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When a music festival goes veggie: Communication and environmental impacts of an innovative food strategy

Journal article
Authors Tommy D. Andersson
Erik Lundberg
Henrik Jutbring
Published in International Journal of Event and Festival Management
Volume 4
Issue 3
Pages 224 - 235
ISSN 1758-2954
Publication year 2013
Published at Centre for Business in Society
Centre for Tourism
Department of Business Administration, Marketing Group
Pages 224 - 235
Language en
Keywords Communication; Music festival; Measurement; Sustainability; Ecological footprint; Sweden
Subject categories Business Administration


Purpose - The aim of the study is first to describe and discuss an innovative strategy, pursued by a music festival, to reduce the environmental impact by allowing only vegetarian food in the festival area. A second aim is to discuss the effects of the vegetarian strategy for the festival in terms of branding and communication impacts. A third aim is to assess the effect on the ecological footprint of the festival from the vegetarian food strategy.

Design/methodology/approach - Festival visitors’ food consumption was surveyed in 2010 (719 responses) and again in 2012 when only vegetarian food was served on festival premises (663 responses). The EPA Event Calculator, developed in Australia, was used to calculate the ecological footprint of the festival. The implementation and the impacts were studied from the festival organisers’ perspective through two (one hour long) interviews with one of the festival managers.

Findings - For the festival brand, the vegetarian strategy proved to be extremely successful in terms of media attention and an enhanced "green" image of the festival. An analysis of the environmental impact of the vegetarian strategy indicates a remarkable drop of 40% in the size of the ecological footprint.

Practical implications - Based on the results of this study, a vegetarian strategy can be recommended as an innovation for festivals that have core values and a brand image grounded both in sustainability and the reduction of environmental impacts and that are truly concerned about the environment.

Originality/value - Festival Footprint Analysis

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