March 13, 2024


Approaching midday in the swanky hotel, some of us were jittery with nerves while others exuded calm confidence. This was the Green Gathering panel at the 16th Green Events and Innovations conference in London - three of us from GG HQ, about to step on stage and explain to an audience of event and sustainability professionals what happens at our festival, and how it impacts behaviour once the festival weekend is over.

Influencing Audiences Beyond the Festival 

Last year, our Green Gathering charity commissioned research into what influence the festival has, and we worked alongside A Greener Future to survey our community. We’ve always believed people are inspired to positively change their lives and the world by what they experience at our festival, and we wanted to see if an independent research team could confirm what we instinctively recognise.

We discovered that a third of our 2023 festival-goers changed their behaviour based on what they experienced at GG - things like what they eat, what they buy, how much they waste, and how they travel. We also found a social impact, with people being more likely to volunteer for an ethical organisation or get involved in community action after being at our festival.

Those people whose behaviour didn’t change? The majority said it was because they were already as ethical and green as could be. So are we wasting time, preaching to the converted? Well no, because those people tell us they need a place like ours where they can hang out with like-minded others, where they can relax, recuperate, feel supported, get energised and re-inspired... before diving back into battling capitalism and trying to make the world a better place. 

On stage at GEI-16, GG director Em Weirdigan said:

“For me, it makes pouring all my energy into something as ephemeral as a festival feel like… yes, it’s not a waste of time, no, I shouldn’t have grown out of it by now! I really want to bring magic back into people’s lives, and to get them to connect with each other and connect with nature. Because it’s simple really: when you love something, you want to protect it. So we have to create love for the things that matter, and festivals are a great place to do that.”

Award Winners

Once the talks were over, after a delicious vegan lunch, the team headed to the Greener Future Award Ceremony to see if we’d come top in any of the categories GG was shortlisted for: Catering, Transport, Community Action, Circular Festival, Power, Pied Piper, Water & Sanitation… 

And we won the International Greener Power Award… for the 3rd year running! 

That makes Green Gathering not only the UK's Greenest festival but also the WORLD-leader of solar-powered events, thanks to a bunch of incredible people who pour passion into making this happen. Special thanks to Richie Smithies for coordinating our solar power grid on site, to Tess and Dougal of Resource Living for providing power and LED festoon as well as skill-sharing at the Resource Hub, to James Walford for ensuring our off-grid electrics are efficient and safe, and to all our independent renewable energy providers. 

On stage to receive the award, we were presented with our award-winner’s prize of a rare SkyDiamond - the world's first carbon-negative certified diamond. Chemically identical to mined diamonds, these are made in the UK by fusing carbon captured from the atmosphere with harvested rainwater, heated and pressurised in a process powered by solar and wind power provided by Ecotricity… Yes, really, just WOW!

Magic and Nature

Making SkyDiamonds is modern alchemy - turning air, sun and water into precious gems. It’s science, and it’s magical.

We were struck by how many times ‘magic’ and ‘nature’ were mentioned at the GEI conference. Em Weirdigan’s words about bringing magic back into people’s lives, and about how nature connection leads to nature protection, felt prescient as similar sentiments were voiced throughout the day. 

In his keynote speech Jarvis Cocker focused on flipping biophila (fear of nature) into becoming one with nature, while singer and conservationist Sam Lee talked of leading people into a deeper and more sensitive connection to nature and communicating the treasures on our doorsteps through song, storytelling and immersive experiences. 

The first of our four festival themes is Reconnect: Earth Magic. We need this now more than ever, and we remain hopeful that in the wider world as well as in the conference rooms of a London hotel, people are waking up to the magic as well as the vulnerability of the natural world.  

Our SkyDiamond is a beacon of possibility.

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