The Clearwater Award

Presented to a festival that prioritizes environmental stewardship and demonstrates public leadership in sustainable event production.

FAI members can nominate a candidate here.

2019 Award Winner


 The Hillside Festival is a three-day, multi-stage event with a broad artistic vision that takes place at an accessible conservation area at Guelph Lake, Ontario.

The festival’s mission is to celebrate creativity through artistic expression, community engagement, and environmental leadership.

In the ’80s, Hillside made a commitment to continue greening initiatives on-site at the festival each year, designed to keep the earth clean and green and to include as many people as possible.

These initiatives include using hand pushed carts instead of golf carts on site, bike brigades to the festival, shuttle buses paid for by onsite parking charges, free potable water, solar-powered phone charging stations, pedal-powered stages, compost and recycling stations, reusable cups and cutlery with dishwashing facilities, and a living “green roof” on the Mainstage that doubles as a garden.

Hillside has won many awards for these initiatives, including Best Green Operations from Canadian Music Week, the Best Greening award from Festivals and Events Ontario, and the Grand River Conservation Authority’s highest distinction – the Honour Roll award.

To learn more about Hillside’s “Green Initiatives”, click here.

2018 Award Winner



The Winnipeg Folk Festival, founded in 1974, is a four-day festival in Manitoba, Canada. The organization operates with a “leave no trace” principle, and prioritizes environmental sustainability at the festival site, in the office, and at year-round events. Consciously embracing environmentally responsible business practices and minimizing environmental impact, the festival was the first event in Canada to receive certification from The Eco-Logo Program. Additionally, the organization has received Fair Trade certification for purchasing standards and were awarded a Greener Festival Award for sustainability. Specific on-site efforts include banning bottled water and requiring all food vendors to use compostable products for disposable cutlery, napkins, and cups. The festival also promotes active transportation through Bike Ride to Site, a program that has reduced carbon emissions by up to 8.69 kg per rider.


2017 Award Winner


The inaugural award is presented to its namesake organization, the Clearwater Festival. Held along the banks of the Hudson River at Croton Point Park in Croton-on-Hudson, NY, the festival’s roots are based in the environmental movement and the event strives towards zero festival waste, most recently diverting 12 tons of recycling and compost from landfill, totaling 80% of their waste stream. In honor of their steadfast leadership in setting an example for the music industry on powerful environmental stewardship, we are pleased to present Clearwater Festival with this eponymous award.