Dave Matthews Band, Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow among the founding artists involved with the 'Green Music Group'; working to lessen the environmental impact of the music industry.
From the electricity required to power the sound and lights, to the fuel needed for touring buses, equipment trucks and cars of rabid music fans, the environmental impact of music festivals and big (inter)national touring acts can be pretty big, and it's something I've written extensively about in the past year or two.
But seeing the quantity of resources being poured into large-scale touring and the waste it produced--both back stage and in the audience--was all that Guster guitarist/vocalist Adam Gardner needed to launch the non-profit organization, Reverb in 2004. In addition to helping make touring operations more sustainable for 85 major music tours, Reverb has conducted grassroots educational outreach to over 10 million music fans.
But Gardner and his wife, environmentalist Lauren Sullivan, realized they had the opportunity to take things up a notch with a collaborative organization focusing on the entire industry.
"We recently realized that we were in the unique position to bring all aspects of the music community together into a powerful coalition," said Gardner. "We wanted to do more – our founding artists, venues and labels wanted to do more, and our fans were calling on us to take the lead."
So take the lead they did. Gardner enlisted the help of like-minded artists including Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt, Dave Matthews Band, The Roots, and Barenaked Ladies, and joined together with Brushfire Records and Warner Music Group to form the Green Music Group, a "large-scale, high-profile environmental coalition of musicians, industry leaders and music fans uniting in one voice behind a common goal: to use our collective power to bring about widespread environmental change within the music industry and around the globe."
The coalition held its official launch party at Jane's House in Hollywood on Saturday night to celebrate the coming together of a diverse group of musicians, record companies and large music venues.
Outside of the music industry, Green Music Group will engage fans to take part in regular calls-to-action, amplifying the campaigns of various environmental non-profits. Non-profit launch partners include: Oxfam America, Union of Concerned Scientists, Hip Hop Caucus, HeadCount, DoSomething.org, StopGlobalWarming.org, Music For Relief, Climate Counts, and Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance.
"Green Music Group's incredible reach and deep connection to young people has the power to be a major megaphone for the Sierra Club's environmental campaigns," said incoming Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune.
Sure there are summer music festivals with excellent greening initiatives; and then there are bands like Phish and Sound Tribe Sector 9, for example, that take the environmental impact of touring seriously, launching internal projects to reduce the environmental impact of a rock concert. But the industry as a whole has often characterized as one that is wasteful and inefficient -- they don't say "party like a rock star" for nothing.
That's why the new coalition will offer something that in-house programs and other music-based environmental non-profits do not, trans-industry "voice" for sustainability. And it helps to have a little funding behind it too.
GMG will also be providing small grants for up-and-coming artists looking to go green. In the coming months they will begin accepting applications to our Green Grants program. Sign-up with GMG to stay informed about their future plans and how you can get involved.
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