NorthSide wishes to be the most green and sustainable cultural event. That has been the intention since the first festival in 2010, and now, we are closer than ever.

As an organizer of an event with 35.000 festival guests, we have a responsibility towards the beautiful green area, which we briefly inhabit each year. But we also have a responsibility during the rest of the year. Therefore, we try to create awareness and set a good example that can push not only our festival guests but also our entire industry in a positive direction as we wish to put forward a sustainable agenda in our society.

Lead The Way is our mantra and it permeates everything we do. It governs decisions about procurement, investment, collaborators, interior design, resource management, charity and the supply of organic food and beverages throughout the festival.

NorthSide is a cozy, hassle-free and challenging breathing space created by people, originality and sustainability – and here you can read more about how we create NorthSide in the most sustainable framework possible.


In 2015, the annual sustainability report was presented for the first time. The goal was to make the ambitions, initiatives and results visible to the audience at NorthSide as well as other stakeholders. We attempt to push forward a social agenda concerning sustainability. Through this it was important for us to focus on walking the talk – and it requires that the whole organization is active and responsible in this area. Furthermore we have to make sure, which possibilities we have, in order to optimize within each area. Our ambition is to push the boundaries on how today’s festival is managed. Everyone has to take responsibility, if society and the world is to exist in the future – that’s why we try to take the lead and send a signal on how it can be done.


In 2012, we collaborated with the sustainability agency WorldPerfect regarding sorting of waste and communication of our green values. We had so-called “Trash Talkers” help the audience sort waste in five ambitious sections. As it turned out the audience sorted the waste, as long as it was convenient.

Since then, a lot has happened, and we now have six sorting sections at the festival site, and behind the stalls and production areas we have thirteen sections. Through this initiative we succeeded in sorting and recycling 78% of all waste in 2017. The results for 2018 are not yet in, but the long-term goal is to become a 100% waste free festival.


The food and beverages demands are high on supply at NorthSide. We demand our suppliers provide organic products and prefer local products instead of products transported a long distance. 2017 was the first time the food at NorthSide was 100% organic, and the quantity of organic draft beer has increased since the launch of Tuborg Rå at NorthSide 2014. In 2017 a whopping 94% of the draft beer was organic and 100% of the wine and champagne was organic!

The overall goal is to track the in-house purchases in a way that makes it possible to establish suppliers deals, which can accommodate our sustainability ambitions. In this way we seek to avoid food waste, prioritizing organic or local food, choose products with Svanemærket or Miljøblomsten and find sustainable packaging alternatives. When we choose products, we focus on the production-, application- and renovation phases as a whole.

Furthermore there has been established a close collaboration with Fødevarebanken regarding redistribution of surplus food to the socially disadvantaged in Aarhus.


There is no parking for cars at NorthSide, so you’ll have to walk, bike or use public transportation to get to the festival. If you wish to walk or bike, you can take Brabrandstien all the way to the festival site.

We also wanted to make sure that the festival guests, who bike to NorthSide, have a place to park their bikes. Back in 2012, we established the BikeSide area in collaboration with Aarhus Cykelby, where you can park your bike, get help repairing an otherwise discarded bike or get a free bike-check. In 2017, BikeSide had approximately 10.000 bikes.


We use a lot of wood to build NorthSide, both in stalls and bars, and as part of fixtures and decorations at the festival site. That is why we in 2013 launched a fundraiser for Verdens Skove, where we raised money to restore the rainforest in an area corresponding to the festival site. The results were that we – with help from the festival guests and collaborators – raised 68.000 kr. To benefit the rainforest project in Nicaragua by Verdens Skove. The donation made it possible to preserve 31,6 hectares in the rainforest – which corresponds to almost 31-soccer field and much more than NorthSide’s area.

For the last two years we have collaborated with FSC Danmark focusing on sustainable packaging. It’s required that all paper and cardboard materials must be FSC certified and, in addition, all food packaging must be sorted and decomposed with our ‘Food & Paper’ fraction.

All posters and flyers are printed on stone paper, which is an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic-coated paper. It’s extremely durable and therefore obvious to use as outdoor posters. In the production of stone paper, half the amount of energy is used compared to plain paper, and furthermore, not a single drop of water is used.

At this year’s festival in Ådalen, we once again collaborated with EcoStepz, which specializes in recycling logistics. During #NS18, they were responsible for the cleaning of pitchers in an environmentally friendly manner. By having to pay a deposit on the jugs, the festival guests were a part of this initiative and we were able to make a more environmentally friendly festival.

A Greener Festival Award

The non-profit organization A Greener Festival has since 2006 worked to focus on festivals’ work with sustainability and environmental policies and through their work they have helped minimize food waste as well as elevate sorting of waste at a wide range of festivals around the world. Representatives from the A Greener Festival visited NorthSide in 2014 and 2016 to conduct evaluations for our work with sustainability – which led NorthSide as the first Danish festival ever to receiving an A Greener Festival Award in autumn 2014 and again in 2016. The assessment emphasized NorthSide’s promotion of communal transportation, the ambitious waste sorting and providing good conditions for cyclists and pedestrians via the Camino and BikeSide.

NorthSide won the main prize during this year’s DEMA for our work with sustainability.