In November, upon the release of their latest album Everyday Life, U.K.-based Coldplay said they would not be touring in support of the album, saying they needed to find an environmentally sustainable way of performing the tour.
When they last toured in 2016 and 2017, they played more than 120 shows around the world. The band said they want to make their next tour carbon-neutral, free of single-use plastics, and powered largely by solar panels.
Coldplay isn’t the only band exploring environmentally sound touring. U.K.-based trip-hop band Massive Attack found that 93 per cent of all carbon dioxide emissions from touring come from transportation (both band and audience) and power generation for the venue.
Massive Attack has discussed ending touring altogether, though they have announced international tour dates for 2020.
Instead of touring, Coldplay chose to perform two concerts in the Middle Eastern country of Jordan, then broadcast the concert free of charge over YouTube, instead.
Emma Banks, with U.K.-based Creative Artists Agency, who represents artists like Green Day, Katy Perry and Arcade Fire, said that the biggest touring artists can use more than 60 trucks to transport equipment to and from venues.
She said that artists need to be more proactive on cutting down carbon emissions and that the change will be gradual, but each bit helps.
Glastonbury Festival organizer Emily Eaves said that over 23,000 tonnes of garbage are produced each year by U.K.-based festivals. In an effort to cut down waste, Glastonbury has banned single-use plastic bottles, along with plastic straws, cups and plates.
Bigger touring artists pose a strong challenge for fans who wish to see them and still be environmentally conscious. YouTube simulcasts could help mitigate the cost of both the band’s travel emissions, along with the carbon footprint of thousands of fans driving or flying to venues. Carbon credits could also help with air travel. Emerging technology like holographic performers or virtual reality concert simulcasts may be another way to help touring become more eco friendly.