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Rock On!: bringing strategic sustainable development to music festivals

Published Online:pp 285-306

Music festivals gather large numbers of people in concentrated areas for brief periods of time. Effects of these events extend far beyond their spatial and temporal boundaries. This paper asks 'What are some measures that can move music festivals strategically towards sustainability?' A framework for strategic sustainable development based on backcasting from sustainability principles is applied. Results indicate that critical flows and management routines upon which music festivals depend contribute to systematic undermining of social and ecological systems. Education to inspire behavioural change of festival organisers and other stakeholders, notably suppliers, audience and artists, appears critical to shifting music festivals towards sustainability. Music festivals may then leverage their role in society to move society itself towards sustainability.


strategic sustainable development, SSD, music festivals, events, backcasting, education, the Natural Step framework, sustainability, behavioural change