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Sustainable touring

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So... sustainable touring. If we want the band back out on the road again, we can only hope they'll figure out a way to tour with less of an environmental impact. Maybe we should give them some ideas and send them to Phil Harvey or something. :cool:

 

What would YOU do if you were Coldplay and:

A) You want to decrease your environmental impact

B) Ensure your fans still get a chance of seeing you

C) Keep making the same amount of money as before?

 

Some things from the top of my head:

- A smaller production. I know the impact of the production is rather small compared to the people traveling to the gig but still... . You have to start somewhere and I know Radiohead scaled down their screens and stuff and used different lights to achieve this. And 5 trucks instead of 20 is still a big difference.

- Chose venues more carefully so that they are easily reachable with public transport.

- Enforce the venue to contact public transport and make arrangements to ensure people can actually get home after the gig. Public transport often does not run late enough. They are big enough and draw huge crowds. They have the power to do this. Other bands have done this. If it's not possible, just start earlier!

- Give people a discount, a refund or a gift if they can submit a validated public transport ticket. I know this works differently in every country, but still... . It's not impossible.

- Make sure every venue has a parking lot for bicycles. Give everyone who came by bicycle a ticket which can also be used for the discount, gift or whatever.

- Work together with other bands that draw crowds of a similar size and use each other's infrastructure and production. E.g. team up with Foo Fighters and Metallica. Travel together from city to city with (mostly) the same crew, stage, screens, etc. . Have a different band play each day and then move together to a different city. Probably not easy to pull off, but by joining forces, some of the other ideas could be more easily enforced.

- Don't skip festivals! The ecological footprint of one sustainable festival is smaller than that of individual gigs of all bands combined. Also you're Coldplay, you have a certain degree of influence over festival organisations. If Morrissey can ban meat at festivals, I'm sure Coldplay could (and should) ask for way more.

- Combine festivals (where a huge amount of people can see you) with smaller gigs that have a smaller impact. Intuitively, I think the mid-sized arena and stadium gigs have the biggest footprint (relative to the amount of people attending).

 

Other ideas?

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I don't know if C) will be possible tbh. Of course Coldplay don't have to do it for the money anymore but they'd probably have to convince some managers and promoters...

 

If the biggest impact is people travelling to the gig, the solution could indeed be to make public transport the most attractive and logical option. This certainly can't be hard for a band like them, especially in Europe where there is a good rail network and (I think?) less people flying in for a concert or travelling very long distances as opposed to the USA. I think it might get harder there. Maybe it's just my perception but "oh, the gig is only a 5 hour drive away, perfect" seems to be a thing there. Maybe they could also make a carpooling platform or so. A win-win because getting to know fellow fans is always fun.

 

Other stuff:

- no single-use plastics like disposable cups, which the EU is about to ban anyway. Let people bring their own reusable drinking bottles!! I swear the only times I still use plastic bottles I can throw away is for gigs, because virtually no venue allows people to take water bottles in. "bUt ThEy cAn bE usEd aS a pRojECtiLe" yes, so can plenty of other objects you are allowed to bring. I just want to stay hydrated ffs.

 

- The merch they sell at gigs... Work with a climate neutral & fair wear wholeseller instead of whatever company Live Nation works with. Other, less rich bands can manage this, so it must be doable.

 

- Electrical tour buses for band & crew? Does that exist? In any case, no flying unless absolutely necessary. I suppose that has a lot to do with the schedule, don't play in Sweden one day and in Spain the next day. Maybe the band taking a plane doesn't make a big difference in the big scheme, but it would make them look quite bad lmao.

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These are amazing ideas and I bet you could start a boutique consulting company just operationalizing these!!!!! Here are some of mine:

 

-Sustainable food at shows (in addition to the water!) - Require venues to not serve meat products or only sustainable meat products, at least for the day Coldplay comes but ideally for every show. There's no need for those crappy barely-food hot dogs. Also, banning sugary beverages goes a long way towards sustainability because sugary beverages tend to waste water supplies in making the plastic bottles, using water, sugar/corn syrup production, etc in a more resource intensive way than just providing people clean water. Coldplay already has a history of sustainable catering for its own members and crew, so why not apply that reasoning to the whole show.

 

-Make everything powered by solar panels. Not sure how the band could do this since they'd have to travel with them? But if they could convince a set of venues to invest in a microgrid that charges batteries all day and then gets used for the show??

 

-Train and boat travel ONLY for the band. And then livestream shows from the boat?!

 

-Reduce plastics seems like a no-brainer. Unfortunately they should probably not do confetti or balloons either. Xylobands might be a better bet from a sustainability front?

 

-Donate proceeds to environmental activism: at least turn concerts into a necessary evil of raising money for groups like Greenpeace, Sunrise, Exctinction Rebellion, the UN, local indigenous groups, etc. (many more to name)

 

-Agreed on reimbursements for use of public transport

 

-Agreed on festivals and co-touring (also leads to cool collaborations?!)

 

-Carbon offsets. These don't solve anyone's problems, but it's something *shrug*.

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Another idea - more cinema showings of live DVDs + VR touring. There was that Chicago VR show during the AHFOD tour. While this is kind of an unsavoury option, the reality is that a lot of electronic artists are just playing recordings anyways.

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Good ideas. There's a lot to consider here.

 

Getting carbon-neutral could be possible by doing offsets and trying to reduce transportation, but honestly offsets are really difficult and not well regulated. Radiohead might already do this.

 

I think there are micro and macro stuff that needs to happen.

 

Micro - Get rid of all plastics. Create online carpool systems for people getting to the show. Include offsets in the ticket price., so maybe each ticket has a $5 sustainability fee which goes to planting trees or renewable energy projects in other countries. Carbon offsets for band travel and electric buses. Energy efficient shows.

 

Macro - Advocate for environmental candidates and causes. Partner with Greenpeace or Sierra Club or Sunrise Movement or Extinction Rebellion or better yet, local climate groups, to get people coming to the concert involved (add them to email lists, donations, share out branding). Be really outward and clear about the climate initiatives people should pay attention.

 

The biggest thing for me is make the tours non-profit! I'm sorry, but we aren't going to stop climate change so long as profit-driven, corporate driven capitalism keeps going. So all "profits' of the tour shouldn't go to the already wealthy band members. They should go to the community of the show.

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Good ideas. There's a lot to consider here.

 

Getting carbon-neutral could be possible by doing offsets and trying to reduce transportation, but honestly offsets are really difficult and not well regulated. Radiohead might already do this.

 

I think there are micro and macro stuff that needs to happen.

 

Micro - Get rid of all plastics. Create online carpool systems for people getting to the show. Include offsets in the ticket price., so maybe each ticket has a $5 sustainability fee which goes to planting trees or renewable energy projects in other countries. Carbon offsets for band travel and electric buses. Energy efficient shows.

 

Macro - Advocate for environmental candidates and causes. Partner with Greenpeace or Sierra Club or Sunrise Movement or Extinction Rebellion or better yet, local climate groups, to get people coming to the concert involved (add them to email lists, donations, share out branding). Be really outward and clear about the climate initiatives people should pay attention.

 

The biggest thing for me is make the tours non-profit! I'm sorry, but we aren't going to stop climate change so long as profit-driven, corporate driven capitalism keeps going. So all "profits' of the tour shouldn't go to the already wealthy band members. They should go to the community of the show.

 

A page out of Ariana Grande's book - her concerts have partnered with a nonprofit to register thousands of young people to vote: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/ariana-grande-bernie-sanders-photo_n_5dd5c1eae4b010f3f1d22e35

 

Similarly, Coldplay concerts could register young people to vote, who are on average the most likely to vote for pro-climate policies like the Green New Deal (and support Greta Thunberg and the like).

 

B, fans should be priority

 

The band would ask you, "WHAT KIND OF WORLD DO YOU WANT IT TO BE?"

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A page out of Ariana Grande's book - her concerts have partnered with a nonprofit to register thousands of young people to vote: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/ariana-grande-bernie-sanders-photo_n_5dd5c1eae4b010f3f1d22e35

 

Similarly, Coldplay concerts could register young people to vote, who are on average the most likely to vote for pro-climate policies like the Green New Deal (and support Greta Thunberg and the like).

 

The band would ask you, "WHAT KIND OF WORLD DO YOU WANT IT TO BE?"

They've had Oxfam on tour with them for years now, and also Global Citizen (I remember signing one of their petitions in reward for a fancy temporary tattoo while queuing in Amsterdam in 2016) so asking people to register to vote could be a good addition to that, in countries where registering to vote is a thing that is.

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So what's the likelihood that the band would hire a team of us to help them figure this out?! This topic is actually very close to what I study (food policy and the connection between agriculture, food systems, and health).

 

They've had Oxfam on tour with them for years now, and also Global Citizen (I remember signing one of their petitions in reward for a fancy temporary tattoo while queuing in Amsterdam in 2016) so asking people to register to vote could be a good addition to that, in countries where registering to vote is a thing that is.

 

Good point (and valid nuances to add!). I wonder if Chris telling audiences to eat more chocolate is very sustainable though. ;P

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...at least turn concerts into a necessary evil for raising money for groups like Greenpeace, Sunrise, Exctinction Rebellion, the UN, local indigenous groups, etc. (many more to name)

These are some very interesting ideas but I wouldn't go as far as calling a Coldplay concert a 'necessary evil' for raising money for environmental charity groups (some of which are advocating violence). As Chris said, we shouldn't be over-zealous. We live in a digital age where real life matters less and less. A live concert by Coldplay is still something that I wouldn't like to miss out on.

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These are some very interesting ideas but I wouldn't go as far as calling a Coldplay concert a 'necessary evil' for raising money for environmental charity groups (some of which are advocating violence). As Chris said, we shouldn't be over-zealous. We live in a digital age where real life matters less and less. A live concert by Coldplay is still something that I wouldn't like to miss out on.

 

Agreed but I think some of the ethics DOES boil down to this - everything we do can either increase or decrease the speed of climate change. And everything we do either increases or decreases our enjoyment of life. A Coldplay concert right now probably contributes to climate change AND increases our enjoyment of life. If we can move the needle towards preventing climate change then we're doing better, and that can take various forms. But it doesn't change the fact that right now it takes coal-and-oil electricity to power a Coldplay concert, jet fuel and cars to get them places, etc.

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Some very good ideas in all posts. Most of it is doable in some form of another. I guess it all boils down to reducing both their own footprint (the production and logistics of the tour), reducing the footprint of people traveling to the concerts and using the huge platform they're given each night to raise awareness and inspire people to change. Taking all these in consideration, I do think the net outcome could actually be quite positive. Which is what Chris wanted.

In a way, it's a shame that this is the album they won't (or barely) take on the road. No previous Coldplay album has been a better fit to raise awareness and inspire people. It is a political album. Well, Coldplay's take on a political album anyway. And what's the point of releasing a political album if you don't try to get your message across to as many people as possible?

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However, this all needs to be balanced by ensuring that the fans have an opportunity to see them. At the end of day we spend our hard earned money on purchasing their music and we do want to have the option to see them live as well. Just saying :heart:

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First of all i think this is a joke ... how many times would chris take the airplane? XD

Secondly,

i think there missing the whole point . again the focus is on us normal people like the people from the street and your neigbour . buy an electric car, and don't bbq and change the world.... its a good thing to be aware don"t get me wrong . But focus on idustrial giants...food industry ,oil... Then change the way of touring , buying your electric car and so on.. . Just my opinion.

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Perhaps a series of smaller venue gigs but at more places than normal, limited to fans within a certain radius to prevent people going from travelling a long way taking planes etc to get to the gig? So you can buy tickets if you live within 150 miles of the venue. In the Uk this is simple with checking the postcode of the billing address, not sure about elsewhere though? Surely it uses less emissions etc to move the band around than to have thousands of fans travelling thousands of miles for each gig? And obviously ban single use plastics at the gigs. And you can definitely get electric coaches now, I've just done work for Metroline who have recently launched electric London buses.

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First of all i think this is a joke ... how many times would chris take the airplane? XD

Secondly,

i think there missing the whole point . again the focus is on us normal people like the people from the street and your neigbour . buy an electric car, and don't bbq and change the world.... its a good thing to be aware don"t get me wrong . But focus on idustrial giants...food industry ,oil... Then change the way of touring , buying your electric car and so on.. . Just my opinion.

Not forgetting of course the countries that continue to build coal fired power stations etc for which pollution belches into the air. No one seems to be taking them to task. It seems it is always the easy targets that suffer. Don't get me wrong, I don't disagree with Chris but we are the ones suffering with no tour for the foreseeable future.

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Perhaps a series of smaller venue gigs but at more places than normal, limited to fans within a certain radius to prevent people going from travelling a long way taking planes etc to get to the gig? So you can buy tickets if you live within 150 miles of the venue. In the Uk this is simple with checking the postcode of the billing address, not sure about elsewhere though? Surely it uses less emissions etc to move the band around than to have thousands of fans travelling thousands of miles for each gig? And obviously ban single use plastics at the gigs. And you can definitely get electric coaches now, I've just done work for Metroline who have recently launched electric London buses.

this seems really unfair on people who live far from big cities. It would mean people outside that radius in France for example, wouldn't be able to buy tickets for a gig in Paris, but any sensible person in that situation would take the train to Paris I would assume. And I just can't see them doing a tour with so many different dates they wouldn't leave areas behind. It seems like a logistical nightmare tbh

 

it's complicated. I'm totally a greenie and I'm really glad more and more people are beginning to treat this as a real issue, but at the same time I don't think common people have to fight this war by being restricted from travelling. It's more about how we travel. I think it's fine to take a plane now and then, but not every two months and plane tickets are far too cheap compared to train tickets. The question is what can a band do about that? They can raise awareness for sure, but they can't do this alone.

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I've always been a bit of an environmentalist and I love how the band are one of the first to really acknowledge and raise awareness of the impact their industry and specifically touring has on the environment. I hope this will inspire change both on the business side and also in fans' personal lives.

 

Having said that, making touring sustainable is a huge task and if they don't want to lose their credibility they'll now have to follow through and maybe reconsider how many flights they take etc. in their off time too as otherwise it'll look like they're following the trend and doing this for publicity only.

 

I agree that there are industries that have a much bigger impact on the environment where change is even more urgently needed. Personally I try to find a balance with these things, I have a strong focus on sustainability in my everyday life so to be honest I don't feel too bad about going to a concert once in a blue moon, but would feel great if it was a sustainable event of course!

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There are a lot of fantastic ideas here and many good points made.

 

While they and we know the biggest impact is from people coming to the show, that is an issue that they cannot do much about and therefore I don't think their priority will be on transportation. I think they will still tour allover the world (and look at what happens when they don't, it's absolute frustration) and they will still probably resort to planes a lot, still.

 

I think their priority will be on production : teams and equipment (from the venue and what they take with them). I think they're going to seriously look at drastically reducing the energy needed for their shows, as well as alternative solutions, using renewable energies, solar panels etc. They really like innovation and I think they will seriously look at that, at what they can use. As it was suggested with the example of Radiohead : if they can reduce the number of trucks carrying the stage and equipment, that's already a win for the environment!

Same goes with their crews : they may resort more to local crews and bring less people with them all around the world. I like the idea of teaming up with another band to use the same resources. I don't know if Coldplay would really be willing to do that though.

 

I think they will also lead campaigns with Oxfam and perhaps more organizations to raise awareness and money for the planet. I can see them negotiating a deal so that part of their proceeds goes to the projects they support. That would be the most coherent solution to Chris saying they want their tour "to be beneficial to the planet".

 

Also I REALLY want them to change everything when it comes to their merch and I hope they finally see the light and get to choose a partner that has a decent supply chain.

 

In any way, I think their approach is really serious, but I don't think it will solve all the problems and I don't think it will necessarily be all stuff that *we* can see (so I expect lots of disappointment already). I just trust that they are really working on it and that in itself really is better than nothing. We expect a lot from them while the rest of the world is fine with their favs doing nothing at all, so let's focus on effort first and foremost haha

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Thinking about working together with another artist to share infrastructure... Would it also be possible to negociate with festival organisers to use their stuff? If they don't want to play the actual festivals, they could technically still use those stages perhaps? Rock Werchter already does this, they build everything up, for the main festival in the first place, but in the weekends before or after the festival they have 2 or 3 one-day festivals centered around a big headliner. A festival like Pinkpop doesn't do that (?) but maybe they could also leave their infrastructure for a week or so after the festival. I don't know if I'm overlooking major things lol but this solves the problem of finding a band to tour with.

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Public transport is a biggie, and I would especially like to emphasize in the United States ! The worst example I know of was Gillette Stadium in MA, far away from Boston with 0 public transport and everyone had to take a car or expensive coach services.

 

I was pleased to see in London the new magnetic Love Buttons come without plastic wrap now !

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