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The Environmental Impact of Concerts

Singing and dancing with people who love the same music you do while watching one of your favorite artists perform is part of what makes concerts such an amazing experience. At first glance, tours and concerts are a win-win situation for everyone; artists make money, and fans have a great time. But an often overlooked aspect of tours is the environmental impact that they create.

It's hard to believe such a liberating experience could cause extensive environmental harm, but unfortunately, it is the reality. While there is limited data on the carbon emissions and other impacts that tours produce, primarily due to the wide range of size and attendees, we do have a lot of data on festivals. The average music festival produces 500 tons of carbon emissions over the course of the three-day festival. This means that the average festival attendee produces 5kg of CO2 per day. While some festivals are trying to counteract these effects by creating recycling programs and setting up reusable water stations, there needs to be changes to offset the negative impact of these events.

By this point, the videos of people either stationary biking or dancing at Coldplay concerts have gone viral. At first glance, it's just a fun touch that Coldplay decided to implement at their shows to engage with fans. However, it turns out that Coldplay was using the bikes to counteract the environmental damage such a tour creates. They use stationary bikes and a dancing pad to create kinetic energy to charge the show's batteries while reducing environmental impact.

Music Festivals like Outside Lands in San Francisco, CA, have made it a point to reduce their environmental impact as much as possible. In 2021 90%, 385,000 pounds, of all the waste produced at the festival was diverted from going to the landfill. Additionally, they do not sell plastic bottles and instead sell reusable water bottles and have water refill stations around the festival. Food vendors must also use 100% compostable tableware and are completely cashless (INFO, OutsideLands). All of this is to prove that it is possible to have an enjoyable festival and not create an excessive amount of waste. Festivals like Outside Lands are creating the baseline and expectation for the future of concerts and tours

There is hope for the future of the entertainment industry. If more artists and venues make these changes, we will soon be able to enjoy concerts and festivals, knowing that we aren't creating a massive contribution to climate change. To reach that point, we will need to push for change within the music industry and ask that artists, and labels, start to care about the environment as much as we do.



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