Written by Ryan Jebavy • Photography by Gabriel Olsen / Contributor, Getty Images • December 30, 2016
Technology and innovation are not only changing the way artists perform music, but also the way we interact with it. Every year there are breakthroughs in instruments and gear (as seen at international tradeshows like NAMM and Midem), but what about the live music experience? Well, it turns out that many live concerts and festivals are increasingly utilizing technology and innovation to make their events more eco-friendly.
Is there anything more anticlimactic than getting out of an epic concert only to wait in a mile-long line of exiting cars? It's not only time-consuming, it also adds lots of pollution to the air. Here’s where some live event producers have stepped up to offer alternatives. Take Chicago's Pitchfork Music Festival—in recent years, they have incorporated a huge parking lot for bicycles and also encouraged fans to take advantage of ridesharing/carpool mobile apps.
Waste Disposal and Clean Up
Another downer? Trash-littered fields. Festivals like Lollapalooza have attempted to combat plastic waste by offering free filtered water for people re-using their own water bottles, while bands such as Phish with their Green Crew have encouraged fans to pitch in and clean up venues after shows. Meanwhile, South by Southwest in Austin, Texas has established an Eco conference, most recently discussing new ways to repurpose items such as vinyl street banners, plastic bags and empty food containers as part of the organization’s [Re]Verse Pitch project.
Some music and art festivals are just so huge that despite the best intentions they inevitably produce massive amounts of waste. Dealing with just such an event, the folks behind Burning Man recently purchased a 3,800-acre parcel of land known as Fly Ranch in order to experiment with ways of reducing their carbon footprint and helping large-scale crowds be more eco-friendly.
As virtual reality technology becomes more mainstream in the coming years, it could have a big impact by reducing fuel-burning travel to physical festivals. Virtual collaborations, such as the "Best Day of My Life" video for the Shell #makethefuture campaign, and cutting-edge virtual concerts planned for the near future have great potential to reduce travel-related carbon emissions, while providing ever-improving content and concert-going experiences.
As efforts to reduce pollution and sustain our environment more forward, best practices are developing that can lead to eco-friendly standards. For example, sustainability-focused creative community Julie's Bicycle in London has made efforts to define operational standards and provide certifications in the fight against global warming. And ISO (The International Organization for Standardization) has also recently proposed ISO 20121 as a guide for eco-friendly events. Both have released numerous case studies, offering glimpses of what's possible when inspired individuals combine the joy of music with innovation that respects the health of our planet.
Berg, Jenny. "6 Tips for Making Events Truly Eco-Friendly." BizBash., n.d. Web. 6 Dec. 2016. http://www.bizbash.com/pitchfork-music-festival/gallery/107756#.WEdAuNUwhaR.
"Citi, Live Nation, NextVR Launching Virtual Reality Concert Series." Billboard, n.d. Web. 6 Dec. 2016. http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/7525661/citi-live-nation-nextvr-launching-virtual-reality-concert-series.
"ISO 20121 - Sustainable events." ISO, n.d. Web. 6 Dec. 2016. http://www.iso.org/iso/iso20121
Krasilovsky, William, et al. This Business of Music. 10th ed. Watson-Guptill, 2007.
Roth, Ari. "Finalists for the [Re]verse Pitch Competition Announced." SXSW Eco, 1 Dec. 2016. Web. 6 Dec. 2016. http://sxsweco.com/news/2016/finalists-reverse-pitch-competition-announced
"The Urgent Need for a Sustainable Music Industry – And the Innovations that Make It Possible." N.p., 27 Aug. 2016. Web. 6 Dec. 2016. http://www.musicxtechxfuture.com/2016/08/27/the-urgent-need-for-a-sustainable-music-industry-and-the-innovations-that-make-it-possible/
"We Bought Fly Ranch." The Burning Man Journal, 10 June. 2016. Web. 6 Dec. 2016. http://journal.burningman.org/2016/06/news/official-announcements/we-bought-fly-ranch/