Raise Your Glass to the Music Industry’s Eco Movement
How Jack Johnson, Fleetwood Mac, and P!nk are Greening Up Concerts
Have you ever seen a concert after the show is over? The scene is apocalyptic. For a split second, you might even start daydreaming about how you’d handle a zombie apocalypse before you come back to your senses and realize this is just post-concert normal. There are plastic wrappers strewn across the grounds and paper scraps tossed like confetti. The irreconcilable amount of plastic straws, abandoned solo cups, forks, and spoons that hopefully had at least one life, overflow trash bins, that are sometimes even set on fire. A sea of single-use plastic bottles that were once briefly in the hands of someone quenching their thirst now lie tossed aside guaranteed to outlive their user. All these items once momentarily so important to each of the people who used them, now blanket the ground abandoned and destined for a landfill. The scary part is that this overwhelming amount of waste has become so normalized at concerts and events that our shared ethics around waste seem to have vanished to the landfill as well.
Do you know who else experiences this sad reality of a post-show trash apocalypse? Our favorite musicians. After the crowds stop cheering for that final encore and start to head home, musicians are left to contemplate the sea of waste after every single performance. It’s difficult to reconcile this as normal, even if you try. Some musicians turn a blind eye as the “price of doing business,” but most are incredibly disturbed and burdened with the guilt that the waste was a direct result of their concert.
After the highs of performing have settled, the apocalyptic trash becomes depressing and shameful, as if you’re the one who made that waste happen. This unnecessary destruction is beginning to ignite musicians to start a movement for more sustainable music venues and touring.
Artists, venues, and promoters are beginning to ban single-use plastics at their events and on tour, by replacing plastic containers with reusable and compostable options. The Music Industry’s Eco movement is rumbling. Venue owners and promoters are starting to take part in it too, as the validating data stacks up in favor of sustainability over and over again and as event waste becomes increasingly costly and out of control.
Musicians are paving the way for sustainable concerts
There’s a growing list of musicians concerned about the over-consumption and overabundance of single-use plastic waste and the environmental and health impacts we face because of it. Radiohead, for example, requires all road staff and band mates carry reusable water containers. Requirements like these help to keep an estimated 18,000 single-use plastic water bottles from being used during the course of just one tour.
Artists such as Drake, The Roots, Perry Farrell, Jason Mraz, Pharrell Williams, Dave Matthews Band, Radiohead, Maroon 5, and many more are making an impact by addressing these issues head-on. Whether that be educating, advocating, writing music about, or insisting on a ban against single-use plastics, they are creating an environmental force that can change our concert-going experiences. As long as this eco-movement in the music industry continues to gain momentum, artists will be even bigger superstars to their fans and the world, as they stand at the forefront of a growing movement to clean up our oceans, our concerts, and our planet.
From LED light retrofitting and greening venues, to banning single-use plastic water bottles and adding refill water stations, it won’t be long before fans start demanding the same sustainable options for their local concert venues. Jack Johnson, Fleetwood Mac, and P!nk have begun demanding these types of measures at each of their concerts and by doing so are providing their fans and concert staff with a superior concert experience. The sustainable concert experience connects artists more deeply to their fans and their fans more deeply to the sustainable solutions that will positively impact, not just their concert experience but also whatever lessons they take home and apply to their lives and local communities.
Here’s How 3 Influential Rockers are Demanding Sustainable Concert Experiences for their Fans & the Planet
Jack Johnson - Sustainability is Always Better When We’re Together
Image source: Jack Johnson Summer 2017 Summer Tour
Jack Johnson grew up loving the waves he surfed. His attachment to the plastic ocean crisis is quite personal. Once a professional surfer, now celebrity musician, Johnson is using his celebrity status to clean up our planet. As a touring musician, Johnson has witnessed the single-use water bottles, plastic straws, cups, and utensils burst from the seams of his finished shows. This garbage explosion and wastefulness has motivated Johnson to come up with solutions that make concerts and touring less wasteful and lower their general impact on our planet.
Jack knew that to make a difference; it takes a collective effort saying, “if I’m going to keep doing this [be a musician], I have to help keep the industry I’m a part of be more responsible,” and Johnson has been doing just that. The Merriweather Post Pavilion and the Santa Barbara Bowl are just a couple of venues that have been positively impacted by this greener, more sustainable concert-going experience where things like LED lighting and single-use plastic water bottle bans are the norm, not the exception, thanks to influencers like Jack Johnson.
How did Jack Johnson start a musical eco movement? He did this by partnering with organizations like MusicMatters, Reverb.org, and TerraCycle to create initiatives, standards, and campaigns for greening up touring. He also walked the talk and developed a rider sheet that demands every venue meets a list of sustainable actions before he performs. Here’s the actual list of sustainable rider requests that you can swipe for your next tour.
Jack Johnson’s War Against Single-Use Plastic Water Bottles
As a result of just one tour, 18,392 single-use plastic bottles were avoided by installing refill water stations and offering reusable show branded. Also, the band and the touring crew who participated during the entirety of the tour prevented 2,800 bottles from entering our environment. These moves continue beyond the concert simply because fans and the crew get to take concert memorabilia home with them to use after the show closes.
Johnson doesn’t stop at single-use plastic waste though; he also tackles building energy waste. Such as demanding more energy efficiency lighting, which in turn saves venues dramatically in costs and gives them a sustainable badge of honor to tout. Like the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Maryland who became inspired by Jack Johnson’s Rider Demand sheet and decided to revamp their entire facility. This sustainable revamp led to the local county council offering them $9.5 million for an eco-friendly renovation. These upgrades ultimately lead to a better experience for artists and attendees, which then lead to attracting even bigger acts to the venue, that fans that were willing to pay higher prices for when visiting the Merriweather Post Pavilion.
“The thing we keep hearing from venues, which we think is cool, is that they realize [the changes they made] were more cost-effective,” Johnson said. “Or, they just realize they had great feedback from the patrons and they get so much good press that they start doing everything they can [to green up the venue].”
2. Fleetwood Mac Knows That it all comes down to you / well, you know that it does
Every Fleetwood Mac tour now runs according to the same Sustainability Initiative, which you can see when you attend a concert. Fleetwood Mac has partnered with the Natural Resource Defence Council (NRDC), Nalgene, and Reverb to help them make this impact and environmental education a staple to expect at every concert.
These are the sustainable moves Fleetwood Mac shares with their fans, staff, and band crew when they perform:
- Custom #rockNrefill Nalgene bottles
- Free water refill stations
- Post-show food donations to local food banks
- Reusable water bottles and mugs for band and crew to use
- Teaming up with local nonprofits
- Sourcing local food via Farm to Stage Program
- Ensuring proper waste disposal including recycling and composting
- Collecting and donating hotel toiletries for use at local shelters
- Offering green cleaning products and bioproducts for catering and buses
3. P!nk Helps Fans Raise their (Refillable) Glass with Reverb Water Stations for #rocknrefill
For the Beautiful Trauma World Tour, P!nk teamed up with Reverb, which connects artists and fans to causes that help spread environmental awareness to combat the current challenges our environment is facing as well as related social issues. P!nk and Reverb brought awareness to fans about the single-use plastic water bottle crisis by supplying refillable water bottles with P!nk’s branding on each reusable canteen and installing water stations throughout the concert for easy refill access.
Here’s the positive impact that P!nk and her fans are having on our planet with every single she did on this tour:
So many artists are using their influence and fan base to create a sustainable path for the touring and concert industry. This includes everything from localized catering choices and food composting, to eco-friendly cleaning products, and the elimination of single-use plastic products.
The list of outspoken eco-conscious artists is growing:
- The Roots
- Dave Matthews Band
- Maroon 5
- Pharrell Williams
- Sheryl Crow
- Janelle Monáe
- Jason Mraz
- Perry Farrell
- Green Day
- KT Tunstall
- Blake Shelton
- Pearl Jam
- Baba Brinkman’s
- Empire Music
- Melle Mel
- Ben Harper
- Bonnie Raitt
- Jackson Browne
- Keb' Mo'
- Moxie Raia
The Profitability of Sustainable Initiatives for Venues
We all know sustainability is the right move to make for our planet’s future. We also know that as music fans, we want the most intimate experience we can with the artists we love. Having a common goal and adopting sustainability together, helps everyone feel empowered more connected. Creating a music industry-wide sustainability movement allows venues that participate, to spend less of their budget on things that are guaranteed to become harmful, costly waste. The math is really that simple.
Venues like the Amway Center are becoming real estate eco-celebrities. Amway is the first multi-purpose/NBA facility to earn a LEED certification by using 20% less energy and 40% less water than other similarly sized arenas. ROI is the biggest motivator for Venue Managers, who wouldn’t be making these decisions without a solid return to count on. Other facilities are experiencing an uptick in value by adding water refill stations that reduce plastic bottle waste and their subsequent disposal fees. Building owners who are complacent about sustainability measures are missing out on opportunities for refunds, incentives, and the marketing exposure they could be harnessing now alongside the musicians that are paving the eco way.
Sustainable Concerts aren’t just a Dream - They’re Feasible & Profitable
The Music Industry’s Eco movement is improving businesses and venue purchasing decisions that are making a big dent in the single-use plastic water bottle crisis. Music artists have a powerful gift and influence on the way entertainment impacts the world.
What Can An Artist Do Now to Join the Movement?
Explore these sustainable rider demands to leverage your power and to help clean up our concerts. Add to your legacy a path of sustainability for the future. From infrastructure upgrades to simple bans on single-use plastics at concerts, there are many rider requests an artist can suggest that will encourage venues to make better business decisions that positively impact us all.
We’re humbled and grateful for the list of artists already committing to sustainability, and we can’t wait to see accessible and affordable options like PATH - The NEW Hybrid reusable bottle + purified water coupled with refill stations, become the norm and not the exception, at every concert venue.
Make sure to follow us on Instagram & tag @pathwater #refillit to join the conversation!