The Collectif des festivals, based in Brittany, offers a comprehensive training to introduce the organizers to good practices of sustainable development.

Optimize the energy consumption of festivals by better calibrating sources of supply, choose energy-saving solutions for restaurants, the stage or lighting, explore new technical solutions: these are the objectives of the training course set up by the Festival collective in Rennes.

Created in 2005 in Brittany to reflect on the topic of ecological and social transition, it now gathers thirty festivals in the Breton territory and accompanies them in their sustainable development approach but also on social and societal issues. « We work on energy, travel, food and waste issues as well as on more social issues such as accessibility for people with disabilities or sexual and gender-based violence. », explains Rudy Guilhem-Ducléon, responsible for sustainable development and responsible for projects.

Les Trans Musicales de Rennes, festival adhérent au Collectif, intègrent le développement durable dans la mise en œuvre de leur projet.

Sobriety, efficiency, energy supply

Festivals are faced with specificities related to the places in which they settle, often little thought for this type of use. “ This involves dedicated logistics and the construction of a number of infrastructures Rudy Guilhem-Ducléon said. In addition to this, the reception of the public inevitably has an impact on certain natural sites. Thus, the Collective and the organizers have identified three major issues to limit the energy consumption of festivals.

The first issue is that of sobriety with a resizing of installations, sound and light systems, the capacity of reception of places or the movements of artists. The second concerns the effectiveness of the schemes, with support from the technical directorates to match the facilities with the needs. « We often observe an over-dimensioning of generators from x3 to x10 so there is a margin of progression », continues Rudy Guilhem-Ducléon. The collective encourages festivals to use LEDs, which consume less energy, for lighting or gas, more efficiently, for kitchen spaces. This second issue is related to the third, that of energy supply. On this subject, the Collective is working with Enedis to ensure that festivals connect, as soon as possible, to the fixed network, thirty times less transmitter of CO2. Finally, it’s about finding cleaner energy, like solar or wind. “ One of our member festivals recently sounded an entire solar stage. These initiatives are still scattered but it is encouraging ", notes Rudy Guilhem-Ducléon.

Previously focused mainly on the issue of equipment pooling and waste reduction, the issue of the ecological transition is becoming increasingly important. The training course Coordination Sustainable development of a festival is therefore the result of a rise in the preoccupation of festival organizers with this subject. « In the image of society, festivals evolve, notes Rudy Guilhem-Ducléon. Awareness is growing and we are working with committed festivals so the approach goes faster and further, especially since the health crisis. We work more strategically, we really plan sustainable development actions and we put in place indicators to see how we can improve ».


Methodology, actions and valuation

The Collective has devised this six-module course that lasts about ten days spread over a school year. It consists of three blocks of two modules each. The first focuses on methodological tools, including the implementation of a sustainable development audit. “ This is a complete inventory of assessment tools to limit the environmental footprint. Trying to understand the impact of a festival on biodiversity and natural resources » sums up Cécile Talon, responsible for sustainable development and responsible for training. The second proposes concrete actions and the third emphasizes communication and the enhancement of the approach. “ The course provides a lot of information and gives space for exchange between participants. There is also an operational dimension such as the management of dry toilets ” continues Cécile Talon. Throughout this journey, interns are supervised by people who are familiar with the cultural sector. “ Otherwise, it would be more theoretical and less satisfying for participants », believes Cécile Talon.

The last session, which has just ended, attracted some 20 people from all over France, both employees and volunteers. “ We had very good feedback, insures Cecile Talon. This path allows people to structure their approach. Long-term sustainable development managers have been able to renew their tools and strengthen them while recently appointed people have gained legitimacy, can be better recognized in their structure. » The course could be refined with the implementation of optional modules depending on the participants' experience or immersion days in the field.

An Act 2 of the plan of energy sobriety in the cultural sector

The culture sector now accounts for about 2% of France’s total energy consumption, not counting the consumption related to the travel of artists, works and especially the public. In October 2022, a first sobriety plan was presented by the Ministry of Ecological Transition with measures such as lowering the temperature to 19°C in winter, the implementation of quick-win projects or measures to reduce fuel consumption.

After a review of this first component, the plan has now entered Act 2, with a working group of cultural actors that met last April. This group brings together representatives of public institutions and companies in the cultural sector, representatives of local authorities, energy stakeholders and experts from the Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME).

Together, they reflected on the tensions on energy faced by the world of culture, especially in places receiving from the public. Areas for reflection include lighting, the reduction of digital consumption, knowledge and exploitation of real estate potential and its energy performance, management and improvement of heating tools and training in eco-gestures.

« A more eco-responsible cultural life is possible!Rima Abdul Malak, Minister of Culture, said at the end of the meeting. Numerous initiatives have been implemented to reduce gas, electricity and fuel consumption in all cultural fields. These energy-efficient efforts have been made without reducing access to the culture of our fellow citizens, a principle to which I remain very attached. Collectively, we have responded to short-term emergencies while anticipating the challenges of the future. »