Photo credit: Sam Neill, Latitude Festival - courtesy of Festival Republic


Festival Republic: Reading, Leeds and Latitude - 2015 Update

For a previous case study on Festival Republic's energy management, see here on the EE MUSIC website

Energy use is one of the greatest core on-site sources of carbon emissions at outdoor events. Festival Republic has shown commitment to reducing emissions from energy use through increasing the use of waste vegetable oil biodiesel to power generators for their festivals. Festival Republic was able to increase the amount of biodiesel at Leeds from 18.52% in 2010 to 24.53% in 2011. Reading also used 18.24% in 2012, up from 12.51% in 2010. These increases were achieved despite challenges including limited supply in parts of the country, unpredictable price fluctuations, and a higher cost for sustainable biodiesel in comparison to regular diesel.

Festival Republic also contractually requires their energy contractor to monitor the generators at their festivals to get a better understanding about whether the number and size of generators used was appropriate for the actual energy demand. Research suggests that the oversizing of generators is a widespread issue in the festival industry leading to significant fuel waste, but large-scale monitoring projects are still comparatively rare. Based on the data collected, FR is working with their energy supplier to reduce the size and/or number of generators to better match their energy needs and be more efficient about their fuel use. In 2014, they managed to reduce the overall size of the generators at all festivals compared to 2013. This was achieved despite an increase in festival infrastructures, stages, etc.

2015 is the third year of data they have collected.

Reading Festival: fuel/energy comparison 2013/14

FUEL Generators

Litres 2014


Litres 2013


Red Diesel










Bio Diesel











Energy usage




No of Generators




Total Power





Average Size





They are also working with their energy supplier through contractual obligations to integrate alternative and new energy technologies such as hybrid generators and solar power since 2014. They have hired solar powered batteries that can be linked to generators to reduce the generator run-time. Combining the two different technologies has at times been challenging and has required training for and dedication from the engineers on the field. The initiative is not yet financially viable, but Festival Republic continue to invest to support this kind of knowledge exchange between solar power and generator companies. After a first trial at Latitude, one of the power contractors has invested in a number of these batteries tailored to their technical needs to add to their own fleet – showing that Festival Republic’s dedication is indirectly supporting fuel efficiency in the broader events industry.

Festival Republic are also working with their contractors to reduce energy demand through specifying more energy efficient technologies. For example, in 2012, Colour Sound Experiment, one of their lighting and visuals rental companies, invested in 1.5 km of LED festoon lighting in response to demand from Reading Festival. Festival Republic’s technical production team is currently working with their audio, video, and sound companies to improve communication around power specs and energy requirements for these technologies to encourage broader industry conversation about ‘what’s actually needed’.

Festival Republic is committed to pursuing innovation and sharing their knowledge to drive forward change across the industry. Along with Julie’s Bicycle, they are one of the founding members of Powerful Thinking, a think-do tank that brings together festivals, suppliers, production professionals, and environmental organisations to explore ways to reduce the costs and carbon of festival energy provision through efficiencies and alternative technologies. Powerful Thinking draws together industry knowledge to provide clear guidance and resources on sustainable energy management to festival organisers.

At Latitude, the audience has also been engaged around the topic of energy and sustainability through a partnership with De Montfort University’s “Face your Elephant” project. Led by young engineers, Face Your Elephant creates an on-site forum for attendees to speak to their peers about everyday environmental impacts, how to reduce them, and future energy technologies.

The audience was also physically acquainted with energy awareness through cycle-powered phone charging stations to promote renewable energy in a creative way.

This is an excerpt from a more detailed case study on Festival Republic's environmental sustainability initiatives available on the Julie's Bicycle website at:

Thanks to Festival Republic for providing the information for this case study.

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