In a world that desperately needs radical climate action, Coldplay are redefining the rulebook with a tour driven by reduced impact on the environment. Alex Duke assesses how it’s going to be done, and whether other bands will follow suit.
Whether you love them or hate them, Coldplay’s planned eco-friendly tour will, at the very least, put environmental issues and climate change at the helm of international music news. Coldplay, as one of the world’s most successful bands who are particularly praised for their energetic live sets, are using their platform and worldwide fame to design an ‘eco-friendly’ tour – a tour with the aim of promoting sustainability and remaining as low-carbon as possible.
The band are attempting to implement a 12-point plan, aimed at cutting their carbon footprint
The band are attempting to implement a 12-point plan, aimed at cutting their carbon footprint. This scheme includes “kinetic flooring”, a form of power generated by the fans through their movement at Coldplay’s shows. It also includes a tree being planted for every sold ticket, sustainable aviation fuel to transport the band and bamboo-built sets.
This is not the first time that the band have put the environment at the forefront of their touring plans. They did not accompany their 2019 record ‘Everyday Life’ with a tour because of environmental concerns, and they now see the measures put in place for this upcoming set of concerts as the best compromise.
It is also not the first time that a band has set out to do this – Radiohead undertook a tour with a similar eco-friendly message in 2008, whilst Massive Attack have published on how to achieve low carbon touring. In this tour, Coldplay are not doing something completely new, they are reiterating ideas that have been attempted in the past. However, their global reach and household-name status may continue to help the cause significantly.
The question remains, however, whether it will be possible for this style of tour to become the norm. There are financial considerations that need to be made – Coldplay do not have the same monetary concerns that a smaller band playing an international tour might possess, for example.
International touring also requires regular flight, something that naturally appears to be at odds with being truly eco-friendly. It also demands more of the venues in which they are performing – as part of the plan includes the band requesting that venues install low-flushing taps and aerated taps. Again, this could present logistical and financial difficulties.
Artists have a duty to be at the forefront of social and political protests
What this brings to music is a pioneering endeavour to tackle climate change, through the medium of touring. It gives a platform to a crucial issue. Artists have a duty to be at the forefront of social and political protests; it is a cornerstone of a great deal of musical expression.
In changing a crucial component to combat climate change, Coldplay are attempting what artists have been doing for years – leading the conversation on global issues. Climate Change is a generational problem, and this tour could also hopefully not only inspire other bands to take climate action, but also make sustainable practice in music touring a normality.
Featured image courtesy of winni3 via Flickr. Image license found here. No changes made to this image.
In-article images courtesy of @coldplay via instagram.com. No changes made to these images.
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