A music festival that’s low impact to the environment?  Live on the Green is Nashville’s most sustainable music festival.

Traditionally, music festivals leave in their wake days worth of cleanup for event organizers, weighing heavily on the total event budget.  Plastic cups, spoons and forks, styrofoam plates, paper products, glow sticks and broken sunglasses litter the ground after most festivals.  Not to mention large items left behind such as tents and coolers pose an even greater risk to local wildlife and water supplies.

Not Live on the Green.  Running six years strong, this is Nashville’s most environmentally friendly concert series. This free outdoor event features local and well-known artists and is held every August and September at Nashville’s Public Square Park.


Nashville’s Public Square Park is located next to the metro courthouse.

Live on the Green is a leader in sustainable events. What sets them apart is their attention to every detail and the resulting minimal impact on the environment. A great deal of planning and careful consideration goes into the organization of this event, and it shows. This article will highlight Live on the Green’s sustainability initiatives, discuss the importance of sustainability, and look at how we can make changes in our own lives.

Sustainable initiatives

Hosting a popular event can have a big impact on the environment. Having partnerships with sponsors who are also dedicated to environmental sustainability are an important factor in the event’s success. In efforts to maximize their sustainability, there are eco-friendly requirements for vendors and sponsors during the festival. Community partners and sponsors include Green Village Recycling, Walk/Bike Nashville, Piedmont Natural Gas, Tennessee Valley Authority, Lightning 100 Team Green, Energy Right Solutions, the Metropolitan Government of Nashville, and several others. According to the Live on the Green website, they’ve used several sustainable initiatives to become “waste-free and carbon-neutral.” Their initiatives follow the classic Three R’s:


  • Reduce energy usage with energy efficient lighting and sound equipment.
  • Reduce pollution by featuring local artists and vendors. This limits the environmental impact of traveling, such as vehicle emissions and using more gas.
  • Lower the number of cars on the road by taking transit, walking, or using the festival’s free bike check.


  • Reuse event signage and materials year-to-year. Signs are also made using recycled materials to eliminate waste.
  • Bring reusable water bottles. Metro Water offers free tap water on site.


  • Provide ample recycling areas at the festival.
  • Use recyclable containers to serve food and drinks.
  • A thorough clean up after the event. The festival asks that those attending pick up at least one item on their way out. In 2014 over 100,000 people attended Live on the Green, which means if everyone helps out at least 100,000 items aren’t left behind!1

In addition to following the Three R’s, Live on the Green has gone one step further by using a green roof as the location for the event. The Public Square Park is a five level underground parking garage that features public rooftop park. The 2.25 acre green roof collects rainwater which is recycled to water plants in the park. In addition, when this structure was redesigned, all of the original stone was used during the construction of the new space. No wonder this is an award-winning space!

Importance of Sustainability


Music and sustainability should go hand in hand.

When hosting a large event, environmentally sustainable initiatives are very important. Not only does it prevent environmental harm, but it also ensures that more of these fun and successful festivals can be held in the future. Live on the Green has set an excellent example for both other cities and for changes in our daily lives. On a larger scale, companies and organizations may create more green spaces like Public Square Park to offset global warming. At home, we can plant more greenery in our backyards or have potted plants on the balcony. Looking for ways to be eco-friendly is easier than you think. We can bring reusable water bottles everywhere we go. It’s important to stay hydrated during the day, which keeps us healthy. By refilling water bottles we reduce the amount of plastic in landfills and recycling plants, and save money by not purchasing drinks when we’re thirsty. Other strategies include daily recycling and reusing containers, as well as using environmentally friendly transportation. You might even save money and time by walking, biking, or carpooling.

As a leader in sustainable events, the Live on the Green Festival can teach us a lot. Follow the Three R’s and start making changes using their initiatives as a guide. Even small changes add up and make a big difference over time. Making environmentally friendly changes is important now and for our future. Although other festivals have started to consider the environmental impact of holding large scale events, there is still a lot to be learned from Live on the Green.

Click here to read more about some of the other efforts being made around the world to create environmentally friendly music festivals.

Come see Live on the Green for yourself. Witness the difference they’ve made and think about how we can incorporate these ideas into our lives, while enjoying the talents of Music City. The old saying, “take only pictures and leave only foot prints” is a concept that we seriously need to consider, and Live on the Green offers the perfect example.

For more information on Live on the Green and their environmental sustainability initiatives, visit the Live on the Green website. Don’t forget to check out their Facebook page for festival photos and videos.

1  “Boyer, E. J., (2015, June 25). Live on the green continues to expand for 2015 season. Nashville Business Journal. Retrieved from http://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/blog/2015/06/live-on-the-green-continues-to-expand-for-2015.html