How the Music Industry is Going Green – NBC Chicago

Musicians and music lovers unite to fight climate change with the help of REVERB, a non-profit organization with partnerships with musicians, venues and festivals that helps lead the green movement in the world of music since 2004.

Lauren Sullivan and musician Adam Gardner, the married duo behind REVERB, met in 1992, when Gardner was a 19-year-old musician. Gardner said he quickly learned of Sullivan’s frustrations in the environmental world and realized he was contributing to it.

“She felt like the environmental community was very insular and only talking to herself,” said Gardner, guitarist and vocalist for the band Guster. “And it was a bunch of people in the circle who agreed with each other, but nobody was talking outside of the circle. That was the late 90s, early 2000s, and a lot has changed since then. Green was just a color, very few knew what sustainability meant.

“She was like, ‘My God, there has to be a way to tap more into the mainstream; environmentalism should not be reserved for a small segment of the population,’” Gardner reminded.


(L-R) Lauren Sullivan, Adam Gardner

Gardner knew touring with a band was helping to harm the environment, but at the time he didn’t know what he could do about it. This led to the birth of REVERB, which aimed to bring environmentalism to the masses while making touring and the music industry as a whole more sustainable.

Gardner felt that as a musician, he and others could use their platform to create real change.

Today, REVERB includes members of its team in national tours to make them more eco-responsible and reduce the impact on the environment. One musician who paved the way is Grammy winner Billie Eilish.

“On Billie Eilish’s tour at the moment, we have two road workers who are part of the road crew, just like a guitar tech or a sound engineer, but their job is specifically to handle all of the effort. sustainability,” said Gardner. “They are on the ground to make sure it happens in real time at every gig and also to engage fans in the Eco-Village where we bring in local and national non-profit groups, advocacy campaigns specific action and free water refill stations where fans can refill reusable water bottles, etc.

On Eilish’s current world tour, Happier Than Ever, viewers can stop by the Eco-Village to donate a personalized reusable water bottle, refill water bottles, eat a meal at plant base, connect to local nonprofits, take a climate quiz, and register to vote.

“The REVERB Eco-Village provides additional opportunities for artists to positively impact their fans – to get them excited about taking action and give them hope,” Gardner said. “Because I think when you’re talking about the climate crisis, it’s hard as an individual to feel like you have an impact on it. It’s like, ‘What is I can do? I’m just one person on this giant Earth, and I have no control over anything,” but that’s not true. When you’re one of Billie’s millions of fans Eilish or when you’re one of the billions of fans of all these REVERB partner artists, there’s a real impact. All of these little actions you can take add up in a big way, and that’s where the Eco-Village really comes into play.”


Fans use the water refill station during a Billie Eilish concert

Some of REVERB’s early partner artists include Dave Matthews Band, Jack Johnson, Maroon 5, Dead & Company and John Mayer, with whom the association still works. Gardner’s band Guster have opened for many bands on past tours that are now involved with REVERB.

Before tours take place, the REVERB team dives into all facets of the musician’s tour and works with his management to see what can be more environmentally friendly, including reviewing the merchandise that will be sold. . For Eilish, her vinyl is made from recycled materials and all paper in her product is FSC-certified paper, recycled content and soy ink. On Lorde’s tour, 100% of her merchandise is made from 100% recycled, American-grown cotton.

“We try to look at it 360 degrees, from food to carbon footprints, to travel, to hotels, to fan travel — it’s a long list of things — merchandise, stage production,” Gardner said. “It’s just a matter of how far an artist is willing to go and how much they’ll let us under the hood. Luckily for us, a lot of the artists we work with want to go as far as possible.


REVERB Action Village during a John Mayer concert.

“I am thrilled to be working with REVERB to integrate climate action into my tour and everything I do,” Eilish said in a REVERB press release. “We are facing a climate emergency, and we all have a responsibility to spread this call to action.”

On Harry Styles’ 2021 tour, over 33,900 single-use water bottles were eliminated and it was a climate-positive tour, meaning it eliminated more emissions than she didn’t create any. And, it took into account the movement of fans to and from the shows, according to the impact report that REVERB provides after each round.

REVERB created the Music Climate Revolution campaign in June 2021 to bring the music industry and community together to fight the climate crisis. The goal is to reduce the environmental footprint of the music industry while supporting climate projects that directly remove more greenhouse gas pollution than the music industry creates..

“In the first 180 days of the campaign, we, along with our artist and industry partners, raised over $3 million for carbon-busting projects and eliminated over 50,000 tons of greenhouse gas pollutants. greenhouse,” Gardner said.

When Coldplay considered a world tour in 2022, they knew they wanted to offset the environmental impact of their stadium shows as much as possible. So they got creative. Telemundo correspondent Randy Serrano travels to Costa Rica for a look at a kinetic dance floor and other innovative ways Coldplay is reducing their impact.

For small artists and local places, they can also make changes to contribute to a healthier planet. By looking at electricity and energy consumption, merchandise sold, and cups and materials used across the business, venues of all sizes can contribute to positive change. REVERB offers to advise venues, musicians, festivals, fans and labels on how they can become more environmentally friendly.

And REVERB isn’t the only non-profit organization working for a greener music industry. Other organizations include Management of activist artists, Music declares urgency and the Jerry Garcia Foundationwhich is named after the late singer of The Grateful Dead.

“I think there was a really wonderful tipping point that finally happened,” Gardner said. “We’ve been pushing in this space for a long time to finally make music more sustainable and now there’s a lot more people coming up to us and asking questions. Even artists who have worked with us for decades say, “How can we go further? I think the hiatus in live music due to COVID got everyone thinking and figuring out how we could do it better when we come back and now we’re back.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, REVERB performed their 350th tour.

“As an artist, there are very few causes you can directly lead by example,” Gardner said. “As if I wanted to cure cancer, but I’m not a doctor. I can just write a check and that’s all I can really do. But with the environment, I can stop contributing to the problem and the tour can be a living example of that, which hopefully inspires fans to follow suit and the rest of the industry and other tours and artists.

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