Get lost in our imaginary “Ocean Fest” line-up as we explore the environmental impact of music festivals

What do music festivals and Love The Oceans have in common? At first glance, the answer may not be obvious. But as any LTO volunteer or avid festival-goer will tell you, there’s one similarity that stands out above the rest: we love bringing people together. In the UK, USA and around the world, music festivals are making a comeback. But following the release of the IPCC’s sobering report last week, it is now clearer than ever just how environmentally devastating human activity can be. 

Image: Tony Pham on Unsplash

Music festivals are a prime example of something where the impacts on our planet extend far beyond the muddy fields and makeshift stages that populate parks and fields across the global North. But how do music festivals have anything to do with the ocean? With live music making a comeback, we’ve imagined our own alternative “Ocean Fest” line-up to show you some of the awesome sounds that the ocean has to offer!

It can be very easy to fall into a place of cognitive overload when everything seems too much. We hope that this post will provide a bit of escapism while also highlighting the true severity of the climate crisis. In the wise words of Jacques Cousteau, we’ve always championed the idea that people protect what they love. And what better thing to love than our awesome imaginary line-up of sea-dwelling superstars? Let’s dive in.

Image: Sophie Lafrance

Imagine: you’ve just arrived. The ocean is warm, the sun is shining, and the sounds of the seaside await. But who is up first, you ask? Make way for some turtle-y awesome tunes.

Turtle-y tunes

The low frequencies of sea turtle communication require a special ear to pick up on them, which is not usually possible for humans. But sea turtles use these low frequencies (which travel further underwater) to communicate with each other, including between mother and hatchlings. It is thought that baby sea turtles may also vocalise to synchronise the hatching process, to reduce individual susceptibility to predation.

Image: Olga Tsai on Unsplash

In their ocean environment, sea turtles spend a lot of time in seagrass and of course, coral reefs. But did you know that the reefs themselves can create some pretty unexpected noises?!

Clicking corals

Likened to the sizzling sounds of a frying pan, coral reefs are full of acoustic surprises! Creating a cacophony of sounds, you never quite know what hidden gems you might find in the underwater orchestra that is a coral reef. Full of diverse soundscapes, these unexpected clicking noises come from an impressive array of reef organisms.

These include snapping shrimp, which use the loud popping of bubbles to stun and capture their prey. And according to scientists, the healthier the reef, the noisier it is! There is even research to suggest that playing the sounds of a healthy reef in degraded habitats can help reef restoration efforts by drawing new fish to the area. How cool is that?!

Image: Li Fei on Unsplash

Anthropogenic amplifiers

Unfortunately, our imaginary ocean festival can’t avoid the tones of human noise. Whirring speed boat propellers, clamouring festival-goers and ongoing fishing activity all contribute to noise pollution, which can disrupt the activities of ocean animals.

Shipping noise is an especially big problem which interferes with the long distance communication between groups of cetaceans… including dolphins!

Dynamic dolphins

Surfing effortlessly through the shallows, dolphins are pro ocean performers – which makes them perfect for “Ocean Fest”! Emitting a series of clicks and pulses as they navigate their surroundings, specialist echolocation capabilities allow dolphins to locate prey, detect underwater obstacles and communicate with other cetaceans.

Image: @francescatrotmanphotography on Instagram

After a spectacular performance from our favourite ocean acrobats, it’s interval time! And that means one thing: food.Supplied from indigenous chefs to reduce air miles, the delicious veggie Mozambican matapa made out of locally sourced cassava leaves and peanuts is definitely at the top of our menu!

On the theme of air miles, all our “Ocean Fest” players are of course local to our Jangamo Hope Spot! This means no unnecessary travel. At real music festivals, transportation of artists and visitors accounts for some hefty emissions, so embracing the local scene is an ideal way to discover awesome new talent at a lower cost to the planet.

At our fictional “Ocean Fest”, we’re also super aware of minimising plastic packaging and encouraging party-goers to bring their own reusable water bottles. Surrounded by salty ocean, staying hydrated is non-negotiable as the party continues!

Headliner humpback!

From one spectacular cetacean display to another, it’s time to welcome the star of the show we’ve all been waiting for! With their awesome songs that ripple through you beneath the waves, what better headliner for “Ocean Fest” than the almighty humpback? Topped off with sensational singing and a splashing surface show, this swimmingly good set can only end with a huge standing ovation.

Image: Danielle Da Silva

Bioluminescent beach

It’s heading towards the end of our ocean festivities, but we’re not done just yet. At real festivals, lighting, power and sound systems require huge amounts of energy, which burns through immense quantities of carbon.

But, courtesy of millions of mesmerising bioluminescent ostracods, the light at this show is entirely natural.

Image: Kevin Wolf on Unsplash

Sleepy soundwaves

After a day of high energy performances, the end of the night is approaching! It’s time to let these soothing soundwaves (thanks Spotify!) wash over you as you reflect on what has been one mega marine party.

But after a day soaking up the sunshine surrounded by an abundance of salty seawater, it’s worth mentioning that water itself is a precious resource that doesn’t come easily, especially in rural areas.

Music festivals (and the livelihoods of those living nearby) relies upon a sustainable supply of clean water, which consumes considerable energy. This highlights the need for water conservation to protect not only the wildlife, but the aquatic medium in which they live.

It goes without saying that live music events are nowhere near the same scale in Mozambique. But as is the case for many areas when it comes to climate injustice, coastal communities in low income countries are consistently those disproportionately affected by the destructive actions of a small but powerful minority. While this post may feel like a far cry from the quiet shores of Jangamo Bay, everything on earth is connected, which is why it’s so important to realise that every action comes at a cost.

Image: Jeff Hester

Whether or not you have direct access to the ocean, find a way to immerse yourself in the sounds of the sea whenever you can. Whether it’s finding a whale song recording to send you to sleep or listening to the waves wash up on a real-life beach, the ocean has an abundance of beautiful sounds that have become all too easy to take for granted.

Oh, and if you fancy a real “Ocean Fest” Mozambique-style? It just so happens that the real News Years Ocean Fest celebration is happening on Tofo Beach in December! Celebrating indigenous music and culture within its beautiful ocean surroundings, we hope that this event will unite us here in Mozambique. Not just as people, but as stewards of the planet too.

Image: Inspired by @musicdeclares on Instagram

How does music make you feel close to the ocean?

Let us know your dream “Ocean Fest” line-up in the comments on our Instagram!

Written by Lily Holbrook

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