Welcoming Sarah Bird to our Green Leaders Q&A this February, Sarah is Co-Director of Wild Rumpus; from their woodland HQ they produce a range of events and festivals that inspire audiences to connect to nature, including delivering Just So Festival in Cheshire and Timber in The National Forest. They are members of Without Walls and Sarah is on the board of Outdoor Arts UK & Association of Festival Organisers (AFO). She’s currently on the Clore Fellowship program and is one of NESTA’s Policy and Evidence Centre Industry Champions. Read her answers below:
1. What is the proudest sustainability achievement or moment of your career?
Not our achievement, but our partners on Timber Festival, The National Forest are about to plant their 9 millionth tree, a phenomenal achievement.
2. What was your worst ever sustainability-related decision, project or initiative and why?
Taking at face value the claims of our waste disposal firm, lulling us into a false sense of security and inaction for too long.
3. What are you (or were you) excited about implementing this year/in the future?
An immersive arts project with Chester Zoo inviting audiences to join us for an interactive, participative and playful engagement with their sustainability journey.
4. Which environmental issue do you most care about?
5. What sustainable change have you made in your personal life that you are most proud of?
Supporting my daughter to be a young environmental activist
6. What do you read to stay in touch with green issues?
George Monbiot (The Guardian)
7. What is the most memorable live performance in your life?
Punchdrunk’s ‘The Drowned Man’
8. Was there a moment you committed to taking action on climate change?
When we moved our office to a woodland and starting working in harmony with 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?
11. Can you share something sustainable about/from another artists or event or company that inspired you to make a change?
Katie Patterson’s Future Library or Jem Finer’s Long Player…I’m trying to think longer term.
12. What is the secret to your sustainable success?
Working outdoors, spending time in nature as a team, walking and having campfires.
13. Tell us something you feel positive about right now that relates to the environment
Biden signing back up to the Paris Climate Agreement on day 1 in office.
14. Tell us a book, film or recent article you feel others should watch/read and why about positive change?
‘How You Can Save the Planet’ by Hendrikus Van Hensburg – filled with stories about young people engaging in climate activism…give it to any kids you know.
15. Can you give people new to sustainability in events a top tip?
Collaborate, we’re all in this together.
16. What is the favourite festival moment of your career?
Just So Brazil, our first international foray.
17. What habit or practice has helped you most in your personal journey in life?
Curiosity and optimism
18. Is there anything new or exciting you are planning or changing for the future that you can tell us about? Even a hint!
Hosting more sustainability labs and creative residential retreats at our woods. Oh and Just So Festival in Milan in 2022.
19. Will we save the world?
Having just said I’m optimistic, I’m bound to say yes!
20. What would your sustainable super-power be?
This Q&A originally appeared in our February 2021 Vision: 2025 newsletter. Sign up to receive monthly event sustainability news, case studies and guest blogs direct to your inbox using the form below.