A majority of people want to live more sustainably, reports a cross-generational study undertaken by researchers at Southern Cross University. The survey showed that around 93% of people are worried about the environment and 77% are interested in learning how to embrace more sustainable lifestyles. Renewable energy is only the tip of the iceberg. Leading greener lives involves making wise choices in everything from the food we eat to the music we listen to. How is the music industry responding to the rising demand for eco-friendly procedures, services, and products and how far are they in the race to save the planet?
Sustainable Musical Events
Because large-scale musical events run for several days and can potentially involve the creation of a huge carbon footprint, good practices are key when it comes to keeping events green. At the same time, some of the world’s most pressing environmental problems — including plastic in our oceans and seas — can be proactively addressed through measures such as the avoidance of single-use plastic at events. One festival showing the world how it is done is I Land Sound: a four-day annual event from Estonia that brings together dance music DCs, audiovisual artists, educational workshops, and more. The event utilises many environmentally-friendly practises, including the use of renewable energy, and controlled water use. The organisers ensure that waste ends where it should be, instead of in the world’s oceans.
Musicians are increasingly dependent on tours to promote their work and make a living, thus the emergence of the ‘slow touring’ concept. The latter involves spending longer at each stop on a tour, using that time to listen to and give back to local communities. It also involves choosing transport means that are less environmentally damaging, requesting greener green rooms, and ensuring all parts of the touring supply chain are as sustainable as possible. Artists who are touring can also opt to use biofuels in their buses (as Dave Matthews does) or use electric vehicles for shorter distances.
Joining Eco-Friendly Causes
Many artists have partnered up with environmental groups to promote greater awareness of the importance of sustainability. Radiohead, a band that also travels on biofuel and encourages fans to take public transport to their shows, supports Friends of the Earth. Adele has endorsed water crisis charity Drop4Drop on many occasions (her former partner, Simon Konecki, is the CEO of this charity). Musicians do have a unique ability to spark their fans’ interest in a variety of causes, and sustainability is arguably one of the most pressing in this day and age.
Donations to Local Communities
Travelling music festival, Lollapalooza, is the brainchild of former Jane’s Addiction frontman, Perry Farrell. Founded in 1991, Lollapalooza holds an annual event in Grant Park, Chicago, donating part of its proceeds to help the park fulfill its projects. The organisation also works alongside Event Water Solutions to provide free, cool, filtered water to fans, who are encouraged to bring their own reusable bottles. The event additionally offers fans a wide range of plant-based, locally sourced, organic food options and alternatives to plastic for beverages purchased onsite.
The music industry has always been known for its big heart and for many decades now, many artists have done their share to promote green practises. From encouraging fans to take public transport to helping promote community projects, the industry is showing that profitability and sustainability are not mutually exclusive concepts. Meanwhile, touring may be a necessary evil for most bands but there are better ways to do it, including using biofuels and electrically charged vehicles.