Green Rockers: musical artists supporting sustainable causes

Music tours require a lot of energy. Air travel, transporting materials, powering stage sets, using gigantic venues and other factors generate a lot of carbon, resulting in a large environmental footprint.

Aneil Lutchman.

Artists, however, tend to view their actions on a general scale. Consequently, several major musical groups are taking steps to mitigate the negative consequences of touring. In turn, these musicians have taken on leadership roles in encouraging progressive efforts and positive energy to live lives mindful of humanity’s impact on the Earth.


Drake during the Summer Sixteen tour in Toronto in 2016.
The Come-Up Show.

When it comes to offsetting its carbon footprint, Champagne Papi doesn’t mess around. Drake has implemented eco-friendly changes to its tours, including selling merchandise made from sustainable materials, upgrading to biodegradable catering supplies, and running its tour bus on biodiesel.

Drake has also tapped eco-conscious startup Aspiration to downsize and offset his lifestyle, which includes a 50,000 square foot mansion and a private jet. Per Rolling Stone, the rapper joins celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert Downey Jr. and Orlando Bloom in investing in Aspiration, but Drake’s partnership goes further than buying his place.

Aspiration is asserting itself as a sustainable alternative to competing banks and fintech companies, as it does not invest in fossil fuel companies or other unsustainable businesses. In addition to financial services, customers can track their carbon footprint and direct a portion of their expenses to tree planting and charitable donations.

“Aspiration’s innovative approach to tackling climate change is truly inspiring and I hope together we can help motivate and raise awareness,” Drake said last June.

The 1975

The 1975 is performing in Nottingham, England in 2020.

British pop rock band (and friends of Greta Thurnberg), The 1975 have teamed up with nonprofit Reverb to help create a Green 2020 tour that tackled environmental and social issues. The band’s concert on July 11, 2020 in Finsbury Park, North London, was notable for its focus on sustainability.

Organizers said it was the first time in British history that a traceable, sustainably sourced hydrotreated vegetable oil had powered an entire event. HVO is a renewable diesel produced from European vegetable fats and oils, which has reduced the salon’s carbon footprint. The concert was also Finsbury Park’s first paperless show, with all tickets available digitally only.

Additionally, sound for The 1975 was provided by hybrid generators with solar panels, and food vendors operated a traffic light system that informed viewers of the carbon footprint of each meal. The concert’s promoter, Festival Republic, planted 1,975 trees in the show’s surrounding boroughs through a partnership with Trees for Cities. The band has pledged to plant trees around the world for every ticket sold as part of the One Tree Planted initiative.

Perry Farrell

Lollapalooze with the Chicago skyline in the background.

Since its inception in 1991, Perry Farrell’s traveling Lollapalooza Festival has provided a platform for many environmental causes. Started as a multi-city event with many bands joining Jane’s Addiction farewell tour, Lollapalooza converted to an annual event at Chicago’s Grant Park in 2005.

(‘Lollapalooza’ is an archaic word meaning extraordinarily impressive. Farrell claimed he chose the festival’s name after hearing the word used in a Three Stooges film.)

Since then, the rocker has donated a portion of the proceeds from the weekend festival to the city’s park projects.

“Have a party, then leave no carbon footprint; leaving it really improved and beautified,” Farrell said, “that’s what the dream was for Grant Park and it’s definitely happening.


The Roots performing at The House of Blues, Orlando in 2016.
Michael Seeley.

The Roots takes a collaborative approach to sustainability. In addition to partnering with organizations like PETA and the Common Ground Foundation, the Roots played the Earth Day Climate Rally in Washington, D.C., and held a Pre-Grammy Jam & Green Carpet Bash in 2007. The party aimed to raise awareness of environmental issues. and even donated autographed compost.

As the hip-hop stars strive to neutralize their C02 emissions while on tour, they’ve also teamed up with environmental charity Reverb to found the Green Music Group. Alongside the likes of country music’s Maroon 5, Sheryl Crow and Willie Nelson, the organization aims to facilitate the large-scale greening of the music community as a whole.

Dave Matthews Band

The Dave Matthews Band performing live in Melbourne in 2005.

Dave Matthews’ Bama Green Project – a spin-off from his charity Bama Works Fund – is another Reverb ally, educating fans around the world on how to take simple, positive steps to protect the planet. Matthew practices what he preaches, relying on a biodiesel-powered tour bus, reducing waste on the go, and eating locally at tourist destinations. Through these efforts, Matthews and the band managed to retroactively neutralize the carbon footprint of his entire touring career.


Radiohead performing in New Jersey on the 2012 'King of Limbs' tour.

Renowned for their unique sound and intoxicating lyrics, Radiohead are as devoted to environmentalism as they are to unconventional new tunes.

Led by vocalist Thom Yorke, Radiohead has been touring sustainably since 2008 with the launch of the “Carbon Neutral World Tour”. After collecting carbon dioxide measurements on their previous tour, the band have dedicated themselves to reducing their environmental impact.

Today, these efforts have partnered with environmental champions like Friends of the Earth. In addition, the British group introduces ecological measures on the road. This includes shipping gear by ocean vessel instead of air freight, using biofuel buses, drinking bottled water instead of disposable plastic cups, and encouraging fans to take public transportation. to get to shows.

pearl jam

Pearl Jam bowing to fans at Madison Square Garden in New York, 2016.
Wheel nuts.

Pearl Jam joined other 1990s mega-acts in becoming aware of sustainability in the early 2000s. Since 2003, Pearl Jam has been involved in a number of carbon mitigation programs. This includes hiring an environmental scientist to calculate the metric tons of carbon dioxide output from each of the band’s tours and allocating a portion of the route’s profits to environmental projects.

The group’s carbon portfolio strategy has donated $100,000 to nine nonprofits working on climate change and renewable energy. Recently, Pearl Jam also donated $210,000 to plant 33 acres of native trees and plants in and around Puget Sound outside of their native Seattle.

Bonnie Raitt

Bonnie Raitt performing at the Berkeley Community Theater, 1976-1977.
David Gans.

2008 may seem like a pioneering year for sustainable endeavors, but blues and rock goddess Bonnie Raitt has performed concerts to raise awareness for environmental movements since the 1970s. Considered the godmother of ecotourism, Raitt’s even created a branch tour dedicated to sustainability.

Green Highway is the nonprofit education and outreach arm that takes up residence at all Raitt gigs, supporting his touring gig with outreach programs and cooperative efforts with other bands and organizations. The blues woman 2022 Just like that The tour will continue these efforts with one dollar from every ticket purchased donated to local, regional and national organizations whose work focuses on safe and sustainable energy, social justice and human rights, environmental protection environment and blues/music education.

Neil Young

Stephen Stills (left) and Neil Young (right) perform together on the 2006 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Tour.
Matthew Harris.

Neil Young was one of the first environmentally friendly rock stars, practically pioneering the burning of biodiesel as fuel, serving as an example for the rock community past and future. Young’s focus on environmental issues and climate change activism for most of his five-decade career continued into the 21st century on his 2004 tour which included 15 oil-powered vehicles vegetable and soy.

Young also owns the LincVolt prototype – a 1959 Lincoln Continental repurposed into a fuel-efficient hybrid, which the godfather of grunge hopes to use as a template for future low-emission cars.

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