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Green Is The New Black

Music Activism: What Does The Future Sound Like?

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A wave of climate-conscious music activism initiatives has been sweeping the music events space. DJs, pop stars and rock stars alike are driving the mission to make music planet-friendly. With their unique ability to bring people together both physically and emotionally, they are a vital part of keeping the environmental movement energised and motivated. We’ve rounded up some of our favourites.

Coalition is fundamental

Key players in the music world are coming together with a shared love for people, the planet and animals, to transform the music business and create events that OG Woodstock hippies would be proud of.

 

unknown pleasures green is the new black

IMAGE: Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures Mural in Manchester

Music Declares Emergency

A coalition of music industry giants, like Warner Music, and is in discussion with the European Union to plan campaigns around COP 26 (where global administrations will be renewing their Paris Agreement commitments) and ensure that governments are held accountable to meet those commitments. Their “No Music on a Dead Planet” campaign was bolstered by global superstars like Billie Eilish and 1975.

As part of a campaign called No Music On A Dead Planet by Music Declares Emergency, Joy Division’s iconic Unknown Pleasures artwork was reworked as a mural to raise awareness about climate change and was packed by artists like Billie Eilish and Thom Yorke. The flat and lifeless lines are said to symbolise “the eternal silence of a dying planet.”

Music X Green

an online directory for projects across the music industry focused on sustainability. You will find everything frin\om eco-friendly wristbands (complete with seeds to plant post-event) to a report on the carbon footprint of music streaming. The site lists numerous sustainability consultants who can advise events on how they can reduce their carbon emissions and waste and put together an eco-friendly event to remember.

Climate Live

Led by Fridays for Future, is a global youth organisation with events planned in 40 countries in 2021, primarily in the lead up to COP 26. Supported by DJs BLOND:ISH and Ida Engberg, they aim to Engage, Educate and Empower a massive audience of music lovers and would-be activists.

Bye Bye Plastic

Created by the aforementioned DJ Vivie-Ann aka BLOND:ISH, is a non-profit team of global music professionals on a mission to wipe out single-use plastic across the whole industry. Their suite of green initiatives includes an Eco Rider (put your hands in the air for single-use plastic-free DJ booths!), Plastic Footprint Calculator and consultancy services.

Deep Tropics Festival

In Nashville, aims to be the greenest music festival in the US, and Green Disco, a company that works to make events carbon neutral, have partnered to implement greener festivals. Last year’s iteration/partnership lead to several successful outcomes: throughout the festival weekend, 1,497 lbs of material waste were collected. And with Green Disco’s guidance, Deep Tropics diverted 80% of the festival’s waste from landfills. Green Disco is currently in talks with around 22 festivals to collaborate in creating greener, cleaner events.

Clean Scene

A Berlin-based collective that has published a 19-page report titled Last Night a DJ Took a Flight: Exploring the carbon footprint of touring DJs and looking towards alternative futures within the dance music industry which looked into the impact of flights and reimagined new ways of creating music.

DJs For Climate Action 

And Greenpeace released a 41-track compilation of music (with proceeds going to frontline organisations operating in locations where samples were recorded) on November 5, 2021, alongside COP26, called the Climate Soundtrack: Acid Pauli, Mark Farina, Fakear, Aroop Roy and more used field recordings of iceberg claps, whales singing, monsoons, birds in the Indonesian forest and more, including producers who curated their own responses when asked “What does the future sound like?” The selections were curated by a jury made up of Nicola Cruz, BLOND:ISH, Cosmo Baker and Matt Black of Coldcut, with every single song using nature sounds from around the world captured by Greenpeace to create the music submitted. Listen to it here

Play to activate. Play to get mad. Play to unwind. Play and imagine pipping it directly into the ears of every world leader in Glasglow at COP26. Play to dance. Play to cry. Play while envisioning all the samples in their native habitats. Play wondering about the producer’s inspiration. Play for friends. Play for succulents. Play for you. Play and keep playing.”

 

climate sound green is the new black

IMAGE: DJs For Climate Action’s Climate Soundtrack

Innovation in Asia

From the trailblazers at Wonderfruit to Singapore’s Garden Beats, festivals in Asia have been especially innovative when putting the planet first. Held in The Fields at Siam Country Club in Pattaya, Wonderfruit is the country’s pioneering, carbon-neutral four-day celebration of music, art and sustainable living. Join a world of creativity and community in tropical Thailand with international live music acts and DJs, perspective-shifting talks and workshops, world-class cuisine, cutting-edge architecture, immersive art installations, and much more—all as part of a sustainable platform to catalyze positive change.

Eradicating single-use plastic is old news and a total shift towards sustainability and carbon neutrality is in full swing. Conscious festival planners are taking a broad look at the impact of each element of their events – everything from reusable or rented cups to upcycled art installations is an opportunity to turn a once-wasteful industry into a leading example of how to do business right.

Fuji Rock Festival in Yuzawa, Japan, saw Bob Dylan taking the stage (which is fuelled by biodiesel and solar energy) with his socially conscious songs. And it’s not just the event space going through a transformation, the underground scene is going sustainable too. Hong Kong-based, FuFu Records launched their latest project in March ’21, Project 88 – Double Happiness, in partnership with the NGO, One Tree Planted, with a goal of planting at least 880 trees. 80% of the sales revenue will support reforestation and rebuild the habitat of critically endangered species.

But how does the rest of the world, including Europe, measure up?

Europe is the festival capital of the world, home to some of the biggest attractions like Glastonbury and Tomorrowland. Drawing much bigger audiences than their Asian counterparts, festivals in Europe can either have a much bigger negative impact on the environment or a positive one.

In an effort to reduce the more than 23,000 tons of waste produced by music festivals in the UK annually, Glastonbury does have some measures in place like compostable food containers as well as festival attendees being asked to ‘leave no trace’ by taking their trash home. Belgium’s Tomorrowland is also making moves towards lowering its impact by using low-energy power generators to reduce fossil fuel consumption. The usual chemical toilets have been replaced with vacuum versions, saving around 7.5 litres of water peruse. The large scale events still have a way to go on their journey to responsible revelry so we have compiled a list of events in Europe leading the charge.

 

IMAGE: Future Vision: “We have to be better compensated by the industries that take a bit sake in the art that we create. Seeing that would make us feel more comfortable to say – ‘You know what, I don’t have to fly out every week.” – Mr V, USA

DJs For Climate Action (DJs4CA)

DJs4CA was formed in 2011 when a group of DJs felt compelled to do something about sustainability in the music industry. They decided to use their combined cultural influence and platforms to further amplify much-needed change.

Last year, DJs4CA announced the first-ever DJ-created manifesto for the future of the electronic music industry. They’re calling it Future Vision and it’s a result of a series of workshops and surveys conducted at the end of 2020, collating ideas from more than 170 DJs worldwide, on how we can get to a greener, fairer industry by 2030.

It’s time for touring that is regenerative, not extractive: a two-way exchange that supports local people, cultures and ecologies. To support less frequent flying, they’ve built an income model that’s less reliant on international touring. Acting collectively, they will put pressure on digital service providers (DSPs) to pay fairly, securely and sustainably for music streamed online. Royalties will go to the right people, and physical/online spaces will be owned by the right musicians/producers. This is what the remix of climate change and social justice looks like.

Read more here 

DGTL, Netherlands

The Dutch festival brand DGTL announced a partnership with SkyNRG last August that will see all artists travelling by air reduce their CO2 emissions by replacing fossil fuels with sustainable aviation fuel. This works via a system called book and claim, which “offsets” their footprint.

Read more here

SWG3, Glasgow

SWG3, one of Scotland’s busiest venues (with 250,000 people coming through their doors each year for gigs, clubs, art and more) has created BODYHEAT, a state-of-the-art renewable heating and cooling system—which transforms body heat generated by clubbers and gig-goers into a source of energy to be used again. On top of this, they’ll also be making a full switch to 100% renewable energy this year. “As a much-loved business and unique organisation, we recognise that we have the potential to influence.” Their website reads, “Not only in our local community, but in the industry, and beyond. We want to lead by example.”

Read more here 

 

bodyheat green is the new black

IMAGE: Honey Dijon at SWG3’s BODYHEAT launch event

Clubtopia, Berlin

Berlin’s clubs are on a mission to become carbon-neutral by 2030! Clubtopia is helping with this transition: by promoting sustainable clubbing within Berlin’s nightlife and connecting experts in nightlife and sustainability. They offer round tables for organisers to come together to develop eco-friendly codes of conduct, online tools, guides and workshops to build knowledge, and consulting services and on-site visits to research into climate-friendly alternatives.

Read more here 

We Love Green, France

Celebrating 10 years of music and environmentalism in 2021, We Love Green creates its event with 8 key sustainable principles in mind; energy, food, water, waste, transport, carbon offsetting and circularity. Expect an eclectic line up of global acts and a beautiful Parisian backdrop.

Buy tickets for the next event here.

Shambala, England

Another eco-rave celebrating a milestone is Shambala, which has been creating a veritable utopia in the English countryside now for two decades. Celebrated for their innovative environmental policies, Shambala used the 2020 break to develop a five-year plan for environmental and social justice – 25KX25: 25,000 POSITIVE ACTIONS BY 2025.

You can buy tickets here.

Green Man, Wales

As the name suggests, Green Man is an event with planet protection at its core. As well as banishing pointless plastic, powering the main stage with solar and feeding hungry fans with Fairtrade food, they gather all camping equipment left behind by hungover party goes and donate them to Help Refugees and Newport to Calais Aid Collective.

Get your ticket here.

Northside, Denmark

This green gathering takes place in scenic Arhaus, Denmark. From its beginnings, Northside set itself ambitious sustainability goals and by 2017, all food, wine, champagne and coffee served was organic. Planet-conscious practices include solar and wind-powered stages and an elaborate waste management system with sixteen categories to be recycled or upcycled, with very little heading for landfill.

Tickets are available here.

Oyafestivalen, Norway

Every year, Oya creates a sustainable city wonderland for their annual event in Scandi city, Olso. Working towards a festival that is renewable, plant-based and circular, organisers are committed to using their event as an opportunity to platform innovative and experimental green initiatives.

You can get your ticket here.

Green is the New Black, Paris

Yes, that’s right. Asia’s favourite conscious festival made its European debut last summer in a dream Parisian location. Keep an eye out on our website for more details for 2022!

 

Featured Image: Wodnerfruit Music Festival | Image description: festival-goers sit atop an upcycled/renovated van that serves as a fun seat to watch the fields and an educational tool that 

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Leanne has worked and volunteered in the NGO sector in Asia and the UK for almost a decade. She is a proud and passionate fundraiser who is motivated by connecting people to causes that they care about and giving them the opportunity to make a real difference. Since growing up on the West Coast of Ireland, she has always been a lover of nature, especially the ocean. Her journey towards living more sustainably and consciously started slowly through an interest in minimalism, plant-based diet, yoga and the zero-waste movement. She has attempted all of them with varying degrees of success! Seeing the Extinction Rebellion April actions in London this year was the biggest wake-up call to learn the truth about the scale of the climate crisis and Leanne now considers herself a bone fide, but imperfect, environmentalist keen to share the infinite benefits of slowing down and living more mindfully with anyone who will listen!

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