Hello Alchemical Records. I hope you all had a lovely Earth Month! Sustainability is a very important topic to me, as it should be for everybody. Since 2019, I have had the pleasure of working professionally combining two of my favorite things, live music and creating a better environment for us and generations to come. I have seen artists use their platform for the greater good, which has given me hope in what can seem like a lost cause sometimes. There are quite a good number of artists that fall in this category, but I wanted to share what I have experienced or seen.
In 2021, I tweeted that I wanted to work/tour for a sustainability team for Coldplay. Not only is Coldplay a band that I have listened to for as long as I can remember, but they are the band that made me aware of concert sustainability, or lack thereof. One of my best friends, mentors, and former supervisor Lexis Yelis referred me to work the Coldplay show at FedEx Field and it was a dream come true learning experience. I was given the opportunity to be on the coordinating side of concert sustainability, which prepared me for my role as Sustainability Coordinator for my local amphitheater.
This tour had some pretty cool interactive sustainability projects. One of them was a row of stationary bikes that fans can pedal to produce green power. There was a kinetic dance floor that fans danced on to power some part of the show. The confetti and tour wristbands were biodegradable, reusable aluminum cups were provided, and there were water refill stations around the stadium. This was an experience to remember and it helped that DMV band, SHAED opened the show.
Dave Matthews Band:
To me, Charlottesville-based Dave Matthews and environmentalism go hand in hand. I can’t tell you how many times I have been to a Dave Matthews show, but I can say that he is another artist that inspires me and makes me want to be better.
He is actively with REVERB (since 2005) on his tours, which I have had the chance to witness. On tour sites, there are no single-use plastic water bottles since reusable bottles and hydration stations were used. Since 2016, the band and REVERB have been working together to support wildlife conservation in Africa.
Gabrielle is someone I’ve had the pleasure of meeting through Alchemical Records. We both found out we were autistic as adults and bonded over that. You can read my interview I did with them last year here. They are very involved in activism and have used it in music. One of my favorites is from See the Change: “We are people helping people /Not just the leaders of tomorrow/We are the leaders of today/Advocating for the changes in this world” Seeing Zwi in action gives me a sense of optimism for the future. If this is only the beginning, then I cannot wait to see what the future brings.
Volunteering with REVERB for Billie Eilish was a fun time all around! Not only was it my first time volunteering with REVERB, but it is where I met Emma Page. We were grouped together to give out custom Billie Eilish Nalgene water bottles for a donation. There were booths for local non-profits and a booth for Support + Feed, which is an “intersectional nonprofit organization dedicated to creating an equitable, plant-based food system and combating food insecurity and the climate crisis.” What makes this organization special is that it was founded by Billie’s mother, Maggie Baird. Here is a quote by Emma Page:
“Billie is always an advocate for sustainability, both as a person because she’s vegan, and as a musician, whether it be recycling materials for merchandise or partnering with REVERB on her tours to provide sustainable ways to put on her shows that otherwise could tend to be wasteful. She’s very vocal about it too, which shows how much she cares.”
On Earth Day this year, she closed the store and encouraged fans to donate to environmental organizations including Support + Feed and GRID Alternatives.
@supportandfeed Water refill stations by our friends at @REVERB 💦#sustainable #supportandfeed ♬ original sound - Support + Feed
Dead and Company:
It should not be surprising that a band involving The Grateful Dead is outspoken about treating our planet with love and respect. It was very nice to see not only the tour encourage sustainable practices, but to see the fans participating and encouraging as well. For example, there were booths in the parking lot set up by the fans of Dead and Company with plant-based foods, small businesses, and my personal favorite, the flower crowns. I am very sad that this is the last tour that the band will be putting on; however, I am very grateful for their positive impact on our planet and can’t wait to see what they do in the future.
One of my best friends and fellow environmentalist, Maiya Justice volunteered for REVERB at our local show. Here’s what she had to say:
“Reverb was a really fun and rewarding way to both help the environment, while still being able to watch one of my favorite bands perform!”
It is not an exaggeration when I say that I would not be where I am today without LEXIS YELÏS. She was my first supervisor for the Sustainability Team at Jiffy Lube Live in Northern Virginia, and we worked together until 2021, when she moved to Atlanta with her husband, IAMCOUCHSURF. I took over sustainability at Jiffy Lube Live and both of them are still thriving in music and sustainability. I could go on and on about what she means to me, but I would recommend reading the feature I wrote about her last April here. Food waste/ food sourcing is one of her top priorities when it comes to tour sustainability. She taught me a lot about that to help me as I became the new Head of Sustainability last year. For example, food can be a very tricky thing at concerts. Sometimes food cannot be donated since it has been opened, left out, and/or does not meet health requirements. At the end of the night, we compost the food to later be turned into nutrient-rich soil. If it was not already obvious, I have so much gratitude towards her. The best part is that it is only the beginning for LEXIS YELÏS!
To wrap up, I just want to point out that there is no Planet B. It is important to understand that even the small things add up. Try using a refillable water bottle, use reusable utensils such as cutlery and straws, shop at a thrift store, or take public transportation/carpool (especially when it comes to attending live events).
Maura Marcellino is studying business and environmental sustainability at George Mason University. When she is not studying, Maura enjoys listening to music and spending time with friends and family.
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