How Green is the Music?


Just what is the eco-inspired rock community doing? Here are a few big-name examples:

• Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Neil Young, Indigo Girls are all prominent biodiesel burners.

• The Vans Warped Tour employs a solar-powered stage engineered by Austin’s Sustainable Waves, is saving 81,000 disposable plates by using washable dishware and utensils for bands and crew, and avoids 50,000 pounds of carbon-dioxide emissions by using varying blends of biodiesel in the tour’s nine big-rigs and 17 buses.

• Dave Matthews Band buys renewable-energy credits to offset energy use from amps onstage, as well as trucking, travel, and hotel stays for current megatours – as well as retroactively over the last 15 years.

• Sub Pop Records recently committed to buying enough renewable-energy credits to offset 100% of the company’s energy use.

• Pearl Jam is now using 100% biodiesel in all tour production trucks and is donating $100,000 to nine organizations doing climate-change-reform activities, while shooting for net-zero emissions from tours and business.

• Andrew Bird: The whistling troubadour, who packed Stubb’s during South by Southwest, offsets the energy used at his shows with renewable-energy credits from NativeEnergy, uses B20 (20% biodiesel blended with 80% diesel) in his bus, requests organic foods and biodegradable cups backstage, and offers fans organic merchandise as well as ways to neutralize emissions from their drives to the show.

Here in Austin, the ever-expanding South by Southwest Music Festival, which wrangles more than 1,500 bands and overruns Downtown each spring break, made environmental strides in 2007.

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