15th-17th July 2011 Joensuu, Finland

What does Ilosaarirock Festival do?

Organising a festival consumes a lot of electricity, requires vehicle traffic, and produces a lot of waste. We can't completely get rid of these environmental issues, but it is possible to reduce the environmental strain and the amount of waste by purchasing smartly, cleaning up and recycling whenever possible.


It's impossible to organise Ilosaarirock Festival without electricity, that goes without saying. Electricity is vital, but it can be supplied in ways that cause less strain on the environment. Ilosaarirock Festival uses 100% green electricity, which means that the electricity is produced from water, wind or wood, which are all renewable energy sources. Electricity consumption is monitored and calculated very carefully during the festival. Before the festival, each contributor, including sound and lighting suppliers, partners, and sales point keepers, need to provide exact calucations of how much their equipment consumes electricity. When circumstances allow, compromises are made in order to save electricity. Those sales point keepers who consume little energy can be granted an electricity benefit, which means a reduction in the rent they pay to Ilosaarirock Festival.

Lighting gigs takes a lot of energy, but luckily we have new technology to tackle that. This year the Sue Stage is going to be lit with LED lights that consume less energy.


Drinking bottled water produces excess waste, and disposable water bottles are an unnecessary environmental problem, especially when looked at from the entire planet's perspective. In the festival area there will be about 20 water taps for both festival goers and sales point keepers. The water you get from the taps is fresher than bottled water; it's the very same water that the people of Joensuu contentedly drink every day. You can bring with you an empty or unopened soft drink bottle, and then refill it from the water taps whenever you need to.


To run a festival, the festival organisation needs to make all kinds of purchases. Ilosaarirock Festival favours ethichal purchases with less strain on the environment. The festival and the office of the Joensuu Pop Musicians' Association only use fair trade coffee and tea. T-shirts, hoodies and all other Ilosaarirock Festival gear on sale are made of ethically and ecologically produced cotton. The carbon footprint from producing these items has been brought down as much as possible. The decorations of the festival are made primarily of recycled materials, and the same decorations are used several years in different places in the festival area.

This year the wristbands are manufactured from a fabric made of PET plastic. PET is a plastic used by the packaging industry and the raw material for recyclable soft drink bottles and many other things. The festival organiser favours organic and local food whenever possible, and tries to always choose a local or Finnish product when making purchases.

The partners of Ilosaarirock Festival are also committed to the festival's environmental values and practices. They are actively involved in developing environmental actions at the festival and beyond.


The Ilosaarirock Festival area will be kept clean with diligence. Cleaning takes place during the festival, at night, in the morning, and especially after the festival. Besides the festival area and camping sites, our cleaning teams will also tackle the surrounding areas, which can span surprisingly far from the actual festival site. There are more than 300 cleaners helping to keep the festival area clean, and they work for six days.


Ilosaarirock Festival has recycling facilities for biodegradable waste, metal, glass and cardboard. Cigarette stubs have their own designated ashtrays. Recycling has been a part of the Ilosaarirock Festival for three years now, and about 17% of the waste produced during the weekend generally has ended up in the correct bins and, consequently, has be processed appropriately. This year's goal is to improve recycling so that 25% of all waste will be recycled. Food stalls participate in this effort by using only biodegradable plates and cutlery. This means that you can put all plates, cutlery (also the plastic looking ones!), paper napkins and leftovers in the green bins.

We have been succeeded in decreasing the amount of waste for several years by using various measures. A considerable drop took place when we replaced the soft plastic beer tumblers with harder plastic ones. Now there is a deposit for the tumblers, as well as for cans, which helps to keep the area a lot cleaner, and the pints are returned unbroken and reused.

Printed materials

The printhouse that Ilosaarirock Festival works with, Punamusta, has received the Nordic ecolabel for its environmental actions. The paper used in the printed materials, on the other hand, has been given the PEFC certificate which proves that the paper comes from sustainably managed forests. Transporting the printed materials to the festival site doesn't really tilt the ship that much; the distance from the printhouse to the festival site is about 4 kilometres.

Travelling and traffic

The traffic related to the festival produces emissions, especially when the festival takes place in Eastern Finland. Even though Ilosaarirock Festival favours local suppliers, some things you just can't find close to home, and others have to be brought over from outside the Finnish borders. Not all bands can be local either, and bicycle isn't quite the number one form of transport in this case. In some issues, we have to make compromises.

Last winter, an extensive study was conducted to map the emissions and the carbon footprint of the Ilosaarirock Festival. The results of the study are very revealing, and they now work as an indicator of the festival's emissions and a tool for further actions: now we know better where the festival is being wasteful and where we can still improve.

By far the greatest source of emissions related to the festival is the arrival of festival goers to Joensuu. This is why we want to encourage people to share cars or use public transport.

You have to pay to park in the festival's parking areas. Parking fees have been raised this year, and the difference will be donated to protect the Great Crested Newt, the same creature that will also be the beneficiary of the festival's greenhouse gas compensation this year. Festival-goers who arrive to the parking areas in shared cars will get a discount voucher for the festival's food stalls: you get this discount when there are at least four persons travelling in one car.

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