Take the Green Train

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The Sage Gateshead

“To have a partner which is as committed to sustainable transport and cycling as we are at Sage Gateshead is really fantastic and this year’s raffle was an exciting bonus for festival goers too giving them an opportunity to win a great bike.” Abigail Pogson, General Director Sage Gateshead.
2016 saw the 12th Gateshead International Jazz Festival with Gateshead-based Team Cycles bicycle shop announced as the headline sponsor. This and many other strategic collaborations and initiatives characterise how sustainability is placed at the core of what Sage Gateshead do.

Engaging People and Artists
For the Gateshead International Jazz Festival, Sage installed a listening post in the concourse. Powered by a solar panel, the device gave people passing by the chance to sample tracks from artists participating in the festival. In this way, advertising for the festival programme was coupled with engaging the public in the venue’s green efforts. The listening post was designed and built by one of the venue’s engineers.
For their large festivals, Gateshead International Jazz Festival and SummerTyne Americana Festival, Sage sets out plans for reducing the impact of the events and shares expectations with touring parties during the contracting phase. This is reinforced during the run up to the festivals via communication with touring groups, the use of green riders and signage backstage. They are now working to introduce this approach across all programming. Engaging touring bands and productions is not without it’s difficulties, but it’s a challenge that Sage is positively working to overcome.
GIJF Goes Green 
Green Rider sent to touring parties for Gateshead International Jazz Festival, 2015
The carbon footprint of UK artists touring is at least 85,000 tonnes of carbon per year; the impact of live performances spaces in the UK is at least 125,000 tonnes per year. Here at Sage Gateshead we would like you to join us in working to make Gateshead International Jazz Festival as environmentally sustainable as possible.
Alongside hosting ‘Take the Green Train’, a seminar on sustainability in music on Friday 10th April, we will be trying to reduce waste and environmental impact in practical on-the-ground ways. Here are a few of the ways you can help us:
Be flexible with specific rider items – locally sourced / low packaging alternatives may be provided where appropriate
Be conservative when requesting rider items in order to reduce the amount of food / drink waste
Be happy to use your refillable GIJF water bottle in order to reduce the amount of plastic bottle waste
Be proactive in using recycling bins for bottles / cans / paper / plastics
Be environmentally conscious when choosing how to travel to the venue
Be excited about the initiative and use #GIJF to spread the word on social media
Thank you for your cooperation, it means a lot to us. If you have any questions or suggestions please email us.
See you in April!
Sage Gateshead
Collaborative Working
Sage Gateshead is a member of Newcastle Gateshead Cultural Venues (NGCV), a collaboration between ten building-based cultural producers in the area, operating twenty-two venues between them. NGCV allows Sage to work with local organisations to share best practice on environmental sustainability.
Sage are also a member of the European Jazz Network (EJN) and co-hosted their 2015 ‘Take the Green Train event’ with Julie’s Bicycle, which launched a project exploring the opportunities for green touring and environmental sustainability for EJN members across Europe. 
Next Steps
The Sage’s vision for a sustainable sector is one in which everyone is working towards a common goal, with strong motivation to build a sustainable future.
“Our top tip for other organisations wanting to take action is to start a ‘Green Team’, however large or small you are. It’s a great way to give all staff an opportunity to get involved and to come up with ideas to improve the organisation’s sustainability, but it’s also important to have strong support from senior management to help staff realise their ideas.”
Paul Elam, Event Coordinator, Sage Gateshead