EE MUSIC European Benchmarks for Energy Use in the Music Event Industry

 EE MUSIC analysed the data submitted to the EE MUSIC IG Tools by users from across Europe to come up with some new energy use benchmarks for the European music event industry.


Venues/clubs benchmark - energy use per m2:

Average electricity use per m2 per year: 124 kWh/m2/year

Average gas use per m2 per year: 78 kWh/m2/year for gas

Only complete and robust data that included floor area and energy use over a 12 month period was included in the analysis.

The EE MUSIC benchmarks are in contrast to the previously existing Julie's Bicycle ‘Performing Arts’ benchmark based on data from UK performing arts venues – where gas consumption is higher than electricity. This benchmark is based on 3 years of data from around 300 theatres and concert halls in the UK. 

Possible explanations for electricity use being higher than gas use for so many of the building groups in the EE MUSIC data set are:


  • Music spaces have a lower heating demand and often require more energy for cooling performance spaces than for heating because of higher density audiences compared to other multipurpose arts centres, concert halls, and theatres (where audiences are frequently seated);
  • Most music venues typically have a relatively low proportion of natural light, which will increase electricity demand for lighting;
  • Music performances can be comparatively lighting intensive, which will increase electricity demand for lighting;
  • The EE MUSIC dataset includes a broader geographic spread of venues, including many based in Mediterranean countries such as Spain and Portugal which require higher electricity use for air-conditioning, cooling and ventilation – and which are less likely to have full heating systems, and more likely to operate heating systems for fewer days at lower demands;
  • The broader geographic spread of the EE MUSIC dataset also includes some countries where electricity is commonly used for heating instead of gas (e.g. Germany, Sweden), increasing relative electricity demand.

We recommend that venues and clubs continue monitoring and reporting on their energy use so benchmarks can be further refined and country-specific benchmarks calculated for individual countries and circumstances.


Festivals benchmark - energy use per audience day:

 Energy use per audience day: 0.47 L per audience day*

Average biodiesel consumption: 17%

This benchmark is calculated on the basis of ‘audience days’ (per person per day on site), a measure based on ticket sales. For example, for a two-day festival, the number of audience days would be: (number of one-day tickets sold for Day 1) + (number of one-day tickets sold for Day 2) + ((number of 2-Day tickets sold) x 2 ). Only complete and robust data that included audience day figures and energy use from festivals that were either completely or predominantly powered by diesel-powered generators were included in the analysis. The benchmark is based on data from festivals across a variety of sizes and includes all on-site diesel use (including concessions/traders where figures are available).



 Average diesel consumption is lower than the existing Julie's Bicycle benchmark for outdoor events, which is based predominantly on UK festivals. This may be due to:

  • Greater fuel efficiency on a European level;
  • Greater fuel efficiency among festivals sufficiently engaged with energy management to be able to submit energy use data to the EE MUSIC project;
  • Greater mains grid electricity use to meet a share of festivals’ energy use across Europe, necessitating less diesel for power.

The share of biodiesel is also slightly higher among the EE MUSIC cohort. As with the UK benchmark however, this should not be extrapolated to the whole industry as events engaging with EE MUSIC are likely to have a higher share of biodiesel than the industry norm.

Lastly, it was possible to obtain preliminary diesel consumption benchmarks for the NL/DE country cluster and the UK/IE country cluster, which support the theory that overall fuel efficiency and/or mains grid use is more widespread outside the UK: 

Netherlands & Germany: 0.46 L / audience day

UK & Ireland: 0.56 L / audience day

Aggregating the festival data sets in a meaningful way for benchmarking has been extremely challenging, as some festivals are powered almost entirely by diesel supplemented by only a little mains grid electricity, while others are powered predominantly by mains electricity supplemented with only a little diesel generator power. Their respective consumption of mains electricity or diesel is therefore not directly comparable, as the energy infrastructure is significantly different. For future development, we would recommend consulting with the industry to come up with a methodology under which festivals monitor their energy use in kWh whatever the energy source – however, there are numerous difficulties associated with this, not least the fact that generator efficiency varies widely so that converting diesel usage into kWh relies on numerous assumptions. More in-built data monitoring functionality and services will help resolve this issue in coming years, as more direct data on load and power draw will be available at source. However, the industry and its service providers will need to develop the capacity to process and analyse this data in a meaningful way. Companies such as Watt-Now in the Netherlands are starting to address this, providing a package of off-grid monitoring and management.

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