There is much talk about biodiesel buses and the sustainability of tours, but these factors which are in the band’s control are just part of the picture. The largest carbon footprnt impact is from the fans commuting to the live events along a tour.
Larger tours are trying to address this concern with ideas such as the Coachella AMTRACK Express train used in Las Angeles to use of PickupPal carpooling by masses of fans.
PickupPal is working with the low-carbon-footprint-minded tour company Portland-based Reverb to extend their services to tour-going fans across the U.S including The Dave Matthews Band who is using them for their full 40-city tour. Barenaked Ladies and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are some of the other acts that have used Reverb’s services, which include reducing waste, getting biodiesel for tour buses and purchasing carbon offsets.
PickupPal is a new very web 2.0 online service that links eco-minded drivers with people who need a lift with the aim of minimizing everyone’s carbon footprint. On their website they have a CO2 emissions calculator which reads nearly 375,000 lbs of CO2 avoided.
Here’s a somewhat-cheesy clip showing how this service works:
With the 2008 Summer Music Festival season upon us Grist.org once again reviews the topic. They start off referring to the unique approach taken by Coachella this year who organized an Amtrack train to bring LA residents out to the Indio, CA grounds. Over 300 fans chose this “public transportation” route for their journey to the show and their train tickets were free.
Later this summer the Rothbury Festival during the July 4th holiday aims to be a concert with a purpose. Rothbury features top music talent including Dave Mathews Band, John Mayer, Thievery Corporation, The Dresden Dolls, Crystal Method, Beth Orton and many, many more. In their own words, they provide the guidelines they have followed in organizing their event. Many of these items should be considerations for any live event or tour planning:
ROTHBURY is dedicated to throwing a HUGE party… with a purpose. This July 4th weekend, ROTHBURY emerges as a new American celebration where music and cause join together to stir ideas, to awaken possibilities, and to empower through knowledge. And yeah, to have the time of our lives. [Read more →]
An article we discovered on National Geographic’s Green Guide speaks to the awakening of the Music Industry in exploring greener tour options, greener labels and eco-friendly fans.
Sarah Lipman writes about how some of today’s top acts are doing their part including “an increasing number of artists like John Mayer, The Fray, Bon Jovi and Incubus, are working with environmental organizations such as Reverb, Heal the Bay and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to take new initiatives to revamp and “green” their concerts both on and offstage.”
As touring is an area where there is much room for improvement it is important to know tsome of the not-so-green facts about this critical part of our industry. Sarah continues, “the music industry contributes 150,000 tons of carbon emissions annually through tour buses alone… a single stadium show can contribute 500 to 1,000 tons of CO2 emissions… a typical mid-size venue can go through 470,000 plastic cups, 200,000 napkins and 600 light bulbs each year.”
When examining what record labels can do, the focus shifts to CD packaging. “Major labels have invested in greener efforts of their own, including reducing waste, purchasing carbon offsets and, most significantly, replacing CD packaging with more eco-sound materials.” Alternatively, everyone of us can make the effort to push this industry further along in the adoption of a full digital promotion and sales model so we don’t need to bother with plastic CDs and their packaging. See the Resources page for ideas.
So what’s the “Eco-Friendly Fan” to do? The Green Guide suggests that fans push venues to provide recycling facilities, carpool or take public transport to gigs, and buy organic cotton or hemp T-shirts.