Text collab: Monika Lipanovich & Karen Lundquist
Photo: Karen Lundquist
Waste is one of the major concerns that affects all music festivals, and it is particularly important to address this issue, especially during the summer season when numerous events take place. Nowadays, both organisers and attendees are taking decisive action to tackle this problem. One festival that stands out in terms of its sustainability efforts is Department. They have placed considerable emphasis on this aspect, as highlighted on their official website. They proudly state that their main stage, entrance, signs, sawdust on the dance areas, and cover material on their fences are all reused multiple times, resulting in significantly reduced waste. They consider it an ongoing challenge and continuously explore new ways to reuse materials in a practical manner.
What is particularly impressive are the numbers they present. According to their calculations, each visitor to the Department festival is responsible for 7.6 kg of the total carbon emissions. This figure takes into account all the work involved in organising the festival, including year-long planning and office work, marketing, decorations, electricity consumption during the event, the food (which is entirely vegan), and the drinks sold. It also considers the travel emissions of artists, staff, and the audience.
In terms of biodiversity, the festival’s location was chosen carefully. By setting up the event beneath a busy bridge that connects Kungsholmen and Söder, they utilise “dead zones” for their dance floors. Moreover, they utilise sawdust sourced from a local farmer to create a safer and more walkable surface.
The global environmental crisis has long been a topic of discussion, but it is encouraging to see that there is action, and not just words. It is heartening that we can now enjoy music, spend time with friends, and make the most of the weather while also prioritising the well-being of our planet.
News and highlights of Department 2023
This year’s biggest novelty was the ‘North’ stage, located facing stunning views of lake Mälaren and Kungsholmen. A smaller stage, seconding the ‘South’ main stage. There we could enjoy shorter sets varying between drum and bass, disco and acid techno. It made for a more faceted festival as one could walk to and from both stages and have a taste of different sceneries and sounds.
There were also more lounging areas, benches and tables available to chill out and rest our dancing feet, and they were well spread out.
The music offered a bit of something for every ear and taste. The most loved acts were Moodymann and Jeremy Olander.
Moodymann spoiled Department goers with an explosive and irresistible set. It was absolutely impossible to stay still and not to dance to it. It contained everything from afro rhythms blended with house and sprinkled with dance and disco. Moodymann used his privileged time behind the decks to inspire the Swedish audience to not forget to be free and happy, to not stop celebrating life and sharing love to themselves and to others, to shine and to be an awake soul that can think for themselves. A true moment of bliss on so many levels.
Jeremy Olander offered an extended set that included hits and classics. One of the highest points of his set was when he played his remixed and previously unheard version of Epple by Röyksopp, who headlined Department 2022. The song that was originaly released in 2001 got a very modernised and more upbeat twist in this wink at Röyksopp by Jeremy Olander.
And Department is not just about the ear candy, as there are also plenty of interesting things to see. Every year they invite different artists to collaborate, creating pieces that will blend with the nature and structures under the bridge. This year we saw colour creatures slinging to the columns of the bridge, there was also a microphone disguised as a confessionary and connected to a speaker disguised as a smoke machine, both located at two different extremes of the festival grounds, where everyone could hear out loud what someone was confessing. Have a look:
Department has proven to keep on delivering year after year and it is such a joyful festival, always with a laid back, friendly and happy crowd. We can even say that Department goers are a great part of the reason why this festival is always an amazing experience. Here are some photos that show the great spirit of Department’s crowd.