Joensuu, Finland 13th to 15th July 2012 Media Facebook Vimeo Majoitus 360° Virtual Festival Liput Environment Volunteering Festival Site

Environmental Actions

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. It might be slightly disappointing to see Saturday's last artist play an acoustic, non-electrically enhanced set on a dark stage. Lauantain päättävän orkesterin keikkaa odottavat saattaisivat pettyä pahasti pimeässä esitettyyn akustiseen settiin, jota ei olisi sähköisesti vahvistettu. Electricity is vital, but it can be supplied in ways that cause less strain on the environment.

Ilosaarirock Festival uses 99% 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.


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 reused again and again in different places in the festival area.

Again 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.

Food stalls participate in this effort by using only biodegradable plates and cutlery. This means that you can put all plates, cutlery (even those that look like plastic!), paper napkins and leftovers in the green bins.

We have succeeded in decreasing the amount of waste for several years in succession. 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 awarded 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.

The emissions and carbon footprint of Ilosaarirock Festival are followed and studied every year. The results of the studies 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. One thing where there is a lot of room for improvement is the fact that the festival workers drive cars a lot during the festival. However, everyone has done some soul-searching and tried to think how they could reduce their own driving. They will have bicycles at their disposal; what better means of transport for going from point A to point B in the grounds of Laulurinne, hair streaming in the air!

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. The railway company VR has special Rokki trains whose timetables are drawn up with especially the Ilosaarirock Festival goers in mind. From the Joensuu railway station you can get to the festival area by the free-of-charge Rokki buses. There is a guarded bike park for cyclists, and a fee for parking spaces reserved for those arriving by car.

What can you do?

The festival audience can also participate in reducing the amount of waste. 'Bin it where it belongs' is a good piece of advice that you can keep in mind throughout the festival weekend. Ilosaarirock Festival also advises people to not take with them things that aren't really necessary. You can't bring in to the festival area or to the camping area any large items that are very likely going be discarded when the festival is over. Sofas and recliners don't belong to the festival or camping areas, as they are very often left behind when going home. That's why you can only bring the regular camping and festival related things with you. We also want to encourage the festival audience to care about their belongings and things. Discarding tents and shelters in camping areas has become a real problem for many European festivals, and this unfortunate phenomenon is reaching Finland as well. Cheap tents and shelters are easy to leave behind for other people to worry about. For us, however, disposability is a four-letter word. This is a problem that we are looking for a solution to – have you got one?