Social and Environmental Accountability

Sustainable Development Project | Environmental Work | Carbon Neutrality | Electricity | Food, Drink and Other Consumables | Recycling | Transportation and Parking | Equality and Safety | The Values of Ilosaarirock | Social Responsibility

One of Ilosaarirock Festival's core values is to look after both the people and the environment. While organising a festival is not exactly a "green deed", actions are taken to ensure that the social and environmental accountability of Ilosaarirock is as good as it can be. The primary aim is that everyone who joins us to celebrate the best weekend of the year at our wonderful festival site feels safe and happy.

Sustainable Development Project

In Spring 2019, Ilosaarirock, in partnership with PKS (a North Karelian energy company), will launch a two-year sustainable development project. The aim of the project is to reduce the environmental impact of the festival, raise awareness about responsible energy use among festival goers and share practical tips on how people can reduce their individual carbon footprint.

Pohjois-Karjalan Sähkö Ltd

Ilosaarirock is supplied with green electricity by PKS, which means that energy used comes from renewable sources.

Environmental Work

When it comes to environmental accountability, Ilosaarirock has done pioneering work and led other Finnish festivals by example.

Ilosaarirock was awarded with the international Green'n'Clean environmental certificate in 2008 and was the first festival in Finland to receive the certification.

In 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2017 Ilosaarirock was awarded with an international A Greener Festival Award for the environmental work done and was the first festival in Finland to obtain the award. In 2012 Ilosaarirock scored as ‘outstanding’, the highest score available across the eleven areas of assessment.

Ilosaarirock has planted a unique area of forest called ‘Pop Forest’ at Koli National Park in cooperation with Unesco.

Carbon Neutrality

Since 2010 Ilosaarirock has calculated its carbon footprint and aimed to minimise the emissions caused by the festival. Monitoring the level of emissions has provided ways in which the festival can continue to become increasingly environmentally friendly.

Every year Ilosaarirock donates funds to different environmental projects to offset the greenhouse emissions it produces, in accordance with the emissions trading principles of the EU. In 2010 a monetary sum corresponding to the amount of EU certified carbon credits consumed during the festival was donated to protect the endangered northern crested newt, whereas in 2011 funds were donated to the preservation of the Kuorinka lake in Liperi. Since then Ilosaarirock has donated money to help the protection of many endangered species such as the Finnish landlocked salmon, the golden eagle and the Saimaa ringed seal.

The charitable causes are identified together with environmental organisations, such as the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation (FANC) and the North Karelia Biosphere Reserve, which is a member of UNESCO's Man and Biosphere Programme.

Previous projects:
2010 The protection of the endangered northern crested newt in North Karelia
2011 The restoration of the Kuorinka lake in Liperi
2012 The creation of new spawning grounds for landlocked salmon in the streams and rivers of North Karelia
2013 The creation of new spawning grounds for landlocked salmon in the streams and rivers of North Karelia
2014 The construction of nests for golden eagles in Eastern Finland
2015 The construction of winter nesting places for the Saimaa ringed seal at lake Saimaa
2016 The construction of winter nesting places for the Saimaa ringed seal at lake Saimaa


Ilosaarirock is powered by green electricity provided by the energy company PKS. The green electricity used is produced from wind power and hydropower, and has been issued with an official Guarantee of Origin certificate.

Electricity consumption is closely monitored during Ilosaarirock. Before the festival begins, each unit, including sound and lighting suppliers, partners and vendors, are required to provide detailed calculations of the amount of electricity consumed by equipment. The units and vendors that consume more electricity than predicted are required to pay extra for additional consumption. Compromises are made to reduce electricity consumption at every possible turn and action is taken where possible; for instance, energy saving LED lights have replaced traditional bulbs for the stage lighting.

Ilosaarirock has acted as a testing ground for new, sustainable sources of energy. Among other experiments, the festival has been powered by portable wind power turbines and wood pellet power plants. Ilosaarirock is committed to continually testing new sources of energy together with the festival’s sustainable development partner, PKS.

Food, Drink and Other Consumables

The aim of Ilosaarirock is to guide the festival food vendors to invest in ethically and ecologically sound produce. Every food stall at Ilosaarirock offers vegetarian food and the majority of them also have a selection of high quality vegan options. Our own catering units use produce that is primarily vegetarian, ethical, organic and locally produced. Every cup of coffee or tea served at Ilosaarirock is Fair Trade certified.

Ilosaarirock’s own brand festival beer ‘Iloliemi’ is a lovely organic brew from a local craft brewery, and there are several other organic beers and wines available at the festival restaurants over the weekend.

There are plenty of fresh water taps at the festival area where it is possible to fill your own bottle with the clean and refreshing drinking water of Joensuu, often dubbed as the best tasting tap water in the world. When you come to Ilosaarirock, remember to bring your own water bottle for refilling. The fresh water units can also be used to wash your hands. The taps are easy to open and close, meaning there is no need to leave the taps running and needlessly waste water. The level of consumption and the quality of water at the festival is monitored annually.

The Ilosaarirock t-shirts, hoodies and other festival merchandise on sale are made of ethically and ecologically produced cotton. The art and decorations that are on display during the festival are made primarily of recycled materials, and the same decorations are reused year after year.

Our partners and affiliates are equally committed to Ilosaarirock’s environmental values and practices. They are actively involved in making both Ilosaarirock and their own operations more environmentally friendly.


100% of the waste created in the making of Ilosaarirock is either recycled or used to produce energy.

At the festival site there are recycling facilities for biodegradable waste, metal, glass, cardboard, plastics, cans, bottles and hazardous waste. Combustible waste is collected in over 100 waste bins that are dotted around the festival area. Additionally, there are designated ashtrays for cigarette butts.

Recycling your waste at Ilosaarirock could not be any easier. The recycling units come staffed with our very own ‘recycling assistants’ who are more than happy to help you sort your waste and decide which bin to use for which item.

The cans and cups that are used to serve drinks at licensed bar areas contain a small deposit. When you bring your can or cup back to be reused, you will get your deposit back, which helps keep the festival area clean and tidy. Any food that has been left over from the festival catering is donated to local homeless shelters or other organisations that give food aid. Leftover bread is given to local horse stables as a nice treat for the horses.

Bringing large items, such as sofas, armchairs or marquees, to the festival site or the camping area is not allowed, when it seems obvious that the items will get discarded at the end of the festival.

Transportation and Parking

According to the annual carbon footprint analysis of Ilosaarirock, transportation is the single biggest generator of emissions during the event. However, the ways in which festival goers, artists and production teams transport themselves from one place to another is very hard to control and have an impact on. Actions are taken to mitigate the use of transport, where possible: staff are kitted out with Ilosaarirock bikes and festival guests are encouraged to carpool.

Without a doubt, the main source of carbon emissions is guests travelling to Joensuu before the festival and heading home after the fun is done. Festival goers are encouraged to try carpooling or use public transport. Please check the Ilosaarirock website for more information about the possibility to hitch a ride to Joensuu with one of the independently chartered coaches or how to find the carpooling schemes available.

VR, the Finnish national rail service, provides additional train services during the festival weekend with an increased amount of carriages. The Ilosaarirock bus ‘Rokkibussi’ takes you from the Joensuu train station to the festival area free of charge. The local bus company will offer additional night service buses during the festival weekend. There are paid parking facilities available to those who arrive by car and bicycle parks to those who choose to pedal their way to the festival.

Equality and Safety

The guiding principle of Ilosaarirock is to organise a festival where everyone is made to feel welcome – with our arms wide open! Everyone is accepted the way they are and there is zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind.

Please respect the physical integrity of everyone else attending the festival. If you happen to witness or experience harassment or some other form of unpleasant behaviour, please contact the security officers or one of the staff members immediately.

Everyone should feel safe and have the opportunity to enjoy the festival in peace. Hence, there are hundreds of security officers overseeing the safety and well-being of guests at the festival site, camping area, as well as outside the gates. Additionally, the police, fire and rescue authorities, together with the Red Cross first aid and support services personnel are always at hand.

The Values of Ilosaarirock

Ilosaarirock has been running since 1971, and is organised by the Joensuu Pop Musicians' Association, a non-profit organisation founded on the idea of supporting the local live music scene. Ilosaarirock is an independent festival with no private ownership.

In addition to our unwavering love for music and culture, our core values include an ambition to make North Karelia and Joensuu area a better place to live and a devotion to look after the environment. Any profits that are potentially made during the festival are donated to causes that are agreeable with our core values.

Over the years more than 300 000 euros of Ilosaarirock profits have been distributed to local bands, artists and cultural events. The funds are allocated by the Joensuu Pop Musicians' Association Fund.

Social Responsibility

In addition to the work done for the environment, the Joensuu Pop Musicians' Association is also keen to promote social well-being in North Karelia. In order to do this, we have teamed up with several local non-governmental organisations. In 2018 a charity called Hope was the cooperation partner for all our events, i.e. Ilosaarirock, Rokumentti music film festival and Vekararokki children’s festival.

Hope funds and organises leisure activities for disadvantaged children and youth, helps families in need with sports vouchers, provides free tickets to various events and organises Christmas gift collections, among other things.

Ilosaarirock has funded the different activities organised by Hope with 5 500 euros as well as donating a large quantity of useful items, such as clothes, toys and sports equipment to families in need.

In 2019 Ilosaarirock partnered with North Karelian Society for Social Security and their community outreach programme for the elderly. The goal of the programme is to help lonely senior citizens who are looking to meet other people, socialise and have something meaningful to do. Ilosaarirock will also donate free festival tickets to the senior members of the community found through the programme.

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