3.1 The Roskilde festival in Denmark

The Roskilde Festival in Denmark is the largest festival in Northern Europe and has been held since 1971.In 1994, the Roskilde Festival conducted a survey to decide which environmental areas the festival should focus on. This survey formed the basis for formulating the Roskilde Festival’s environmental policy.

The festival has four main focal points:

  • Great consideration should be given to security- and health-related conditions for the audience and volunteer workers at the festival.
  • Resource-spending shall be reduced as much as possible.
  • Environmentally sound products should be used whenever it is economically realistic, technically possible, and without health risk.
  • Waste should be handled with the greatest degree of recycling in mind.

In 2009 the festival made a greenhouse gas account that identified the biggest climate emission factors.

The biggest climate emission contributors was identified as comming from:

  • Transport
  • Electricity and produktion
  • Food
  • Waste

Organization and practical work

The environmental work group og Ren Festival is responsible for following up fixed routines and working out analysises that will form the basis for the festival’s environmental evaluation report.

Environmental initiatives

Sustainable Stage and Climate Community

In 2009 the Roskilde Festival introduced Sustainable Stage where the festival gathered many of the activities related to environment in one area. Stagelighting was set on LED technology, audience could enjoy organic food and cocktails and learn more about environment and climate change. At the campingsite Climate Community the audience could earn a spot among the greenest campers by taking green footsteps in advance and during the festival. Audience also had the opportunity of learning about climate crisis and new technology from scientists and green organisations at a dedicated stage. This area was also used as a showroom for sustainable energy souces like wind, solarpanel and fuel cells.

Waste sorting

The Roskilde Festival sorts waste into several different categories: glass, paper, cardboard, aluminium, iron and combustible material. The waste sorting is carried out internally in all areas: at stalls, the camping site and on the main festival premises.

Deposit system

A deposit system has been introduced for all beer and soda containers (plastic) and all types of glass – both “irregular” bottles and pieces of broken glass. The system is very effective, and about 97% of all drinking vessels are returned. The same deposit system has also been employed for aluminum and iron.

The Roskilde Festival have had several campaigns that focus on waste and recycling.

  • With the ”Trash for Tuborg” campaign the audience could exchange a bag of waste in trade for a cold Tuborg. This led to 27 tons of waste was traded for beer in 2008.
  • The festival gathers camping equiptment that are later distributed to social projects in Belarus, Ghana and homeless in Copenhagen. Over 10.000 sleepingbags is among other things been gathered in this campaign.
  • As an element in waste minimizing it is not allowed to bring bottles into the festival premises.
  • It is not allowed to bring big furnitures to the festival.

Energy saving

The Roskilde Festival works on escalating the developement of low energy equiptment on stages. Even though the technology is not fully developed the festival considers it as important to push the suppliers so that energyuse can be futhered reduced. At the Sustainable Stage all stage lighting was based on LED technology, this led to a 40% saving on energy compared to the prewious year. Roskilde have swiched to over 5000 energysaving lightbulbs at their premisses. Most of the festival lighting is also wired to automatic timers, so that energy loss is limitied during daytime.


Roskilde festival have for a long time put forward demands on foodstalls product choice. This means that all caterers stribe to use organic, Fairtrade and ecolabeled food.The festival had in 2009 a special focus on raising the quality of vegeterian food. This is because vegetarian food have means a smaller amount of climate emissions than meat. The festival has had an active dialogue with the food stalls, they have recived guiding on how to become more climate friendly. More foodstalls work with local produsers and have changed many vegetables to local seasonal vegetables.


The Roskilde Festival work with their suppliers to create new and more sustainable alternative goods. This is the initiatives that have been made:

  • Utensils and drinkingvessels are made of biomaterial
  • Fairtrade vine is sold in refoundable material
  • T-shirts are produced in 100%organic cotton that are both Fairtrade and ecolabel sertified.


The internal transport at the festival is primearly on bicycles, some tasks are necessary to be solved by car or truck. In 2009 a choice was made to cut car fleet by 10% and more el-cars and el.trucks was used.

There are several good parking facilities for bicycles by the entrance for audience that are guarded day and night. It was also equipt with small bikerepair stalls so that audience could repair punctured tires etc.

Sanitary conditions

The festival works continuously to improve sanitary conditions, e.g. by providing more toilets and wash basins.

No bottles allowed – a cleaner festival area!

As part of the effort to minimize waste, bottles are not allowed within the festival area. All stalls have to pour drinks into plastic cups.

Re-establishing the festival premises

After the festival is over a lot of tidying up still remains! Local associations are hired to do this job.

Humanitarian work

Every year, all profits from the Roskilde Festival go towards the Roskilde Festival Fund, which distributes money to humanitarian, cultural, and social organisations across the world. Since the first festival in 1971, more than 150 million DK have been handed out.

Source: Thomas Niebuhr, Roskilde environmental group, www.roskilde-festival.dk

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