Wiebke Schumacher has been working in the music industry for almost 20 years. She started in PR for large concert and festival promoters and has worked on festivals such as the Hurricane and tours and concerts by Pink, Bob Geldof, Tina Dico, Babylon Circus and many more. Since 2019, Wiebke Schumacher has worked as Head of Communications at Morgenwelt GmbH, which organises the Futur 2 Festival, in Hamburg, Germany. Futur 2 is a completely off-grid festival that generates all the electricity for the event onsite from renewable sources. The Futur 2 team design the whole festival around how much solar energy they can generate, then decide what kind of entertainment they can offer audiences. Here Weibke takes our monthly Q&A to share Futur 2’s, and her own, sustainability journey:
1. What is the proudest sustainability achievement or moment of your career?
I am proud to produce a festival that runs completely without grid power and whose electricity is produced exclusively onsite from renewable energy sources.
2. What was your worst ever sustainability-related decision, project or initiative and why?
We used reusable French fry trays on our own food truck. Unfortunately, many trays were taken home despite the deposit and we couldn’t produce more at short notice because there is only one machine that makes them and it is booked up for years! We had to switch back to paper bags last year, but this year we are looking for a better solution.
3. What were you excited about implementing last year?
We worked with green hydrogen for the first time this year and were able to completely dispense with our ethanol backup generator.
4. Which environmental issue do you most care about?
How we leave our world to our children.
5. What sustainable change have you made in your personal life that you are most proud of?
I now ride a bike more than I drive a car.
6. What do you read to stay in touch with green issues?
I follow sustainability activists on Twitter and Instagram. And I read the FLIP newsletter, which investigates and exposes corporate greenwashing.
7. What is the most memorable live performance in your life?
One of the very special moments was having breakfast at Melt! Festival (around 4pm), sitting in the sun and watching Lana Del Rey as the opening act in front of about 200 people.
8. Was there a moment you committed to taking action on climate change?
When I became a mother.
9. What are the most important issues to tackle at your event?
Showing people that you don’t have to give up anything just because an event is sustainable. Sustainability and fun go well together.
10. What do you think is the most significant challenge for the events industry becoming more sustainable?
International touring. We want a diverse line up of (international) artists, but we need to find ways to tour them on sustainable fuels. Electro mobility, green hydrogen and artificial kerosene will be the big topics of the future. These sustainable alternatives must be affordable enough to allow artists and promoters to tour profitably.
11. Can you share something sustainable from another artist or event or company that inspired you to make a change?
There are so many great festivals that are actively promoting sustainability. I was very impressed by a presentation from the Tollwood Festival, which has a great gastronomy concept and relies exclusively on organic food, supporting social projects with the leftovers and helping their food partners to become more sustainable.
12. What is the secret to your sustainable success?
That we consistently always think sustainability first.
13. Tell us something you feel positive about right now that relates to the environment?
Sustainability is becoming more and more relevant. Many festivals have a sustainability strategy, and there is now a sustainability category at award shows and conferences. As a result, more people are talking about the topic, and that is the first step.
14. Tell us a book, film or recent article about positive change you feel others should watch or read and why?
“Why feminism is good for men,” by Jens van Tricht, who criticises traditional masculinity and describes how many social problems – including the climate crisis – are caused by obsolete role models. It is not about blaming men for these problems, but about breaking with outdated role models and finding better solutions for everyone as a society.
15. Can you give people new to sustainability in events a top tip?
Just start. Every step counts. No one has to be at 100% right away.
16. What is the favourite festival moment of your career?
When the headliner plays, I don’t look at the stage, I look at the audience. Seeing the happy faces always reminds me why we do this.
17. What habit or practice has helped you most in your personal journey in life?
Surrounding myself with positive people and talking to them about all the things that move me. If I can’t find a solution on my own, then maybe we can do it together.
18. Is there anything new or exciting you are planning or changing for the future that you can tell us about? Even a hint!
We want to grow and reach even more people with our vision.
19. Will we save the world?
We have to!
20. What would your sustainable superpower be?
To be able to capture CO2 out of the atmosphere.
This Q&A originally appeared in our Feb 2023 Vision: 2025 newsletter. Sign up to receive monthly event sustainability news, case studies and guest blogs direct to your inbox.