In this month’s Green Leader Q&A we speak with Artur Medes, one of the co-directors of Boom Festival and the Being Gathering, two transformational and change-making festivals. Artur is part of the board of APEFE- Portuguese Association of Shows, Festivals and Events, has a degree in Social and Organisational Psychology and MA in Culture Management. His ongoing studies in permaculture, eco-village design, bio agriculture and involvement with the THNK School of Creative Leadership, all influence his approach.
Artur has been involved with Boom since the early days as party-goer and production staff; he has curated events of many genres and worked on communications and media across the sports and event industry. His role at Boom these days is to positively affect people through initiatives that transform them and regenerate the land, with the aim of inspiring ‘Boomers’ to transform their communities back home.
Boom Festival recently featured in the Future Festival Tools Green Festival Stories for their achievements in reducing water consumption and onsite water treatment processes read the case study.
1. What is the proudest sustainability achievement or moment of your career?
First of all, I am just part of a team, and as a team, we at Boom Festival & Being Gathering have been developing these transformative events from scratch since 2010 from scratch in the middle of nowhere, without any kind of infrastructure, or sponsorships. People live there year-round, the water is treated, we partially grow our own food, and we take a a holistic approach which sees the festivals as a way to regenerate the land.
2. What was your worst ever sustainability-related decision, project or initiative and why?
To start a space within the festival to give social organisations a voice, it was a good idea, but due to some logistic constraints, and availability of the organisations, it never succeeded properly.
3. What are you excited about implementing this year?
A brand-new system of metrics, and the next step in the water treatment plant process, which is testing a new biotechnology that can guarantee full circularity of the water in the festival.
4. Which environmental issue do you most care about?
Water, food, soil.
5. What sustainable change have you made in your personal life that you are most proud of?
To have a conscious lifestyle that takes into account all sides of my being and my choices. We are multidimensional beings, like natural systems.
6. What do you read to stay in touch with green issues?
Being and living close to nature all the time. I really love to research biomimicry, and I love the website asknature.org.
7. What is the most memorable live performance in your life?
Anoushka Shankar at Boom Festival 2014.
8. Was there a moment you committed to taking action on climate change?
I don’t have any moment. It has always been clear to me, since all my life I’ve been close to nature.
9. What are the most important issues to tackle at your event?
10. What do you think is the most significant challenge for the events industry becoming more sustainable?
To understand that it is not only about measuring carbon footprint. It is about understanding the inter-relationship between nature variables and human behaviours.
11. Can you share something sustainable from another artist or event or company that inspired you to make a change?
I try to learn with all the festivals I go to, and nature is a constant source of inspiration.
12. What is the secret to your sustainable success?
We at Boom Festival and Being Gathering believe in the inter-relationship between natural elements. We do not focus on one aspect only.
13. Tell us something you feel positive about right now that relates to the environment
A growing awareness in the cultural sector.
14. Tell us a book, film or recent article you feel others should watch/read and why about positive change?
I would say that the The economics of biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review has been important because it shows how important biodiversity is, especially for the mainstream axioms.
15. Can you give people new to sustainability in events a top tip?
Work with nature, never against it. Learn Permaculture.
16. What is the favourite festival moment of your career?
I don’t have a specific moment. I love festivals.
17. What habit or practice has helped you most in your personal journey in life?
The practice and learning of permaculture have been a game changer.
18. Is there anything new or exciting you are planning or changing for the future that you can tell us about? Even a hint!
19. Will we save the world?
I don’t believe in messiahnism, nor apocalypsim. Nature has its way. Always.
20. What would your sustainable superpower be?
I would love to do a Natural Oxymoron.
LinkedIn: Boom Festival
This Q&A originally appeared in our June 2023 Vision: 2025 newsletter. Sign up to receive monthly event sustainability news, case studies and guest blogs direct to your inbox.