Tess Wilson is Event Operations Manager and Head of Sustainability at Boomtown Fair, Senior Production Manager at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland and Event Manager for Brockwell Live. Tess has worked in Production and Operations at events for 12 years and adopted Event Sustainability into her role through her lifelong passion for environmental awareness. She has worked in sustainability at Glastonbury Festival, British Summertime, Boomtown Fair and numerous other events, utilising her extensive experience in production and operations to implement initiatives that work cross departmentally to ensure success.
1. What is the proudest sustainability achievement or moment of your career?
Streamlining data collection using existing data to easily produce our impact assessments.
2. What was your worst ever sustainability-related decision, project or initiative and why?
Trialling battery power before the technology of energy storage when it wasn’t quite ready for specific applications. I am confident though, once the technology is with us, it will revolutionise so much in the industry.
3. What are you excited about implementing this year?
Further collection and integration of data collection for our carbon analysis, better informing our sustainable practices. Understanding your impact is so integral to reducing it. We are discovering more ways to integrate data into our day-to-day business, (knowing more about the event than ever before) with the least amount of additional resource.
4. Which environmental issue do you most care about?
Reducing energy consumption.
5. What sustainable change have you made in your personal life that you are most proud of?
Starting a petition to have all Coca Cola products banned from my secondary school.
6. What do you read to stay in touch with green issues?
Circular Festival newsletters.
7. What is the most memorable live performance in your life?
R.E.M at Live 8 at Hyde Park in 2005.
8. Was there a moment you committed to taking action on climate change?
The Stop Esso campaign, which I saw at the Greenpeace fields in Glastonbury and Green Gathering in 2001.
9. What are the most important issues to tackle at your event?
Audience engagement and support. If you have that, you can do anything.
10. What do you think is the most significant challenge for the events industry becoming more sustainable?
Managing onward supply chains and the conflict between cost and commitments.
11. Can you share something sustainable from another artist or event or company that inspired you to make a change?
My father’s business practice has always centred salvaging and reusing materials.
12. What is the secret to your sustainable success?
Integration of systems and practices into business as usual, so they don’t feel cumbersome.
13. Tell us something you feel positive about right now that relates to the environment
Increased awareness and commitment to change.
14. Tell us a book, film or recent article you feel others should watch/read and why about positive change?
Cradle to Cradle.
15. Can you give people new to sustainability in events a top tip?
Don’t be intimidated, the simplest of changes can have a huge impact.
16. What is the favourite festival moment of your career?
It’s always the moment when you open the gates and witness the pure joy on everyone’s faces.
17. What habit or practice has helped you most in your personal journey in life?
Travelling by train. I love trains, I just wish they were more affordable.
18. Is there anything new or exciting you are planning or changing for the future that you can tell us about? Even a hint!
Green Stewards! Bringing in new volunteer groups to help support with all of our green initiatives, achieving greater impact with more visibility, presence and engagement.
19. Will we save the world?
There isn’t a second option.
20. What would your sustainable superpower be?
Time Travel – to go back and warn people of the danger of making everything so convenient.
Follow Tess Wilson on Linkedin
Find out more about Boomtown Fair https://www.boomtownfair.co.uk/
This Q&A originally appeared in our November 2023 Vision: 2025 newsletter. Sign up to receive monthly event sustainability news, case studies and guest blogs direct to your inbox.