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,Festival on the Hills

Powering the Magic: Unveiling the Energetic Backbone of Festivals

Hi, it’s Alex here. Technical & Operations director for Progen Power. As it is currently nearing the end of August, with the entire team working incredibly hard during our busiest few months, I thought it would be a good idea to take some time out to write a blog................ 

Being summer (or what we believe to be summer in the UK) the majority of projects we have been involved with have been music festivals. With that in mind, let's talk about how festivals get their power.

Festivals, those vibrant celebrations of culture, music, and community, come to life through a carefully orchestrated blend of creativity and technology. Behind the scenes, a critical element fuels these captivating spectacles - electricity. In this article, we delve into the fascinating world of festival power, exploring how it is sourced, harnessed, and channelled to create the unforgettable experiences we all cherish.

 

From the very beginning, it was imperative that the Progen Power brand was built around its unique values. We are obsessed with this industry and our team members love what they do, and do it with a passion that sets us apart. - Andy Fairbanks Progen Power CEO

 

How do festivals get electricity?

The pulsating heart of any festival lies in its ability to harness the necessary electricity to power technical stage equipment, safety lighting, traders and countless other essential components. There are several methods employed to ensure a seamless and uninterrupted power supply: 

  • Generators: Festivals often rely on Diesel or HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) fuelled Generators to produce electricity on-site. These robust machines provide a portable and dependable power source, allowing organisers to cater to their specific energy needs.
  • Grid Connections: In cases where festivals are located near existing power infrastructure, they can tap into the local electrical grid. This option offers convenience but grid power is not always totally stable, meaning these types of connections are not generally used for critical power without a generator or battery backup.
  • Renewable Sources: An increasing number of festivals are embracing sustainability By incorporating renewable energy sources such as batteries, solar panels and wind turbines. These eco-friendly alternatives can help reduce the amount of fuel used throughout an event.
  • Future Power Generation: Technology is advancing at a rapid rate and we’re starting to see alternative power generation equipment enter the market. Hydrogen generators and Hydrogen Fuel Cells may one day take the place of Diesel generators. The Hydrogen generator has a similar engine to a diesel generator but uses Hydrogen gas as its fuel instead of diesel or HVO. Although they produce no carbon-based pollutants, they are not considered totally emission-free. Furthermore, Hydrogen gas is extremely dangerous to store and handle, meaning they’re unlikely to take over from the humble diesel generator on event sites anytime soon. Hydrogen fuel cells on the other hand are totally emission-free, but the purchase cost and physical footprint of these units make them totally unviable for event sites at the moment.

 

How does Glastonbury Festival get its power?

One standout example of a festival taking innovative strides in powering its massive gathering is Glastonbury Festival.

Nestled on a sprawling site, Glastonbury employs a multifaceted approach to satisfy its energy demands:

The festival is highly dependable on a large number of generators running on HVO fuel to provide on-site power, the festival has also seen an increasing number of battery storage units installed throughout the site, these units deliver a consistent energy supply and automatically command the generators to switch on and recharge them when the battery supply is depleted. This means the generator will only run when the battery needs to be recharged, therefore reducing overall fuel consumption.

Furthermore, over the years, Glastonbury has adapted the site with ducting and channels to effectively distribute electricity across its expansive grounds via cable and distribution boards avoiding the need to install more generators.


 

How do they power concerts?

Concerts, whether staged in a stadium or local park are high-octane showcases that demand substantial power. Elaborate lighting setups, massive sound systems, and stage effects require meticulous planning to deliver unforgettable performances:

By far, the most reliable way to power a concert or stadium tour is through the use of temporary generators. For critical power applications like Stages and Broadcast, the power supplier will generally install multiple generators linked together providing power in unison. The benefit of this is to ensure an uninterruptable power supply in the event that one of the generators develops a fault and needs to be shut down.



 

How much energy does a festival use?

The energy consumption of festivals varies widely based on factors such as attendance, duration, and the scope of performances. Larger festivals with multiple stages, campsites and elaborate setups naturally require more power. Studies show that a medium-sized festival can use energy comparable to that of a small town for the duration of its event.

The magic of festivals is not only in the artistic expression but also in the technology that drives them. From humble generators to innovative renewable solutions, festivals are adapting to ensure a sustainable and electrifying future. As we dance and celebrate in the glow of dazzling lights and resonating music, let's not forget the intricate dance of energy that powers it all.

If you require a temporary power solution for an event, contact the team at Progen Power today!