Event Live Expo Begins With Focus on Sustainability

Keynote Speaker Jennifer Regan of AEG to discuss state of green in '13

  • by Dave Brooks
  • Published: January 16, 2013


Jennifer Regan

L.A.’s free music industry conference Event Live Expo officially kicks off Feb. 5 with a new location and focus on industry safety and sustainability.

After two years at the L.A. Convention Center, the three-day event co-produced by AEG and the Event Safety Alliance has moved across the street to the L.A. Live Event Deck — next door to the Pollstar Live! conference and the 700-person annual AEG Summit — part of what Event Live Expo organizer Dan Coffey calls Live Music Industry Week.

Unique to the 2013 Event Live Expo is the debut of a North American version of the Event Safety Guide. Also known as “The Purple Guide,” the Event Safety Guide is a 33-chapter publication first published in 1999 and now widely used in the United Kingdom. The North American version includes submissions from producer Steve MacFadyen and Harold Hansen with the Academy for Venue Safety & Security.

Event Live Expo’s opening day includes a full slate of programming dedicated to sustainability with a keynote address from Jennifer Regan, AEG’s Global Sustainability director. Venues Today caught up with Regan for an update on AEG’s latest greening strategies and the future of environmental stewardship in live entertainment.

What do you plan to talk about next month during your presentation?

I’m going to talk about the value delivered to us as a company when we focus on sustainability and I’m going to discuss the fan engagement component. AEG has an unprecedented opportunity to influence our guests and inspire them to take environmental action.

What has AEG done in the last 12 months to engage guests and compel them to think about sustainability?

This year we coordinated 12 e-waste cell phone collection events across the country. We worked with our biggest venues in their local communities to identify recycling items — we collected used cell phones, which we gave to Cell Phones for Soldiers and we donated food to local food banks.

What is AEG doing in terms of research and development?

Our team in the U.K. has pursued a newer event certification for sustainability that we think is going to gain in popularity in Europe. By pursuing the certification, they were able to earn the contract for an event in Hyde Park in London — what they found is that they are able to cut operation costs for the production team by using things like reusable water bottles and utensils with food and water stations throughout the event that don’t require purchasing a lot of disposable items.

How has the push toward recycling changed the way venues do business?

There’s a challenge right now for the industry in educating the fans on how to sort recycling and making sure that sorting carries through to the back of house. These events are spending more money on staff or identifying volunteer crews to help the fans sort, but in the back of house all the material gets put into one container again when the event is being cleaned.

Where have you seen that happen?

Unfortunately I’ve seen that at every major event from the X Games and ESPYs — which is one of the greenest events — to music festivals like New Orleans Jazz Fest and the early days of Coachella. Even the Democratic National Convention had this issue and they have a very focused green team. This year AEG is introducing a solution with color-coding and very clear educational materials for staff involved in the waste process. We spend a lot of time and investment making signage for fans, but then we don’t make sure that signage follows the bin once it leaves the event space.

Looking at the business landscape, what will be the next environmental issue the live entertainment industry needs to address?

In designing our events, we need to think about the lighting. The most intensive and expensive aspect of live events is the generation of power. We’re going to need to invest in newer LED technology that is more expensive but uses much less energy, or we’re going to have to come up with ways of using other resources like mirrors to create light in a way that is less energy intensive without hurting the visual experience.

Interviewed for this article: Jennifer Regan, (213) 763-5451

  • by Dave Brooks
  • Published: January 16, 2013