Splore festival leads by example when communicating behavioural change.
Splore is a three-day biennial contemporary music and arts festival, where festival goers stay onsite. In 2014 Splore set new targets to reduce the festival’s environmental impact, by achieving zero waste and reducing cars coming on site by 20%.
This was achieved via a diverse communications campaign before and during the event, including social media, Email Direct Marketing (EDM), onsite signage, innovative street theatre, prompts from artists to the audience, the media (including the NZ Herald, New Zealand’s largest newspaper and online news source), the Splore website, sponsors and the company’s own sustainability policy, to communicate audience-appropriate messages and elicit desired behavioural shifts.
The challenge was to overcome the mindset of attendees, who, away from their everyday surroundings, tend to adopt an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ attitude towards the consequences of their actions. By setting a strong sustainability vision and delivering strong communications, Splore created a pathway for positive action.
This has created a benchmark for other events to follow and a new social norm at festivals: a self-regulating community that won’t tolerate wasteful behaviour. It has lifted expectations to raise event standards across New Zealand and has been a motivation for local government to raise their game, and aim for the benchmark set by Splore.
The result of Splore’s communications efforts were 25% fewer cars onsite and a 73% waste diversion from landfill at the event. At the festival close, the site was left clean compared with previous festivals. Notably, only seven tents were left behind, which goes against the worldwide festival trend of mass abandoning. The recycling facilities were well used during the festival and there was no rubbish left on the ground.
Splore Dynamics was a finalist in the Communicating Sustainability category at the 2014 NZI National Sustainable Business Network Awards.