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Sustainable Concert Tours: Which Artists Care the Most?

What are sustainable concert tours, and why is it imperative that artists take measures to reduce the environmental impact of their concerts as the pathway to financial success in the music industry shifts?
Green News
2023-08-24T00:00:00.000Z
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colorful concert with lights and special effects

From Coldplay, to Beyonce, and Taylor Swift – summer 2023 is set to be a big one when it comes to big concert tours: but how many of these big names summer shows are set to be sustainable concert tours?

Sustainable concert tours are more imperative than ever as the nature of the music industry continues to evolve. As short as fifteen years ago, artists depended on album sales and purchases from electronic music stores – such as purchasing a single from iTunes or buying a physical copy of the CD at Target before streaming on services like Spotify and Apple Music took off.

However, in our more instantaneous society – the music industry has changed dramatically. People no longer opt to download or purchase their favorite songs, but to stream them – which isn’t as financially lucrative for artists.

When artists went on tour, it used to be to promote album sales – what was then the primary money maker for singers and bands. However, now a days – artists are more dependent on ticket sales for concert tours to make ends meet: serving as one of the main reasons why concert tickets have skyrocketed in the past decade.

Therefore, artists are now dependent on touring to make the same kind of extraordinary living – which artists are doing the best job creating sustainable concert tours to entertain their fans and protect the planet at the same time?

indoor concert golden lights from crowd

What are sustainable concert tours?

Sustainable concert tours work to make a great concert experience while also bearing the concert’s carbon footprint in mind. As a result, sustainable concert tours often require an extensive effort to reassess resource management and how to move forward with the available finances and materials to create a more sustainable concert experience. 

Some of the most important elements of sustainable concert tours include: 

  • Reducing Carbon Footprint: One of the biggest points and challenges of sustainable concert tours is to reduce carbon emissions. Some ways that this can be done is by playing in a stadium that is well connected to public transportation and reducing the amount of electrical equipment used in the show.
  • Improving Energy Efficiency: Cutting cold turkey to using electricity doesn’t have to be the answer to sustainable concert tours, but finding ways to implement the use of energy efficient equipment wherever possible – or even by implementing the use of renewable energy wherever possible or by using energy efficient lighting. 
  • Reducing Waste: From ratty old concert t-shirts that get thrown away to the amount of plastic bottles consumed during a single show – there’s no doubt that concerts contribute to landfill. Sustainable concert tours can rectify this by encouraging the use of recyclable items or prohibiting fast fashion merchandise from being sold.  
  • Empowering Concert Goers: A sustainable concert tour isn’t going to be as effective if those who attend the concert don’t play their part. Therefore, a big part of sustainable concert tours is for the artists to share how important creating an eco-friendly concert experience is – such as by encouraging concert goers to take public transit to the concert instead of driving.
  • Transparency on Sustainable Concert Efforts: Just like any other effort to become sustainable, there’s always room for improvement – that’s why sustainable concert tours should always make an effort to be transparent about the current efforts, what’s working, and what could still be improved.

Ultimately, seeking to create a sustainable concert tour can help to reduce emissions and even inspire other artists or concert goers to be more sustainable themselves. 

👉 Sustainable concert tours are important in today’s world as the music industry and artists are more dependent on ticket sales than ever before and as people search for concert experiences again following the Covid-19 pandemic.

indoor crowd with confetti at night

What are some of the challenges to having sustainable concert tours? 

If sustainable concert tours were a walk in the park, odds are – more artists would make an effort to make their concerts more eco-friendly. Unfortunately, there are some limitations for artists who choose to develop sustainable concert tours.

One of the biggest challenges of sustainable concert tours is the financial aspect. It’s inevitably more expensive (even though it shouldn’t be) to make use of renewable energy sources and eco-friendly materials for set designs. In addition to the financial strain, creating sustainable concert tours also takes up more time – and developing a performance is already a time consuming effort for any artist trying to create a visual experience in line with the music they’re performing.

It can also be difficult to find stadiums that support sustainability in line with the current leg of that tour. In other words, what if an artist only has a three day window to perform in Vienna before playing their tour in London? Sustainable concert tours require more careful planning to maximise the amount of shows an artist can play. 

Why did Coldplay make headlines for their sustainable concert tours?

When you google sustainable concert tours, odds are you’ve stumbled upon Coldplay’s headlining Music Of the Spheres World Tour – being written by numerous outlets for its high critical acclaim for preventing the use of fossil fuels and promoting sustainability.

Back in 2021, Coldplay announced that they would partner with BMW, the German car manufacturer, in larger efforts to ensure they could create sustainable concert tours moving forward. 

cold play music of spheres concert

Coldplay has successfully created a sustainable concert experience by relying on the use of renewable energy and only seeking to play venues dedicated to reducing emissions and their overall carbon footprint. Other innovative ways Coldplay has developed an eco-friendly concert experience that involves the concert goers themselves is by making use of kinetic floors – which convert the steps taken by the crowd while dancing to create energy.  

👉 In fact, Coldplay announced in late 2021 that the Coldplay will release three more albums between now and 2025 – concluding their discography and focusing on touring moving forward. This statement depicts how all artists should strive to be like Coldplay: as sustainable concert tours will be pivotal for artists that no longer plan to release new music to connect with their fans.

Which other artists have made an effort to create sustainable concert tours?

The 1975

picture of matty healy frontman of 1975

The 1975, a British band with its frontman being Matty Healy – has encouraged multiple sustainable practices for their concert tours. Examples include encouraging fans to wear old merchandise, planning to power future concerts off of vegetable oil, and recommending paperless tickets.

In addition to this, Matty Healy is not known for numerous concert changes during a show and usually keeps the same outfit on – helping to reduce the environmental impact created by concerts. 

The 1975 is also known for including climate activist Greta Thunberg, who was only 16 at the time, on their opening track for their 2020 album, “Notes on a Conditional Form”.

Radiohead

Radiohead, another English rock band, have been vocal about creating sustainable concert tours for many years – such as by implementing the use of reusable cups for the concert crew and aiming to use biofuels for transporting concert gear.

Billie Eilish 

Grammy award winning singer Billie Eilish shared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon how she has patterned with Reverb to create a more “green” concert experience. She plans to do this by asking fans to bring their own reusable water bottles to prevent wasting plastic and allowing for easy access to recycling bins across the venue. 

Skip to 5:52 to hear how she plans to make her next concert tour more Green!

Billie Eilish has been outspoken about her vegan diet and love for animals, and previously partnered with Woody Harrelson to make a public service announcement about climate change for Greenpeace.

Miley Cyrus

One way for an artist to reduce their emissions from a tour, is to refuse to tour at all – like Miley Cyrus. 

Recently having released her latest album, Endless Summer Vacation, Cyrus has stated how she is determined to let the music she releases be the sole connection she has with her fans. She remains open to touring again, but we’re confident that Miley Cyrus would work to develop more sustainable concert tours for her fans given her dedication to living an eco-friendly lifestyle.

How could some big name artists turn their current tours into sustainable concert tours?

Some of the biggest concert tours in music are happening this summer – such as massive headlining tours by powerhouse artists like Taylor Swift’s Eras tour and Beyonce’s Renaissance tour.

How could artists like Taylor Swift and Beyonce work to make more sustainable concert tours?

There are a few things that could be done to reduce the environmental impact of these famous singers' tours, but some of them would be contingent on the artist. For instance, Taylor Swift has made headlines for being one of the world’s celebrities with the largest carbon footprint – much of it coming from the use of her private jet.

Throughout much of the Eras tour, with shows taking place mostly on weekends, Swift has been seen hopping between U.S. cities and back to New York when she is on an Eras tour hiatus – making use of her private jet more frequently than usual.

view of 1989 world tour

Other ways that massive concerts could work to be more sustainable is to limit the amount of accessories in each show – such as no confetti or offering light up bracelets when concert goers most likely have a phone anyways. 

Limiting the amount of costumes, or opting to design clothes for the singer and dances with eco-friendly materials would also help to cultivate sustainable concert tours. Lastly, looking to play a show at a venue that is well connected to public transportation can greatly help to reduce the carbon footprint created by the show.

Outdoor concerts also prevent the need to use artificial lighting – this is something that large outdoor music festivals and concerts like Coachella, Glastonbury, and Good Morning America concerts held in Central Park have really gotten right. 

Ultimately, while concert goers can help – much of the environmental impact of a concert is created by the artist designing the show themselves. Big name artists like Coldplay, the 1975, and Billie Eillish have shown us that it’s more than possible to put on a good show while still adhering to the values of sustainable concert tours – and we look forward to seeing which artists join the bandwagon next.

What about Greenly? 

If reading this article about sustainable concert tours and which artists are making the biggest effort to reduce their carbon footprint while touring has made you interested in reducing your carbon emissions to further fight against climate change – Greenly can help you!

Sustainable concert tours are just one of the many ways that big name artists and record labels can make a difference and work to reduce their environmental impact, and your company can do the same no matter which industry its a part of – click here to schedule a demo to see how Greenly can help you to make your business ventures more sustainable.

Greenly can help you make an environmental change for the better, starting with a carbon footprint assessment to know how much carbon emissions your company produces.

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