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The crowd at the Øyafestival in Oslo, Norway
Øya Festival, Oslo.
Photo: VISITOSLO / Didrick Stenersen

Øyafestivalen is one of Oslo’s largest music events. During four days in August, people gather in the Tøyen Park to enjoy live music and great food, meet people, and soak up the atmosphere. But the festival is not just about having fun. Øya is on a mission to be one of the world’s most sustainable events. The efforts have paid off: the festival has received several awards, including the prestigious International Greener Festival Award and the AGF Circular Festival Award in 2020. 

A testing ground for a greener future

Øyafestivalen started out in 1999 with around 1,000 visitors. Since then, it has grown steadily year on year. Nowadays, it attracts around 100,000 people who get to experience a mix of international stars and new artists.

During the festival, the Tøyen Park turns into a small city complete with restaurants and food trucks, stores and stalls, streetlights, a library, bike parking, and toilets. It’s no small challenge to minimise the impact on the environment, but the festival organisers mean that the size makes it the perfect arena to showcase new technologies, and test new, sustainable solutions. In this way, the Tøyen Park becomes a testing ground for a new, sustainable future.

Sustainable achievements

Øyafestivalen decided to engage the entire organisation to find ways to be more sustainable already back in 2002. Since then, they’ve come along way. To find the best solutions they experiment, measure, survey and report their environmental impact.

So far, the festival’s main sustainability achievements include:

  • Running the festival on renewable energy from the grid (since 2009)
  • Offering organic food (over 95%), with a strong focus on meat-free dishes (almost 40% of the 100,000 portions of food sold)
  • Serving plastic-free food and drink: All food packaging is compostable and all drinks are served in reusable cups. Since 2016, the festival has reduced its use of plastic with 75%
  • Sorting all waste by hand recycling over 60% of the waste for new products
  • 98% of all festival visitors arrive on foot, by bike or by public transport

Øyafestivalen has also made sure that the furniture is robust enough to withstand the weather so that it can be reused after the festival. And it has, at both fairs and events. Oslo Design Fair, Designers Saturday, IFLA World Congress in Oslo and the Frankfurt Book Fair have all used the same tables and chairs to create zones for relaxation and socialising.

People at the Øyafestival in Oslo, Norway
Øya Festival 2016.
Photo: VISITOSLO/Didrick Stenersen

In the pipeline

The organisers of Øyafestivalen keep working on reducing the environmental impact even more. They’re currently focusing on using even more sustainable and locally produced food, reducing food waste further, increasing the material recycling rate and using more environmentally friendly rigging/construction of the festival area.

They also hope to inspire the audience, fellow event organisers, partners and business owners to act more sustainably.

A sculpture at the Øyafestivalen in Oslo, Norway
Øya, Oslo.
Photo: kenneth.spaberg/foap/visitnorway.com

For more practical information, have a look at our cultural events page. Learn more about Norway’s stunning natural beauty and the country’s efforts in sustainability.

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