficiency needs a regional diversity of suppliers and demanders, products and services (see 2005: 35 et seq.). The limited adaptability of the economic extension and simultaneously sufficiency is also mentioned by Winterfeld. She sees the problem that new streets and shopping centre were built to increase consumption, but otherwise people should be advised to use it only moderately to enable SD (see 2007: 54).

Indeed, sufficiency demands a radical change in used behaviour. Paech explains that sufficiency demands the questioning of own wants, validating what is really necessary to meet own needs and casting off any unnecessary burdened jetsam, which is taking time, money, nerves and ecological resources. Therefore, a cultural change is needed, where the society is no longer dominated by rising material welfare, which is already overloading the daily life. Hence, if things are self-made, people re-obtain self-determination as they reduce insecurity due to less dependence on monetary inputs (see Paech 2010: 232 et seq.).

Lucas and Matys describe culture as a diverse societal value system, which evolves through societal praxis. They suggest a change in the value system, but see conflicts by the short-winded political management system (see 2003: 12 et seq.). To achieve cultural change, the market surrounding institutional context is targeted in particular to implement a sustainable de-commoditization strategy. It emphasizes the influences of goods and limiting the commercialization effect (see Hirsch 1967: 84).

However, the present level of consumption is stimulated by the socio-cultural conception of wellbeing and happiness that supports the materialistic more than non-materialist values (see Brown/Cameron 2000: 34). An idea to reach sustainable development was made by his student Daly (1996) with his steady state economy. It demands resources extraction that stays within the regeneration and assimilation limits. Georgescu-Roegen is broadly seen as the inventor of a degrowth vision by referring to the Second Law of Thermodynamic (1971). Jackson talks about Prosperity without Growth (2010) and advises the strengthening of social capital. It includes mainly (de-)regionalization processes, reducing geographical labour mobility and claims more responsibilities to local communities (see Jackson 2010: 183). Furthermore, he mentions that the consumerism culture needs to be degraded to stop people “seek[ing] identity and search[ing] for meaning through material goods”, (2012: 183).

Paech, as a proponent of post-growth economics, sees concepts such as Community Supported Agri­culture[2], regional decentralized energy supply or regional currencies reinforce the regions economically and in an environmental friendly way so that they are able to reduce the dependence on national or international businesses. Long product life cycles and rising use intensity should finally lead to a material zero-sum game (Paech 2009: 26 et seq.). Paech points out that “Markets, entrepreneurs, money, consumer goods and technological innovations would still be necessary in a post-growth economy – but far from a culture of exorbitance”, (Paech 2009: 27).

In fact, sustainable development, as it is seen by the UN, and degrowth are opposites. Interestingly, the representatives of a steady state economy say that according to the individual economics distance to the natural limit an “economy can reach a steady state after a period of growth or after a period of downsizing or degrowth”, (CASSE 2011). It is a crucial to emphasize that degrowth does not mean to go back to the Stone Age, but rather to re-obtain life in accord with natural laws, which is just the assumption Malthus made 200 years ago (see p. 14). Nevertheless, it is problematic to sell the new approach to the neoclassical economists, where de-growth means nothing else than recession combined with unemployment and massive financial injections.

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Figure 4: Economic Possible Directions Regarding the Natural Limits; Source: Author.

Nevertheless, if 20 per cent of the humans on earth consume 80 per cent of the worlds’ resources than it is not possible that 50 or 100 per cent live in the same way, not even with a focus on ecological modernization. So, Alcott says, a mixed strategy is needed to achieve a sustainable way of consumption, consisting of the presented components efficiency, consistency and sufficiency, but especially through a change of the culture and the consumption level of society. He summarizes it by saying that consumers from rich western countries need to consume less (sufficiency) but more efficient and also differently (de-commoditization) (see Alcott 2008: 786).

Therefore, sustainability communication can play an important role in different parts of society in order to manifest the change. What this means is revisited in the following chapter.

3. Basis of Sustainability Communication

Looking at the previous chapter, one of the most important issues is to find ways for spreading the needs for a SD society wide. Therefore, the current chapter first looks at the role of communication in business marketing and investigates the meaning of sustainability communication afterwards. Before strategies and instruments were presented, the general bottlenecks within sustainability communication become examined to analyse the challenges for businesses in the last part.

3.1. Communication and Marketing

In general, communication was termed by Ziemann as the principle of societal organization itself, due to its important role in spreading information among social creatures (Ziemann 2007: 124). Watzlawick decisively influenced the communication research by its axiom of human communication. The first and most famous axiom one cannot not communicate, demonstrates the broad influence of communication. It simply means nobody can avoid communication, no matter whether something has been said or not. Every activity sends a message of its own (see Watzlawick 1967: 48 et seq.).

Within business communication policy is, beside market research, product policy, distribution policy and contracting policy, an important marketing instrument geared to anticipate, awake and meet the needs of the customers (see Weis 2007: 14). It contains the planned creation and transmission of information directed towards the market to influence opinions, attitude and behaviour in favour of companies (see Diller 2001: 791). Pepels adds that it means to adjust the opinion reality of the own purposive idea (see 2005: 25). Companies inform customers, potential customers and the interested society about products or services as well as about the company. Thereby they try to meet their needs (see Thommen/Achleitner 2006: 258).

Jossè et al state moreover that structurally, marketing communication is a part of push communication, meaning a unilateral communication from sender to receiver that should raise publicity, exposing the unique selling point and increasing the willingness to buy or increase sympathy for the brand or the company respectively (see 2011: 6). Nevertheless, it could absolutely generate a pull effect at the receivers’ site. Thus, the receiver wants to buy or at least to get more information about the product or service. Thereby it should be artful designed to raise attention. Furthermore they indicate the importance of planning and controlling of marketing communication (see Jossè et al 2011: 3).

Hence, the communication process here is an exchange between individuals or groups of individuals, but with the senders’ conscious intension to influence the recipients. Traditionally marketing communication includes five core instruments Advertisement, Public Relations, Sales Promotion, Personal Selling and Direct Marketing (see Meffert/Kirchgeorg 1998: 316 et seq.). Weis complements modern Instruments Sponsoring, Product Placement and Online Advertising (see Weis 2007: 181). Rheinländer et al hints to the growing importance of social media for communications and the chances for sustainability communication (see 2011: 95 et seq.).

3.2. Meaning

Godemann and Michelsen assert that humans should take responsibility and restructure their relationships to each other and to nature (see 2011: 4) and explain what it needs:

This requires a social process of mutual understanding that deals with both the causes of these development and their possible solutions. In other words, a process of communication and mutual understanding that is also known as sustainability communication, (Godemann/Michelsen 2011: 4).

They further emphasise that sustainability communication (SC) deals “with the future development of society at the core of which is a vision of sustainability.” (2011: 6). From the theoretical perspective SC is obviously influenced by Communication theory, but as well by various other scientific disciplines like Systems theory, Epistemology Constructivism, Media Theory, Cultural Theory of Risk and Sociology. Until now no own theory exists for SC (see Godemann/Michelsen 2011: 7- 11)

Since the Rio Summit established the principle of sustainable development (see p. 3), nature conservation is not longer the key medium for ecological communication, but rather sustainable development (Siebert 2005: 133). Also taken into account are and norms like inter- and intra-generational justice, cause study, perception of challenges as well as the action taking and influencing possibilities on a societal and individual base taking place in various parts of the society. The basis of this communication is that concrete challenges evoking a non- sustainable development on a regional, national and international level (see Michelsen 2005: 27 et seq.). Regarding its appearance say Godemann and Michelsen, SC “is found in fields of discourse that includes all social systems […], such as politics, law, science, business or education” (2011: 10).

But until now the distribution of the notion sustainable development is not successful. Even if political discussion has dealt with it since 1987, knew in 1998 only 15 per cent and in 2004 with a slight increase 22 per cent of the German population this notion, depending very much on the educational level. It demonstrates that the general public has still not been adequately informed that it is not just about environmentalism anymore, but about implementing cultural change and sustainable consumption patterns (see Wehrspaun/Wehrspaun 2005: 56). Indeed, the confusing utilization and the different approaches in the scientific fields do not make it easier for society to understand the meaning. But Grunenberg and Kuckartz examined as well that the sustainability term is not known broadly. Nevertheless, occurs a large identification with its principles like resource conservation, fair trade or inter- generational justice (see 2005: 203). The BMU examined as well that people do have a strong connection to nature and that environmentalism is relevant for them, as well if they do not behave like that, because they cannot grasp or ignore their own responsibility generally or from time to time (see BMU 2010: 35).

3.3. Bottlenecks

Due to this resonance in society, it can be faced that environmentalism alone is not enough to foster a sustainable development (see Kruse 2005: 110 et seq.), but great potentials to further implement the needs of a strong sustainability do exist. The associated requirements concerning learning processes and the development of shaping skills are very high due to interactions summarized by Kruse (see 2005: 112):

- Missing human sensory organs to realize environmental changes like ozone holes or radioactive fallouts and complexity, dynamic and non- transparency of human-environment- interference are not accomplishable challenges for humans’ cognitive skills
- Impacts of environmental interferences are often delayed, delayed relatable and at long-distance; especially true for global environmental changes like emissions (CFC; CO2) or outsourced environmental problems due to globalization
- Own impact is deemed too low to make a difference as the big picture is not faceable, for instance referring to car or energy usage

Beside the fact that individuals do not feel affected, explained by the bullets points above, it further depends further on personal values (individual factors), temporal emotions as well as social norms and values of a group or the society as a whole (interpersonal and social factors). Furthermore, there need to be alternative options for a sustainable action (see Kruse 2005: 115). If it is too difficult to change behaviour, even a motivated person would not change patterns.

Due to the complexity of sustainability- the notion is very abstract and does not evoke emotions in contrast to nature conservation or animal protection- it makes it difficult to use for communication processes (see Siebert 2005: 136 et seq.). To embed sustainability in the value system of a society Lucas and Matys suggest a purposeful emotional staging of the topic. Therefore it would be essential to find the right ways of presenting the topic to the society, including how to find out how sustainable moral concepts could be strengthened and how they should be communicated and staged to connect responsible businesses and individuals with a sustainable life style (Lucas/Matys, 2003: 5 et seq.).

And even if, according to the rising attention of the principles in the media, more and more people grasp particular problems like too much energy use or meat consumption, it is claimed in political discussions that despite extensive information in brochures, literature, lectures and TV broadcasts, there still exists the mentioned difference between knowledge and activities (see Matthies et al 2004). Thereto, an important point to mention is that sustainable developments treats frightening issues in its core and communication about risks affects the personal well- being as well as motivation to react. Hence, people dislike going into details or rather ignore the topics completely (see Japp 2000: 74 et seq.). That is why the media, especially the mass media, has a particular significance for a transmission of information about sustainable challenges as a tool for making complex matters concrete and understandable. It means as well that media is massively involved in shaping the societal understanding of those issues (see Kruse 2005: 13). Witt even says: “Media do not portray reality […] , but rather generate it”, (Witt, 2005: 174).

Thus, a smart communication is essential to develop a societal sustainable development demanding the following tasks for SC, named by Wehrspaun and Wehrspaun (2005: 61 et seq.):

- Advancement of integrative thinking to develop a culture of sustainability;
- Transfer of knowledge for sustainable lifestyles should transmit practical opportunities for sustainable behaviour in the broad society by forming conciliation structures within schools, companies and local groups;
- Make tangible that the idea of sustainability needs wise habits in terms of Kant to activate the whole civil potential.

3.4. Strategies and Instruments

To reach these goals different strategies and instruments for SD were created, mostly based on environmental psychology, which settle the way of sustainability communication. Cognition oriented strategies built on the available perception and knowledge and work with information and education, which asked for a fitting information design, communication media and personal skills of communicators.

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Figure 5: Strategies and Instruments for Sustainable Action; Source: Author, based on Kruse 2005: 116.

It comprises as well the response about success or failure of an action. Learning by modelling can be part of cognition oriented strategies, but is as well an instrument of antecedent measures. Further instruments in this category are behavioural clues like signs, self- defined goals or self- obligations. Consequent measures include, for instance, incentives, punishment as well as individual or collective feedback. It is applicable to all, that instruments should be adapted to the specific target group, action fields and the circumstances to become successful (see Kruse 2005: 16 et seq.).

The organigram in figure 5 helps to face the different ways SC can emerge. Godemann and Michelsen underline the importance of Social Marketing for SC, particularly in online communi­cation and social networks. They further mention that the marketing tools, normally used for goods or services, can be adapted more efficient and fitting to the target group.. The authors also recommend the empowerment of individuals by communicative planning and participation instruments like future workshops, round tables or eParticipation, so that they become able to recognize non-sustainable activities and how to substitute it with sustainable alternatives. Hence, civil society could be strengthened and individuals get involved in shaping a sustainable future.

Strongly linked to this is the education of sustainable development. The difference is that learners are not just trained in changing their behaviour, they should rather participate autonomously (see Godemann/Michelsen 2011: 9 et seq.). However, educational measures bear the risk of boomerang effects, when individuals do not like to get lectured (see Reisch et al 2008: 10).

Structural policy can be divided into strong instruments like regulatory and economic measures and soft ones, comprising of information and consulting instruments. Linked to the applicability of the demonstrated strategies, Michelsen reflects SC as part of a context of soft structural political instruments, which he also called persuasive instruments, as they do not present obligations, but should convince people to change. He adds examples like governmental or non-governmental sustainability reporting, labelling, already mentioned initiatives and campaigns or considering of sustainability aspects in consumer tests (see Michelsen 2005: 30-32).

However, it is notably in the scientific discussion that the instruments are mainly allocated to profit or non-profit oriented actors. Hence, apart from profit marketing the specific marketing concept social marketing has been established entailing activities created for the benefit of society (Weis 2007: 21). Examples therefore are initiatives like the ‘ Slow Down ’ campaign by the German Traffic Safety Council e.V. (DVR), financed by the Federal Ministry of Transport (see Degener 2009: 38), but as well issues of sustainability as an important concern of society.

3.5. Businesses Challenge

Implementing SC in businesses, Clausen and Fichter say, comprises all communication policy measures which are connected to the social and ecological impact of the business activities, and which are as well intended to communicate them among the stake holders (see 1996: 6 et seq.).

Mast and Fiedler quoted that companies pursue mainly three different ways of SC (see 2005: 572):

- Reporting, focussed on non-monetary topics
- Permanent dialogs with critical stakeholders like NGOs, to let them participate and avoid negative headlines
- Participation in events or own events to get in contact with important stakeholders

Michelsen specifies the mentioned permanent dialog by allocating consulting- tools as well as co-operation and negotiation instruments (see Michelsen 2007: 27 et seq.). Furthermore Severin points out that companies’ SC is focused on those stakeholders, who claim a co-determination (see Severin 2005: 66 et seq.). Information and education are rather topics for internal stakeholder commu­nication. Thus, it can take place between the company members to raise the awareness for sustainability issues, which encourages additionally the building of shared values beyond the colleagues. Moreover has the internal sustainability communication indeed an allocative and structural function as they support the adaption of determined sustainability strategies (see Hardtke/Prehn 2001: 220).

Besides that, sustainability issues already play a role in the purchase decision as SC is used to profile the company as a responsible minded one on the market. Especially in the consumer goods market a high potential to gain an improved selling proposition still exists (see Fichter 2000: 264). Nevertheless, communication itself cannot sell a product or a service, as Jossè et al mention. It cannot be convincing as long as problems in the other parts of the ‘ Marketing Ps’ like price or product arise (Jossé et al 2011: 6).

Moreover, it is a difficult task to gain the stakeholders trust, as market endogenous difficulties occur, because the companies’ liability is hard to proof for the public or the consumer. Due to the information asymmetries many companies try to exploit this advantage so that green- washing occurs, stakeholder loose trust and even single mistakes, ones published, are hard to repair. And really trying to run a business more sustainably depends as well on all the cooperation partners, which need to be convinced, but also controlled and finally trusted. This further elucidates the need for a careful and trustful SC, especially in times of social media, where wrong statements get unmasked ruthlessly (see Jossè et al 2011: 4). However, it is a disadvantage to neglect SC as more and more companies have recognized the demand for it within society.

Typical sustainability reporting is done through print media and internet, described by Lichtl as the classical-informative version. The reports are focused to describe the problems and the planned solutions which is only attractive for stakeholders strongly involved in the topic. To reach other target groups, he suggests the usage of classical-emotional methods meaning to awake interests at first by emotions and deliver information afterwards. Furthermore emotional- associative formats can be created by designing new methods for the transmission, including event marketing strategies and live communication (see Lichtl 2003).

However, by comparing the efforts within the public and the private sector, companies barely overtake true responsibility for a sustainable development. What they normally pursue is the so called license to operate by calming pressure groups that care and could demolish the image of a company (see Severin 2005: 67 et seq.). Severin quotes further the procedure of companies using CSR activities just to draw off the attention from deficits in sustainability processes and to show good will. This is undoubtedly still in line with the understanding of CSR as it is seen as a voluntary acceptance of responsibility (see Severin 2005: 72). But is remarkably has little to do with the understanding of SC remarked by Godemann and Michelsen. Hence, if businesses stuck on the proclaimed self- commitment by adding some voluntary CSR measures instead of truly integrating sustain­ability management by transforming things like supply chains, products and guiding principles, SC gets reduced to green washing which must lead to a lack of trust among the costumers as soon as contradictions occur. Severin mentions that business are right to connect their CSR- initiatives with its sustainability concept as it delivers manifold opportunities to transfer the companies moral values and societal self-conception to stakeholders (see 2005: 73). Antes argumen­tation goes in the same direction by saying that it is essential for businesses sustainability strategy to consider two essential characteristics to present the sustainability topic convincing for the customers (following Antes 1992: 490 et seq.):

1. The direct sustainability, meaning that sustainability is persuasive and fully integrated into the business strategy and operations
2. The indirect sustainability, implying the enabling and encouraging stakeholders to act sustainably, what specifically demands a trustful sustainable behaviour and the communication about the own efforts without green washing elements and should furthermore include awareness- raising of sustainability issues through communication tools

Hence, companies should inform and educate their stakeholders about the demands of sustainable deve­lop­ment and integrate this as an important part of their SC strategy. If a company does really espouse itself for sustainable ideas by integrating a comprehensive sustainability management and implementing SD related social marketing initiatives, even if it is not inconclusively supporting business and it is or at least seems altruistic, it leads to a higher reliability. Thus, it can become a very important part of the marketing communication strategy with its typical aims like customer loyalty or image improvement.

If those activities get successfully adapted it generates a higher consciousness for sustainability measures by those customers or stakeholder groups, who have not thought about it yet. At least in the society there is a high identification with the sustainability principles (see p. 6), so that most are likely to be willing to change behaviour if adequate solutions get presented and they are nudged to think about their activities from time to time. (see Thaler/Sunstein 2009). Thereby a nudge is “any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people’s behavior in a predictable way without forbidding any options”, (see Thaler/Sunstein 2009: 6). It could include as well the enabling of individuals in self-subsistence to reactive abilities, which are able to reduce dependences on monetary income (see p. 11).

Kruse moreover remarks that communication demands to consider group and sub group specific lifestyles respective to different problem areas for estimating the potential resonance for sustainable issues (see Kruse 2005: 111). By following the approach that SC means to achieve a more sustainable behaviour, it can be added that those measures have to be part of SC, which on the one hand targeting people who normally do not think about the topic and which on the other hand does not necessarily thematise the sustainability challenges. Only if information and education initiatives for achieving sustainable behaviour were seen as primary ingredient in businesses SC, will it incite companies incite to shift away from voluntary good-will CSR- initiatives towards a really commitment to sustainability, forcing competitors to follow. Reisch et al also recognize:

[A]ttempts to reaching the disinterested mass of the population with a sustainable consumption message seem relatively rare or restricted to crisis (e. g. energy or water shortages). There is then a lack of research as to the potential means and their effectiveness”, (Reisch et al 2008: 3).

Thus, if individuals could be nudged to adapt a more sustainable behaviour (e. g. reducing meat consumption) by focussing on non- sustainability issues (Vegetarian food makes skinny and healthy), SD can be reached as well. Especially advisable are arguments linked to recognition, social equality, solidarity and activities with families and friends as they are crucial aspects for a high satisfaction level and people are susceptible to those issues (see Sachs 2008: 234 et seq.).

As a result of a comprehensive SC strategy, the number of stakeholders interested in the sustain­ability performances rise so that the image effect increased due to the higher numbers of those stakeholders who care. Moreover consequent measures can applied afterwards (see p. 16) as well as occurring recognition by sustainability interested peer group members or self-affirmation through external information channels lead to a consciousness for sustainability by the individual at a later date.

It becomes obvious that companies have a great importance for sustainable development and entail an enormous chance to support it. In this context music festivals, as part of the event culture, offer an interesting and convenient research topic for sustainability communication, as they have a high potential to reduce environ­men­tal damage. There is an influencing institutional context at the festival and there is a high interaction level with the customers from various social milieus. In front of its sustainability related research, the following chapter offers an insight into the music festival scene as important part of the music event industry.

4. Music Festivals – Special Events for the Society and the Music Event Industry

Almost no-one could imagine a life without music. Countless examples of radio use, CD sales and music downloads prove the strong connection, no matter which kind of music is preferred. Sometimes music fans come together at open air music festivals. The present chapter will identify the general meaning of events, the development of music festivals and their significance for economy and society.

4.1. Meaning of Events

“A n event is an event is an event – but what is an event?”, asked Wünsch and Thuy (2007: 13) and suggesting to integrate the medium event among the term communication, more specific in life- communication and group-communication, which is used by management and marketing as an integrative communication strategy. Typical characteristics they have examined are a defined communication- or marketing-strategy, which has a clear message, a target group as well as a definitive occasion-, budget- and coordination- team and finally it is short-lived, even if the format is repeatable (Wünsch/Thuy 2007: 14 et seq.).

The Political Studies Institute remarks that after the Second World War the popular celebration has been a success of the new industrial economy. Today, festivals still play an important role in our society. Within the UK alone more than 500 festivals take place, plus hundreds of community based festivals and carnivals every year (see Bowdin et al 2010: 9 et seq.).

Gerhard Schulze shaped the term event society, remarking the searching of individuals for happiness and the requirement to experience as much as possible within a given time frame (see Schulze 1992). Important aspects concerning people are for instance the wish to experience something special, communality or self-dramatization. Following up these argumentations, Lucas and Matys observed a trend in the event industry of an increasing usage of manifold stimuli, achieved through commercial offers, to improve the event. This would lead to a broad range of promising service and product constructions like theme parks, computer games or events (Lucas/ Matys 2003: 20). But due to the attempts to increase the presented specialties and recognizable efforts, known things become boring or too many things lead to a sensual overload. Schulze recommends, especially for the media industry, to re-explore contents as own identifiers and distinguishing features (Schulze 2000: 64 et seq.). This could be ideally be filled with answers on how to create a beautiful and individually worthwhile life (Schulze 1992: 37).

Also Thuy and Wünsch recognized that within the young industry the naivete of the early- years with its as much as possible- philosophy has gone and becomes substituted by ‘ why and how much ’ (2007: 15).

However, preconditions for such an event society would be the replacement of work and profit-based and materialistic views, to make way for playing out the needs of the present time like individual fulfillment and pleasure, which are the sovereign form of traditional prosperity (see Hebbel-Seeger/Förster 2008: 32). Indeed this goes in line with the sufficiency strategy of sustainable development. Lucas and Matys further illustrate that the broad media distribution of event patterns would have developed them to an integral part of the everyday culture, implying the convergence of mainstream and high culture. The medialization of society provides a surface for culture, economy and as well politics, which could be adapted depending on demand (see Lucas/Matys 2003: 26).

To examine the different approaches and possibilities it is at first necessary to take a look at the chosen area of music festivals as part of the music event industry. Wünsch and Thuy point out the broad variety of events, depending on the kind of occasion. Hence events can be divided for instance in business events, festivals, community events, sport events, charity events etc. (2007: 15). The different types make it clear, just how important those happenings are in the daily life. It is the chance to convene, to exchange thoughts and ideas, to get input and to earn recognition. It is very unlikely, even in times of globalization and social media, that the events will become less important in the future. Getz realized already in 1991, that festivals and events are part of an alternative tourism contributing to sustainable development, probably in a broader view (see Getz 1999: 5 et seq.).

4.2. Development of Music Festivals

In the last decades, the festival business has been one of the fastest growing divisions within the general leisure industry (see Nicholson/Pearce 2001). Confronted with increasing digital distribu­tion of music the expansions of live performances are a good substitution for the reduction in music disc sales (see Steinkrauß et al 2008: 37 et seq.).

Music festivals, understood as an occasion where music – and no religious or legitimated power- is presented in front of a paying audience and as the reason for the happening, firstly arose in the 18th century. At the end of the 19th century the emancipation movement led to the construction of pretentious concert halls. By taking part in music events the audience became part of a collective with specific behavioural codes becoming even more particular during the differentiation by the explor­ation of new rhythm, styles and sounds. The reason for joining such an event was also in the past not only the individual taste in music, but also the possibility to be part of a community and to have the feeling of belonging (see Troendle 2009: 28 et seq.).

Basically, festivals can be divided into classical festivals and the open air festivals, where mainly young people listen to Rock, Electro and Pop music combined with an established fan culture. The second one is a result of the youth culture since the 1950s, which established the Star cult. The numbers of visitors of famous-artist-studded-festivals rose rapidly, with great challenges for the inexperienced organizers. In the middle of the sixties the first festivals opened in Germany. Since then festivals have been greatly redefined and shaped by the concert agencies Lippert and Rau, Mama Conerts as well as Carsten Jahnke Concert direction. In 2011 more than 350 festivals took place in Germany.[3] In comparison to that, Graf enumerates that in 1993 only 183 open air concerts and festivals were held (see 1995: 245). Thus, the enthusiasm for festivals rather keeps on growing,, and it is time to clarify what they mean for the society.

4.3. Significance for Economy and Society

One third of the Germans, over the age of 10 years, visit a minimum of one music event per year. Thus, first of all festival organization is a lucrative business for the music event industry. Beside the high pricing possibilities, expenses for merchandising amount more than 17 Euro just for one visit per person. In general, the sum music fans spend on sound carrier is just the half of the sum they are willing to pay for the live performances (Pfleiderer et al 2008: 95).

Beside that is the economic impact for the region where a festival takes place, comparatively low, because the most of the participants camp and eat at the festival area. The other way around is the local community confronted with very short term but intensive burden regarding public services, waste, pollution and noise exposure, which lead justifiably to conflicts. Apart from conflicts in the local area, festivals have as well a negative public image. The image problem is due to the typical public realized features of a music festival like euphoric, but also drunken, drugged and even aggressive teenagers (Pfleiderer 2008: 89 et al).

About 50 per cent of the younger generation like to visit a music festival (10-29 years; see GfK 2007: 8). It is also observable that there is still a relatively high interest to participate in music events in every age. The shift from a stronger interest to the Rock and Pop- Concerts instead of the festival in the age of 20 to 29 is likely due to the higher income and less time as new job and family obligations arise so that concerts lasting one evening are preferred to the festivals lasting several days.

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Figure 6: Share of Music Divisions in the Music Event Market in the 1st half of 2007, Source: GfK 2007: 8.

Nowadays the motivation to attend in a festival is, due to the broad variety of festival types and music styles, a challenging research topic. To find profound research for motivations to go to a music festival is difficult, because mostly just case studies exist (see Xiang/Petrick 2006: 239 et seq.). Furthermore Lee et al point out - for festival and other events- that the most studies were done on a rural level and less on international level. The visitors motivations would be very heterogonous, but festival manager also face the importance as a marketing tool, if the visitor groups were successful segmented (Lee et al 2003: 61). Bellinghausen moreover realized that the created atmosphere has an essential role. He underlines his opinion by the growing success of the Jazz Festival, even so 70 per cent of the Germans would not count this genre to its favourite music style. But especially the younger visitors of this festival mention the corporate feeling and the relaxed atmosphere as a crucial aspect for participation (see 2007: 34).

It is recognizable that SC has a great chance to reach a wide range of the society, play an important role in bringing events back to a bit more content oriented entertainment and make great contributions in the framework program. But before the options for the appropriate communication strategy are examined, previously, music festival related sustainability challenges and measures to reverse them are the issues of the 5th part.

5. Stop Dirty Dancing - Sustainability at Music Events

It has been shown that a sustainable development needs the awakening of the consumer. Only if they move to a more efficient, consistent and sufficient life-style, would companies really care about their own performances. This might be a disadvantage for the event industry, but contains for organizers as well a great chance to set a good and promotionally effective example for improvement. Within this chapter sustainable challenges of music festivals will be presented and afterwards sustainable ambitions festival operators have already adapted.

5.1. Environmental Impact of Music Festivals and the Demand for Transition

The most popular festivals have grown so much that they get visited by an average of nearly 40,000 visitors (see table below). Rock am Ring had yet 85,000 visitors. An on-going trend that even established festivals keep on growing and still new festivals arise can be faced. And due to the modern communication possibilities manager are able to push established and new festivals further.

To get a feeling of the environmental impact of Germany’s music festivals, the ten most popular music festivals, ranked by openairguide.net, are listed below. Elio Bucher, operator of this website remarked via mail that the results are influenced through the high proportion of Swiss attendees. Nevertheless, the result is based on more than 600,000 votes, so that it offers a good impression of the favoured festivals (see appendix 1). The great difference between the numbers is mainly due to the available capacity. Thus Haldern Pop decided to keep it small since a few decades and it is remarkable that many people seem to like this strategy (see Haldern Pop 2012). However, the amount of people, who come together just for a few days, is roughly the size of a middle sized city, but without a permanent existing infrastructure on site.

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Figure: 7: 10 Most Popular German Festivals and their Visitor Figures Referring to Openairguide.net; Source: Author.

The music industry in general is as a service sector not categorized as very energy or carbon intensive. Emissions occur due to energy-supply for offices, music venues or CD-manufacturing. But the picture changes, when the emissions for the, often international, travel of staff, artists and audience get included. Due to the Oxford scientists produce 500 British festivals in total 84,000 tonnes of CO2 every year. The most emissions are due to the audience travel with two thirds of the whole emissions.

Apart from that, diesel power generators on the festival site are the second largest polluter. Of course carbon emissions are not the only problem, but it is an established equivalent as a measure for the human impact in climate change (see Bottrill et al 2008: 49 et seq.).

Consequently, a lot of huge environmental challenges arose, which should be treated separately from the energy and transport tasks. Thus, the supply of conventional food supports the industrialized food system and its effect on environment, health, economy and workers' rights. Furthermore, many events use materials on a large scale and with a non-renewable character so that there is a huge potential for waste reduction from the operators site.

It is not recognizable that experience-oriented offers will forgo without all the changes from event to event, and never seen before specials. Here Lucas and Matys see a crucial problem for implementing sustainability. It demands the reuse of settings, material etc., against what events typically claim a permanently change. But there is also a chance, as staging material gets scarcer as well, that it will give incentives to switch to a modest staging (see Lucas/Matys 2003: 25).

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Figure 8: GHG Emissions per annum from the UK Music Market Recorded and Live Total,

GHG Emissions = ~ 540,000 t CO2e; Source: Bottrill et al 2008: 8.

Considering that the music festival is an event with its own institutional context, a lot of improvements can be achieved. Based on the work of Green Music Initiative, AGFA and WWFs’ hints for sustainable events (see GMI, 2011; AGFA, 2012a: 2-7/ Léopold, 2011) seven working areas for sustainability management, including all three sustainability strategies, were examined and summarized in the following table. Before entertaining the idea of SC, the working areas should be definitely known to perform the communication strategy adequately.

Table 1: Music Festival Sustainability Management

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Of course there is no entitlement to completeness. Indeed, some parts mentioned by the sources were summarized or omitted. Thus, Léopold’s point regarding health and happiness (see Léopold 2011) was not included as it is not directly linked to the greening of the music festivals and is therewith not in the focus of the present paper.

The need to tackle these challenges can be better understood by taking a look at the previously mentioned growth dilemma. If the festival shifts to very efficient lightning and electronic, but it is still growing so that more material is needed, the absolute energy use would very likely still grow. That does not mean that energy efficiency is worthless. It simply shows that organizers have to step up their efforts as well in consistency (e. g. providing environmental-friendly shampoo) and especially sufficiency (e. g. avoiding waste through reusable material) measures to substitute unavoidable emissions and present a convincing sustainability strategy.

It is also clear that due to such a mass event, visitors can influence the sustainability performance a lot, no matter whether looking at left camping gear, the use of the campsite as a toilet or taking the car to reach the festival. Another aspect, which at least should be mentioned, is the possibility that festival fans would evoke probably more CO2- emissions, if they did not attend festivals. Thus, due to the importance of festivals for many groups as outlined in chapter four, it is at least conceivable that some of the attendees avoid long distance holidays in favour of specific festivals they do not want to miss. However, the visitors’ part is picked up in the empirical part, where the potentials of visitor participation become investigated.

5.2. Sustainability Ambitions in the Music Festival Scene

The list of music festivals seems to be endless. Hence, it would be hard to identify ambitious representatives in an own research. Luckily already established initiatives, especially A Greener Festival Award (see AGAF 2012b), the Green Music Initiative (see GMI 2012) and Julie’s Bicycle (see JB 2012), exist, which work on the greening of the music branch as a whole and of the music festivals in particular.

Festival organizers are well advised to take action, as more and more artists face the sustainability problems. Supported by the consultant Will Moore, vocalists like Jack Johnson have begun to draw up contracts, which demand to run the event sustainably. They are even allowed to cancel the performance, if the sustainability efforts do not go in line with their claims- a worst case scenario for a festival manager (see Arte 2008).

A look at the latest ranking of ‘ A Greener Festival Award’, which honoured 46 festivals for their sustainability efforts, reveals that no German festival has won an award (full list seen appendix 2). Of course it is possible that the festival organizers in Germany are not yet familiar with this award and it is especially known in the UK as it was founded there. But also Australia, USA, Finland, France, Sweden, Scotland, Norway, Czech Republic and even Jersey are in the list. Has the trend not yet reached the German festival operators or do they face less pressure from the festival fans?

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Figure 9: Winning Nations honoured by AGFA 2011; Source: Author, based on Westbury 2012.

However, the data base of the GMI shows that there are ambitions within the German music festival scene, especially the festivals Melt!, Hurricane, Southside and RhEINKULTUR showing great contributions. In January 2012, the MELT!- festival even won the European GREEN'N'CLEAN Festival Award at the Eurosonic Noorderslaag (see EFA 2012).

It is clear that festivals awarded by AGFA are not the only ones already conscious of their sustainability performance. Nevertheless, does it provide a good overview about festivals, which definitely overtake considerable efforts. They offer as well a great base to identify successful communication methods in this chapter. The latter one was allocated for truly outstanding and inspirational events, which are the following ones (see appendix 2):

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These need to be exceptional events, which have “significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions, have excellent travel, transport and waste management programs, protect the environment and minimize water use and communicate this to the public”, (AGFA, 2011: 4).

The Glastonbury Festival reached the lower status of ‘ highly commended’ and the Roskilde Festival takes part but was not awarded, but both strongly approach sustainability communication, as examined by Meegan Jones (2009) so that they provide as well interesting research input.

6. Realizing Sustainability Communication

This chapter includes firstly the arguments for music festival operators to consider sustainability communication and comprises furthermore the demands of SC according to customers but as well as for other stakeholders groups as they are important multipliers of the message.

It shows further successful implemented measures of festival operators and how the sustainability communication influences the overall sustainability performance remarkably.

6.1. Incentives for and Demands on the Festival Operators

Apparently, many festivals worldwide have already begun to take responsibility. That this is profitable for the society and for operators, due to cost reductions within the operation of the event, is quite clear. But it is as well interesting for income aspects. O’Neill publishes that festival managers adjust to the trends that customers are conscious of sustainability topics. Indeed, due to an earlier research, believe 36 per cent that the festivals environmental credential would have a huge or definite influence of the customers’ decision for their ticket purchase (O’Neill 2009: 22).

It is likely that festival goer in Germany would answer this question similarly. However, it is an issue to look at in the empirical part.

Hence, it is also conceivable that the conscious and confident implementing of sustainability elements in events, even in the framework program, could be the right substitute and counterpart against the overloaded offers explained earlier. This approach can rest upon the newly arisen wave of participation in eco-friendly projects, especially beyond the younger generation. Therefore two essential points can be identified.

Figure 10: Importance of festivals environmentalism for visitors, Source: O`Neills 2009: 21.

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First, people do have a strong connection to nature and environmentalism is relevant for them, no matter whether they can grasp or want to ignore their own responsibility (see BMU, 2010: 35). The on-going pollution has reached a societal recognized critical point that has also animated opinion leaders to espouse public awareness (see Bieber 2007).

Second, the rapid development and application of the earlier mentioned social media enables groups and individuals to share information and to find proponents easily, so that a wider, strengthening support for sustainability issues can be realized (see Rheinländer et al 2011: 95 et seq.).

In the context of event marketing and live communication, the third chapter has examined that marketing communication instruments can be used for the cultivation of sustainability, even if there is the risk that its core value could be reduced to fit in an entertainment format (see Lucas/Matys 2003: 16).

Nevertheless, many participants of music festivals are part of the described group, who do not care deliberately about the festivals’ sustainability issues and they would not be the first addressees for content issues. But this is the literal challenge: Reaching a non-involved group and making them behaving more sustainably through sustainability communication measures.

Therefore, Lucas and Wilts also say, that to touch the participant emotionally it is necessary to let them participate in the program. For the realization of such campaigns, examples of the live communication have shown that it is helpful to partner with different organizations to use already established skills. That offers new chances for sustainable market segmentation, but demands indeed an opening on the part of the operators. However, Lucas and Wilts see as well a need for clarification regarding the possible staging potential of sustainability during an event (Lucas/Wilts 2004: 44 et seq.).

Bowdin et al and Yoeman et al say that events are a way to reach the public and influence attitudes. Especially because the event branch reaches a high range of direct consumers so that a smart sustainability strategy, assuming it is well communicated, could probably transport the message of sustainability consumption to a much higher degree and more comprehensively than other branches (see Bowdin et al 2010: 170 et seq. and Yoeman et al 1999). Bowdin et al state:

“The environmentally conscious event manager will reap not only economic benefits but also the approval of an increasingly environmentally aware public”, (Bowdin et al 2010: 172).

Due to the rising importance of sustainability in public, the consistent implementation of a creative sustainability communications integrated in the framework program improves the image of the event branch as well. There is a quite high potential that the direct as well as indirect sustainability measures will find great support of the participants and can overtake an essential part in the events’ image building communication strategy. Lucas and Wilts see even business opportunities for events arranged for sustainability itself (see Lucas/Wilts, 2004).

If it succeeds in reaching these people, verifiable by Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) like less CO2- emissions or less waste occurring during the festival. Surveys after the festival could register an increase in prestige and could praise for having a positive impact regarding a cultural change and boosting the idea of sustainability within society. This would rather lead to an indirect compensation of the festivals emissions. Indeed, it is hard to prove, how strongly people become influenced. But assuming they would take some ideas for self-determination at home and caring afterwards a little more for consumption, waste production, eating and mobility habits, the event could be much more successful in sustainability issues, than just improving the sustainability performing behind the scenes.

Nevertheless, to avoid the reduction of sustainability aspects to an enjoyable format, as considered by Lucas et al, manager must implement reliable sustainability measures and be reliable in their communication.

Various examples, emerging on the following pages, demonstrate that this could be successful and work out pretty well. It is detectable that they mostly combined strong efforts to improve their own sustainability performance with an offensive communication strategy transporting the message of sustainability. Therefore, they did not only work on making sustainability issues interesting for the festival attendees, but also used the aspiration after the recognition of the individual in its peer group. As mentioned in chapter four, the corporate feeling is one of the most important things to participate in a music festival (see p. 24). If through this the message gets transported by crew and actors that sustainability is an important issue among the festival community, it nudges the participants to adapt the sustainable lifestyle meaning, too.

Facing that SC is an important part of the event management, it should be considered carefully and fitting to the specific stakeholders. Thus, the respective issues get presented corresponding to the specific target group.

6.2. Green message – Subtle or Slather

To transport the green message a lot of measures are possible. This could be for instance a mass tree planting campaign instead of a motocross show or a common bicycle powered- energy initiative instead of a firework. Whatever, the management has still to keep in mind, how far they can go. Greening the festival is great and should be done, but pushing the whole one too intensely into the eco-movement could spoil the festival’s image and scare many fans away (see Jones 2009: 38). Finding the right balance between offering decent sustainability education and fun is the crunch-point regarding the entertainment program and can be a really enrichment of the whole event as the way of communication depends very much on the attendees attitudes and values (see Lucas 2007: 54).

It is very likely that most of the team members, attendees and partner will appreciate the efforts for a greener festival, but are nevertheless not interested in starting a new hippy-movement. Thus what is possible and what might destroy the festival image and vibe should be carefully examined in advance.

That means: Greening either way, but communication fitting to the crowd and to the general festival design. Hence, regarding the framework program, it is helpful to directly ask the crowd what they find interesting. Further important counterparts are the front-line crew interacting with the attendees and knowing their needs best. Another point to mention is that within the communi­cation with any stakeholder group, the truths should not be overstretched. Laying it on thickly might be great for the image as long as nobody does closer research. If somebody discovers that the representation of measures is exaggerated it is not far away from getting postmarked for green washing (see Jones 2009: 38 et seq.).


[1] See for more details http://www.biodiversityhotspots.org.

[2] Meanwhile fast growing recovery, observable for instance at this online farm directory for the United States: http://www.localharvest.org/.

[3] See the publication list at http://www.festivalhopper.de/festivals-2011.php.


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Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg – Fakultät II: Informatik-, Wirtschafts- und Rechtswissenschaften
green crowd communicating sustainability open music festivals




Title: Green the Crowd. Communicating Sustainability through Open Air Music Festivals