Written by Sophie Wyatt
The climate crisis is worsening. Its effects are starting to increase in countries around the world. Flash floods, forest fires and hurricanes are just some of the weather abnormalities devastating communities. So it is now up to countries, communities and individuals to pull together in the fight against climate change. Including the music industry.
After a stream of lockdowns, musicians and fans alike were more excited than ever to return to the stage. But while live shows provide artists and teams with work, and fans with general happiness, they also take their toll on the environment. Recent research suggests live music produces 405,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK every year. It is important that this impact is minimised while disturbing as little as possible in terms of shows.
Recent initiatives have encouraged to incorporate sustainable habits into their shows. Coldplay announced that their future shows will be as eco-friendly as possible. They will achieve this by reducing emissions through powering shows by getting fans to cycle during sets and utilising heat from dance floors. Ellie Goulding and Massive Attack are among other artists speaking out on climate change and shifting their shows towards sustainability.
Major festivals are also questioning how they can tackle the high emissions in the music industry. And one of the factors that has the biggest impact on a festivals carbon footprint, is waste. Festivals across the world have been trying to encourage festival goers to consider their impact on the Earth and choose to recycle. American music festival Coachella generates around 100 tonnes of solid waste every day. UK festivals are estimated to produce around 23,500 tonnes of waste each year. World renowned star Billie Eilish is tackling unnecessary waste at her shows by eliminating single use plastic. Set to be Glastonbury’s youngest solo headliner next summer, Eilish will stop an estimated 35,000 single-use water bottles from being wasted. This idea has also been endorsed by many festivals. Many of them deciding to incorporate recyclable or bio-degradable drink and food receptors.
Shambala festival has removed meat and fish from its catering. It will also be powering the event with 100% renewable energy. Scientists are also encouraging festivals and venues to implement more sustainability movements. Using more efficient lighting and sound equipment, offering incentives for greener travel to shows and creating better bike storage will make a huge difference to carbon footprints.
During lockdowns, streaming became not a want, but a need. And many may initially think this could be the answer to making the music industry sustainable. But Spotify recently announced that greenhouse gases produced by listeners accounted for 42% of the platforms total carbon emissions in 2020.
There is a need to reduce energy, transport emission and food impact at music festivals and shows. And while much has already been implemented, it is important both artists and fans alike consider their environmental impacts when attending music events.