Have you ever been asked in a job interview what your dream job would be? It’s one of my favorite questions. I have dreamt of many perfect jobs, but one in particular stands out: an outdoor concert and music festival coordinator. After all, it combines my two favorite things: the outdoors and live music.
Few things make me happier than sitting under the stars listening to a musician perform a new version of a familiar song. There are also few things that annoy me more than watching the crowd exit a show, leaving their trash scattered throughout the seats and lawn. I wonder how the artists feel when they look out after a show and see a trashed venue. It’s probably most disheartening for those who dedicate so much time, effort, and money on environmental causes. They have a captive audience to share their ideas, but what good is it if the audience isn’t listening? Or worse, what if their own caravan of trucks and piles of waste left after a show are causing more environmental harm than good?
Lucky for us, many artists and organizations have already considered their environmental impacts, and are making great strides in greening up their tours.
May I change my answer to the dream job question please? I want to coordinate earth friendly outdoor concerts and music festivals. Here’s my dream line-up, full of artists that are already doing their part to promote sustainability, both on and off the road.
You can’t have a list of bands doing their part to raise environmental awareness without Guster. Guster’s lead singer, Adam Gardner, along with his wife, Lauren Sullivan, created the non-profit REVERB. REVERB works with musicians to help green their tours and educates their fans with Eco-Villages set up at concerts. REVERB has played a big part in helping green many of the tours we mention below. Read more about REVERB here. You can catch Guster this summer with Barenaked Ladies and Ben Folds Five as part of the 2013 “Last Summer on Earth” Tour.
I can’t say enough good things about this artist. His positive attitude and music can improve any mood. Plus, his commitment to the environment is truly inspirational. In the summer of 2012 he partnered with REVERB to help make his “LOVE is a 4 Letter Word” Tour as green as possible. They promoted refillable water stations for fans, used compostable and organic items for their catered meals, and rode in tour buses powered by bio-diesel fuel. He even planted trees in some of the cities along the tour.
Jack’s commitment to the environment is evident in almost everything he does. He founded the Kokua Hawaii Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to supporting environmental education in schools and communities of Hawaii. On tour, Jack and his crew eliminate the use of single use water bottles by carrying reusable water bottles and offering refillable stations for fans. The group strives for zero waste events by offering recycling and composting. Fans can reduce their carbon footprint by carpooling to shows with help from the Jack Johnson/Zimride online ride sharing tool. His record label, Brushfire, is headquartered in a green building which uses solar power and is insulated by cotton from blue jean scraps.
Willie Nelson has been a long time advocate for the environment, especially alternative energy sources. He even owns his own bio-diesel fuel line called BioWillie. The fuel is made from renewable energy sources such as soybeans and vegetable oil. He is a founding member of Farm Aid, a yearly concert that raises awareness and support for small family farms and encourages fans to buy local. If you’re a foodie or a music lover, Farm Aid is one concert you need to put on your bucket list.
The Dave Matthews Band
The Dave Matthews Band has partnered with REVERB for multiple tours, including their 2013 Summer Tour. As part of their BamaGreen project, this summer’s tour will include a food drive to support local food pantries and give fans the opportunity to purchase a basil seed pack they can plant at home. The proceeds from the seeds will help a local farmer provide produce for an area food pantry. To learn more about the BamaGreen project and how the Dave Matthews Band continues to green their tours, click here.
Maroon 5 is another band who has partnered with REVERB for multiple tours. They’re working with REVERB for their “Honda Civic” Tour this summer. Grab your refillable water bottle, carpool with a few friends, and catch their show when it comes through your town.
Pearl Jam supports many environmental causes including climate change, deforestation, and renewable energy. They offset their carbon footprint on tours and guide other bands to do the same. I’m sure they will be keeping their tour green and helping fans do the same when they hit Chicago this summer – along with finally giving fans entering Wrigley Field something to cheer about. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist, I was born and raised a Cardinal’s fan.)
Linkin Park founded the organization, Music for Relief, which supports disaster relief and the reduction of global warming. They also work with the American Forests Global Releaf Program, an organization working to bring awareness to deforestation.
These are just a few of the bands who deserve credit for their commitment to sustainability, I know there are many more. Please share some of your favorite green artists that I have missed, or discover a new band that cares for the environment as much as you do.
Happy Outdoor Concert Season! I hope you get a chance to get out and enjoy a show.
*Special thanks to Paige from REVERB for the updates on some of the green fun REVERB and their partnering bands have planned for the summer.