Marie Sabot is an Associate Director of We Love Art, and has been making electronic and alternative music scenes buzz for the past 20 years as Director of We Love Green festival in Paris, where she has proven that a major city-based event can work in harmony with the environment, and be a hub of innovative, eco-friendly initiatives and ideas. This November we were delighted to invite Marie to share her answers to our 20 Event Industry Leaders questions.
1. What is the proudest [sustainability] achievement or moment of your career?
Succeeding in producing We Love Green as a ‘laboratory for innovative solutions’, sustainability, and influencing audiences and media since 2011
2. What was your worst ever decision, project or initiative and why?
Maybe doing a festival! An incredible adventure but what a journey. And It’s what is missing so much in these very particular times.
3. What are you (or were you) excited about implementing this year/in the future?
Green Europe Experience (GEX), a European project where 6 European partners join forces to create the festival of tomorrow based on circular economy and through eco-designed scenography and sustainable food.
4. Which environmental issue do you most care about?
Energy consumption, waste management and raising awareness with our Think Tank Stage.
5. What change have made in your personal life that you are most proud of?
My three children are deeply in contact with our projects to understand why we can and have to change, think and behave differently in this complex world.
6. What do you read to stay in touch with green issues?
Le Monde Planète, Courrier International, Brut, Usbek & Rica, Regain (amazing agriculture magazine)
7. What is the most memorable live performance in your life?
So many … the latest were Tame Impala, at Coachella Festival, in 2019, a real work of art of sound and light .
8. Was there a moment you committed to taking action on climate change?
As a child from South France, I have seen the change from market gardening and orchards to very large intensive farms – seeing the beginning of disconnection with nature and the loss of culture was the first thing that raised the alarm for me.
9. What is most important issue to tackle at your events?
Leave no trace [on our planet] while raising audience awareness.
10. What do you think is the most significant challenge for the events industry becoming more sustainable?
The dictature of the annual bottom line… and rising artist costs squeezing margins.
11. Can you share something about/from another event or company that inspired you to make a change?
We are inspired by events with very strong storytelling like Wilderness, Wonderfruit, Shambala, End of the Road, Bestival and of course Roskilde.
12. What is the secret to your sustainable success?!
An incredibly passionate and committed crew, searching every day for new contacts, new ideas, new connections, new solutions.
13. Tell us something you feel positive about right now
The new generation is extremely committed.
14. Tell us a book, film or recent article you feel others should watch/read and why?
THE BLACK TRAILS from the traveller writer Sylvain Tesson – A lesson in humility and resistance.
15. Can you give people new to sustainability in events a top tip?
Take a step back and ask yourself how you can achieve your goals with less negative impact on the planet. It is always possible.
16. What is the favourite festival moment of your career!?
The LCD sound system set in 2016 at WE LOVE GREEN. We set up the festival that year in a total climatic crisis – rained for 1 month before and was a nightmare to make that edition happen. LCD realized in the challenge and the mood during their show was a climax of shared emotions.
17. What habit or practice has helped you most in your personal journey in life?
Finding time to be alone and peaceful to think and make good decisions.
18. Is there anything new you are planning for the future that you can tell us about? Even a hint!
We are working on out 10th anniversary, with lots of surprises – and with artists inviting activist and opinion leaders on big stages.
19. Will we save the world?
Yes! We have to bring the dream to the surface.
20. What would your sustainable super power be?
The power to make everyone think about the future first.
This Q&A originally appeared in our November 2020 Vision: 2025 newsletter. Sign up receive monthly event sustainability news, case studies and guest blogs direct to your inbox using the form below.