Rock in Rio, Portugal

The first Rock in Rio was held in Rio de Janeiro in 1985, with follow-up events in 1991, 2001 and an edition in odd years since 2011. Editions of the festival have taken place in Lisbon, Portugal in even years since 2004, attracting over 350,000 people across 5 days and presenting a mixture of rock and pop.

In 2008 Rock in Rio introduced the Good Practices Manual, a guide with 18 measures to be adopted by all those involved in the execution of the festival to reduce the environmental impact of Rock in Rio and to have to offset only the inevitable emissions. With this, the festival was able to reduce its CO2e emissions by over 21% between the 2008 and the 2010 editions of Lisbon Rock in Rio: 3,845 tons of CO₂ in 2010, compared to 4,686 tons two years before.

Since 2010, Rock in Rio has fully integrated sustainability in its business strategy, and now has a sustainability plan for each edition of the festival regardless of location. This is distributed among suppliers, sponsors, traders and other partners. In 2013 Rock in Rio achieved ISO 20121 – Sustainable Events Management Certification, and are committed to continually improving their performance including their energy efficiency.

Rock in Rio, Portugal

To reduce the consumption of resources related to the organisation of an event like Rock in Rio, a wide sustainability action plan and strategy is implemented in which energy efficiency plays a major role. The following efficiency measures are part of the sustainability plan:

  1. Optimising the power consumption from generators by careful design of the power infrastructure.

  2. Ongoing switch on/off plan for each power generator, so that they only run strictly for the needed period.

  3. All equipment that demands continuous power supply (such as refrigeration units, amongst others) is powered by the permanent energy infrastructure (mains grid), which allows the organisational team to turn off the power generators.

  4. Use of energy efficient LED lamps whenever technically possible.

Rock in Rio also seeks to involve partners of the festival in the adoption of sustainability initiatives. For this purpose, since 2008 the festival has held a good practice contest which awards organizations that most contribute to the festival’s environmental and carbon emission reduction commitments in the category of stand, store and supplier. 

Thanks to Rock in Rio Lisboa and TerraSystemics for providing the information contained in this case study.



While the mains energy available to the festival site is not sufficient to run the entire event and only provides a small fraction of Rock in Rio’s total power demand, this has been planned and utilised carefully so that all equipment requiring a continuous input of power such as refrigeration units is hooked up to the grid – leaving the production team flexibility to turn off generators when they are not needed.


Rock in Rio has data on its diesel consumption and a register of installed generators dating back to 2004, allowing comparison from year to year. Where possible, generators that have built-in computerised monitoring systems are used and monitored day-to-day during the festival on daily diesel consumption, daily outputs on energy consumption, and other relevant criteria.

Internal Communication

Power supply management, covering both generators and the permanent infrastructure, is a task integrated in Rock in Rio’s engineering team with responsibility assigned to a particular member of staff who has the support from the team manager. This covers managing energy needs across the festival, technical planning, schedules planning, supplier hiring and liaison, and operation control.

External Communication

Rock in Rio presents an area of stands on site promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy, including representatives from ADENE (Portuguese National Energy Agency), Phillips in Brazil, and others. Rock in Rio has also promoted renewable energy in a wider sense through the award-winning project Rock in Rio Solar School, which supported the installation of 780 solar photovoltaic panels across 38 Portuguese schools.

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