Music, a universal language that transcends borders and connects people from all walks of life, has the power to inspire change. However, the music industry, with its bustling concerts, festivals, and touring schedules, can take a toll on our environment. But fear not! Artists, clubs, and festivals are increasingly recognizing their role in promoting sustainability within the industry. As Bono (U2), a passionate advocate for environmental sustainability, once said:
“Climate change is not just about carbon dioxide levels and melting polar ice caps. It is about our public health and protecting our Earth for future generations. It is our duty as custodians of this planet to take action.”
Thanks to existing research and studies, we condensed the huge knowledge to a more practical guide. Additionally, we are excited to announce that in the coming months, we will be producing a series of articles and interviews, each focusing on the specific topics mentioned below, to provide in-depth insights and actionable strategies.
Simple steps to save the planet for Festivals and Clubs
Now it is about you: Think about what you could do or improve. With a multitude of options, information, and noise in the sustainability landscape, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed; hence, we begin by keeping it simple and focusing on the mentioned key points:
1. Audience Travel:
To reduce the carbon footprint associated with audience travel, venues and festivals can encourage eco-friendly transportation options. To mention it on all your event communication is a great start but this also may involve partnering with public transport providers or rideshare services to promote carpooling and the use of public transportation. Additionally, providing bike racks can further promote alternative transportation methods like biking.
Sustainable catering practices can significantly reduce an event’s environmental impact. Venues and festivals can embrace local and sustainable food options, such as locally sourced and organic offerings at concessions. A big step is promoting vegetarian and vegan food options and offering that to staff and performers too. In case you have concessioned external catering companies, only work with them if they follow these rules. Moreover, promoting the use of reusable cutlery, plates, and cups or opting for compostable alternatives can further minimize waste.
Transitioning to renewable energy sources is a pivotal step venues and festivals can take to reduce their carbon emissions. This may involve investing in solar, wind, or other renewable energy sources to power the event. most of the time, it doesn’t have to be a big investment. Simply google your most local energy provider that operates on 100% renewable energies and switch your contract at the next possible date. Additionally, using energy-efficient lighting and sound systems can contribute to overall energy conservation. Often an upgrade of your tech stack pays off itself due to lower electricity bills.
To minimize waste, venues and festivals can implement recycling and composting programs. Providing clearly labeled bins throughout the event area makes it easy for attendees to participate. Reducing the use of single-use plastics is also crucial. Offering water refill stations and reusable merchandise can help achieve this goal. Even toilets for festivals became more sustainable. As a start, we believe that a recycling waste system is most effective here.
5. Production and Other:
Sustainability should extend to event production as well. Upgrading your tech stack in the venue to new sound and light systems and/or fridges, fans and air cons that use less energy make a huge difference and pay-off in the long-run on lower electricity bills. If you are building stages and props, you can opt for eco-friendly construction materials and decor, such as bamboo or recycled materials.
Additionally, calculating the carbon footprint of the event and investing in carbon offset projects can help neutralize its environmental impact. Ideally, you find a local project that you want to support but there are plenty of trustworthy organizations that you can work with online, too.
What can Artists do to save the planet?
Don’t underestimate the power and influence of music, musicians, bands, DJs – your power! Artists can make a significant contribution to planetary conservation by implementing several key actions outlined here:
1. Travel to the Gig:
Artists can contribute to sustainability by reducing their travel-related carbon emissions. Solo musicians and DJs can use trains for shorter distances. To plan the routing that way can even support this type of travel. Carpooling with bandmates and crew whenever possible is a practical way to cut down on the number of vehicles on the road. You can reach out to other artists for that reason using the gigmit artist database. To further offset travel emissions, artists can invest in carbon offset programs that balance out the environmental impact of touring.
2. Play at Green Clubs:
Utilizing gig filters on platforms like gigmit, which help artists find green clubs and venues prioritizing sustainability, can make a significant difference. Supporting and performing at eco-conscious venues promotes a collective commitment to environmental responsibility. gigmit invests its resources to build such a database and filter options this year. We invite every artist to try that out once released.
3. Food/Catering Rider:
Artists can include sustainable food preferences in their riders. This includes requesting locally sourced, organic, and vegetarian/vegan catering options, thereby reducing the carbon footprint associated with food production. Artists can also advocate for minimal packaging to further reduce waste. You can upgrade your rider, using the Green Rider resource here.
Sustainable merchandising is another area where artists can make a positive impact. Using eco-friendly materials for merchandise, such as organic cotton shirts or recycled materials for CDs and vinyl, can help reduce the environmental footprint of band merchandise. Ordering merchandise in quantities that align with expected demand also minimizes excess stock and waste.
5. Talk About It:
Artists have a unique platform to raise awareness about sustainability. Both online and onstage, artists can use their social media presence and stage time to engage with their audience on topics like sustainability, climate change, and collective action. Sharing their own sustainable journey and highlighting the steps they are taking as artists can inspire fans to adopt similar practices. A good start could be signing the Music Declares Emergency Pledge.
What are the key takeaways?
The music industry has the potential to be a powerful force for positive change when it comes to sustainability. Artists, clubs, and festivals each play a crucial role in nurturing a more environmentally friendly music scene. Start now! Together, we can rock the stage of sustainability!
We are just at the beginning. What are your stories, questions and experiences? Let us know. Write to us and share your thoughts and feedback.
Stay tuned for our upcoming articles and interviews, where we will delve deeper into each of these topics, providing valuable insights and practical guidance for creating a greener music industry.
The project is funded as part of the ‘ProNTI’ program. ProNTI is a funding program for non-technical innovations by SMEs conducted by IBB Business Team GmbH on behalf of the Senate Department for Economics, Energy, and Businesses.