Photo: Mikal Schlosser

Roskilde Festival sustainability lab for students

Electricity supply Energy efficiency Wind energy Innovation and product development Entrepreneurship Waste management Building design
For the tenth time, a group of DTU students used Roskilde Festival as an outdoor laboratory for testing new technologies that can make the festival more sustainable and fun.

Roskilde Festival has always been one of the world’s most visionary festivals, not least when it comes to sustainability. The festival works hard to reduce the impact on climate and environment from operations and the 130,000 guests.

Since 2010, DTU students have participated in this work by, e.g., developing new solutions for waste management and making the electricity consumption more sustainable. The student projects also include new technologies that are aimed directly at the experience of the festival-goers, because the students base their projects on what they think Roskilde Festival should be.

“The collaboration with DTU is a really good example of what Roskilde Festival is really all about: making a sustainable difference in the world,” says spokesperson for the festival Christina Bilde.

“Not only do the DTU students understand how a festival like ours can be the starting point for tackling the challenges in our world, they also have a good understanding of the technologies that can contribute to this work, both at Roskilde Festival and in the outside world. And each year, they bring inspiring new projects to the festival site. Projects that continue to evolve and grow afterwards—here at the festival and beyond. The collaboration is also an excellent example of how sustainability is also about to paving the way for new generations and creating the space for talented people to grow. This is deeply rooted in our DNA, and we’re super proud to be part of it.”

Roskilde Festival and DTU entered into a partnership after several DTU students in the years up to 2010 had improved their own campsites and had small collaboration projects, e.g. the development of phone charging via bicycles. When this year’s festival is over, more than 700 students in more than 150 projects have participated at the festival and contributed with a wide range of solutions along the way.

This year, festival-goers can meet students who are reducing the use of diesel generators and others who are testing new ways of reducing food waste and increasing waste sorting. There is a proposal for a portable wind turbine, a simple solution for creating a stronger sense of community in refugee camps, and a study to find out how much carbon the festival emits.

“The collaboration with Roskilde Festival gives our students a unique opportunity to test engineering theory in practice. They gain invaluable knowledge in meeting both the high demands of the festival environment and a festival with a serious sustainability agenda. And in a time where everyone is talking about the UN Sustainable Development Goals, it’s great to be able to look back on a collaboration that was moving things in the direction long before the goals were written,” says Lars D. Christoffersen, Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Student Affairs at DTU.

Facts about the Roskilde Festival/DTU collaboration

  • DTU and Roskilde Festival entered into a partnership in the spring of 2010.

  • The purpose of the partnership is for DTU students to do who voluntary, unpaid work on various projects that tackle a technical issue at Roskilde Festival.

  • In cooperation with a DTU supervisor, the students design a project related to one of the many technical challenges found at the Festival. They then use the festival week to both conduct theirs studies and present the project to festival-goers and other interested parties.

  • The project is worth five ECTS credits if the student follows up with a detailed technical report, which is marked by an the supervisor.

  • This means that for approximately 100 DTU students, Roskilde Festival will not just be about music and entertainment, but also about challenging their academic skills and trying out new ideas in practice.

  • Among other things, the collaboration has given the DTU students behind the start-ups Volt, DropBucket, Cutlab, PeeFence, and Allumen a platform for testing their technology before they started their enterprises.