The music festival as a living lab for the world

Festivals are laboratories for testing and learning.


Mini-cities that serve as catalysts for circularity in urban systems, and stages to inspire and engage others. During ECHO24, the annual gathering of the event industry in Belgium, Siviglia Berto and I shared a story about the societal, human, and psychological aspects, issues and potential of events.

Stefaan Vandist keynote at Echo 24 on sustainability of festivals

Illustrated with diverse examples from home and abroad, I showed how a festival’s flexibility, temporary setup, creative culture, and large audience make it the ideal setting to test solutions that society urgently needs. Examples of prototyping, provotyping, and experiments around behavioral design are plentiful. In some cases, successful interventions even led to new legislation.

From The Hayes Pavilion at GLASTONBURY FESTIVAL EVENTS LIMITED to SEMiLLA Sanitation at DGTL, the circular Foodcourt of Revolution Foundation at Elrow, Novar’s largest Solar Carport of the world at Lowlands, Paradise City’s leadership and Waterville at Tomorrowland… there is an abundance of initiatives that demonstrate possibility.

But I also caught myself having a blind spot. Always convinced that mobility and air travel in particular are the elephant in the room at events, it turned out during the panels and some other commendable contributions like the one of Fatima Amezghal that the status of workers and volunteers at festivals are the burning issue. Also, very charmed by Indra Dewitte ‘s story about female leadership, good to meet with Lina Corrigan and a nice to catch up again with Peter Decuypere hashtagfestivals hashtagevents hashtagesg Read My Lips Love Tomorrow B-Tonic



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