FOCUS WALES AND THE ENVIRONMENT
We’re passionate about our talent development work, both in terms of the opportunities created through our annual event itself, and also our work internationally throughout the year, where we showcase artists and industry in new music markets across the globe. At the same time, we are mindful and considerate of the environmental impact of the work that we undertake, and we are continually learning and actively taking measures to ensure we consider, reduce and offset the carbon footprint of our wider work.
While we’re increasingly encouraged by the commitments of many governments globally to achieve green air travel over the next decade – and this can’t come soon enough – we have to be realistic about the fact artists will still be traveling until the time that this is achieved, through their endeavours to export their work internationally. With showcase festivals we can maximise the opportunities for artists, both at home and overseas, with high impact music industry showcase festivals and conferences, delivered through a singular event, where otherwise an independent artist would embark on multiple trips to achieve the same level of industry engagement. So we do know, from a wealth of experience and research, that the events we deliver and engage with ultimately reduce artist travel, in this respect. However, more can always be done, and continued dialogue and education with regards to sustainability is a healthy thing with this important topic in mind, and so we’ve taken on a responsibility to work with and advise our artists, delegates and our partner organisations in this respect, creating healthy conversations that allow us all to explore what more we could be doing to improve the impact of our work, to safeguard our environment, the world around us, our home.
When it comes to our new music export and import work – education, and our shared responsibility, has a huge role to play in reducing the carbon footprint.
One positive development during the pandemic was that we developed a new Out of FOCUS programme of online international market engagement projects, which we deliver throughout the year, generating artist to industry engagement opportunities in various digital formats, with target music markets across the globe, with sessions to date delivered with partners across North America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. While this work is largely non public facing, it is significant, and it’s having a positive impact, presenting a significant career development opportunity, and delivered entirely online, it’s proven to accelerate the career paths of participating artists, and ultimately reducing the travel artists would otherwise undertake to achieve their aims independently. In its first 12 months, as a direct result of this work, we have seen artists secure record deals, management, and connect with agents and bookers. The outcome of this work ultimately means the artists are better prepared to tackle any physical international showcasing opportunities they may get before they step foot on a flight, maximising that opportunity in every respect.
Where travel is involved, we consult with artists and industry exploring the various ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Examples of this include:
*if artists have a range of live setups, are they able to showcase with fewer musicians, reducing the travel needs.
*we advise using local crew and sound engineers.
*we advise using local backline and production, wherever possible.
*we advise using local suppliers for receptions and all hospitality.
*we advise artists and industry to consider cleaner methods of travel, wherever practical.
– for example, artists and delegates travel to us by train from Europe each year.
*consider routing additional touring around the showcase opportunity, where possible.
– for example, our event sits neatly in the UK event calendar with two other music industry events a week each side from us, with Liverpool Sound City the weekend before and Brighton’s The Great Escape the weekend after our event. This is not an accident. We encourage international guests to maximise their trip here by also attending at least one of those other events, increasing the likelihood they’ll achieve their aims, reducing travel in the long run.
*if additional touring isn’t possible, where flying is the only practical method of travel – although it may work out slightly more expensive to do so – we advise flying direct, in that scenario.
*we advise everyone to consider initiatives such as ZeroSmart, for one example – planting trees to offset their environmental impact.
Our wealth of experience of the music industry, and of the makeup of typical artist exporting strategies, tells us that by working to a well considered export strategy, involving the high impact showcasing opportunities that we organise at home and across different global markets, and involving a process of consultation with all participants, with environmental sustainability in mind, as outlined above, we know that the real world impact is that we’re at least halving the amount of travel that the participating artists and industry would otherwise undertake independently to achieve their aims. So we have an important role to play, and it’s one we’re taking seriously.
We welcome new ideas and recommendations
We are in constant dialogue with our government, and other advisory bodies, to ensure best practices are applied to our work, and continually improved upon. Our door is open. We welcome new ideas that we may be able to apply to our work, to make what we do more environmentally sustainable moving forward. If you have any such recommendations, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your ideas further.
The FOCUS Wales team