by Tom Bosschaert

Nov. 25, 2019

Tom Bosschaert

Young and energetic people worldwide are tired of talking and want to get out and make a difference to help our planet - Regen Festival provides just that. These vibrant events offer interactive spaces and learning experiences through music, culture, and relaxation while assisting visitors in discovering how to nourish the earth, community, and themselves.

Regen Festivals is an autonomous, mobile, and replicable festival program that connects locals and travelers to work together to raise awareness and actively protect the environment. The goal is to drive the active regeneration of natural areas and communities to provide a lasting, sustainable, and genuinely beneficial form of tourism.

Activities to help regenerate nature include tree planting, invasive species removal, and landscaping. Work is done in teams, led by local community members, and supported with exciting music, great food, and entertainment.

After the work is done, a program of art workshops and other creative festival-related activities follows, as participants get a chance to learn even more about the local culture and biosphere. As the festival caravan moves through the country, it leaves a wake of regenerated earth, newly-planted forests, and a more inspired and harmonious community.


Core values of regen festival

The Regen Festival maintains the following values:

  • To ensure natural areas and local communities come first. The festival aims to embrace and positively impact a particular place's environment, society, and cultural habits.
  • To prevent unwanted pressure on natural resources. Specifically regarding water, waste processing facilities, and the harmony of local communities.
  • To create a unique, inspirational, and impactful learning experience for the visitors.
  • To maintain a viable business model for continuing more festivals and as much financial support as possible for related regeneration efforts even once the festival has moved on.

You can endorse the project as part of the One Trillion Trees Challenge here.

The philosophy behind this type of festival

Around the world, music and culture festivals are booming in popularity. They're entertaining, can be produced in a limitless range of formats, and can provide exciting and engaging experiences for young and old alike.

Nowhere Festival in Spain, for example, offers interactive experiences with construction, art, environmental consciousness-raising activities, and a focus on positive social interaction. The originating festival concept is the world-famous Burning Man Festival. Based in Nevada, USA, it has become so popular that it's now capped at 70,000 attendees.

Nowhere Festival draws only around 700 people each year. However, the popularity of similarly-styled events has ensured they've spread rapidly across parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia and continue to make widespread positive change.

The mantra behind these festivals - "leave nothing behind" - resonates with audiences and brings like-minded people together. The events generate positive and constructive atmospheres and excel at facilitating unforgettable learning experiences.

The Regen Festival mantra

The mantra of the Regen Festival is "leave something better behind."

At Except, we have learned and supported the desire in audiences to become part of an event and community to help sustain a better world. Like others, Regen Festivals don't stop at "leaving nothing behind" but actively work to revitalize and protect our environments.

They provide a place to spend holidays in more meaningful ways don't sacrifice fun and excitement. A place that makes hard work part of the excitement while at the same time substantially contributing to the efforts needed to regenerate and protect our most valuable biosphere reserves around the world, source their funding, and get more people knowledgeable and engaged on the subject.


Demographics and outcomes

The exact format, target audience, and impact of each festival greatly depend on the specific location and the type and condition of the local ecosystem. Our model consistently draws a regeneration force of 150-200 people at a time in week-long cycles and operates year-round where climate and conditions permit.

A good starting point to get a sense of the type of people interested in such festivals is the 2017 Black Rock City census report, an analysis of the Burning Man festival. This report shows attendees in 2017 had a median age of 34, 72% had an annual income above US$25,000, and over 77% held a university degree. As far as gender was concerned, they had a 40/58% male-female split, with 1.7% identifying with alternative gender identities.

The timeframe of each festival could run from a few months to a few years -only officially ending when the goals are achieved. After completion, however, there is still a continuation of monitoring and support for sustained community and environmental health.

Measures of success

The planning, preparation, and realization of a Regen Festival is one thing, but it's essential to understand the actual and realized impact. Only once we know the natural, social, and cultural outcomes can we reflect and assess our actions and adjust when planning future events.

Except will carry out impact assessments after each event to ensure:

  • A viable business model for continuing Regen Festivals and financially supporting regeneration efforts after the festival has ended.
  • Local Communities lead the work carried out at a festival and have designated members trained to maintain the grounds and daily schedules.
  • Communities learn effectively and integrate habits that help residents and visitors continue a long-lasting and healthy relationship with the land.
  • The continued support and monitoring of both the community and environmental conditions.

Key milestones

Prephase (2020)

  • Funding for phase 1

Phase 1 (2020 - 6 months)

  • Area Selection and planning
    • Scouting, evaluation, and selection of a suitable area
    • Location visits and community involvement
    • Co-creation sessions for concept generation
    • Development of activity program and impact assessment
    • Developing festival structure, format, and business model
    • Writing specified execution plans for the pilot project
  • Sourcing funding for phase 2

Phase 2 - (2021/2022 - 2 years)

  • Execution of pilot festival
    • Managing follow-up care after festival activities are finished
    • Steering, monitoring, and documentation of impacts
    • Developing final development plans for further festivals
  • Sourcing funding partners for phase 3

Phase 3 - (2023)

  • Festival execution

Nov. 25, 2019

Project team

  • Tom Bosschaert


  • Jane Butler

    Business Developer

  • Rebecca Sampson

    Strategy & Partnerships

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