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Originally published June 5, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified June 5, 2007 at 2:00 AM

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Bands take up the cause, going green for their tours

Concert promoters, venues and artists are increasingly going green, teaming up to reduce or eliminate the environmental impact of their...

The Washington Post

Concert promoters, venues and artists are increasingly going green, teaming up to reduce or eliminate the environmental impact of their industry and raising awareness about green products, technologies and issues by utilizing the strong connection between artists and their fan bases.

The basic message: Reduce, reuse, recycle.

For the multibillion-dollar concert business, that means:

• Staging carbon-neutral concerts using green energy sources whenever possible or purchasing carbon offsets for energy used, such as planting trees to help with future carbon reduction.

• Relying on clean-burning, domestically made biodiesel fuel to power tour buses and trucks and even stage generators.

• Providing on-site recycling.

• Offering biodegradable food services and reusable or recyclable cups, plates and utensils.

Live Earth at forefront

In the next few weeks, Save Our Selves — The Campaign for a Climate Crisis, the organization staging the 24-hour Live Earth global event July 7, will introduce the Green Event Standard, which will be usable industry-wide, from small venues to larger arenas and stadiums.

Live Earth, whose broadcast could reach more than 2 billion people worldwide, will implement many green practices, including sourcing all electricity from renewable sources (utility-supplied renewable energy, biodiesel generators, renewable energy credits), issuing carbon credits for air travel by staff and artists, and reducing waste from concessions. The final leg from Giants Stadium in New Jersey will be the country's first "green" stadium event.

When former Vice President Al Gore announced the Live Earth concerts in April, he said: "This will be the largest musical event in history and the beginning of the biggest change we've ever had to make. But we have to really make a commitment to this change, and that's what Live Earth is designed to kick off."

Reverb, a Portland, Maine-based nonprofit group, advises bands and venues on environmentally friendly options. Among the tours Reverb is "greening" this summer are those of John Mayer, the Fray (July 27-28, Marymoor), Tim McGraw & Faith Hill (June 14, Tacoma Dome) and the Dave Matthews Band (Aug. 31-Sept. 2, The Gorge).

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The recent Coachella festival in California featured split trash cans — recyclables in one part, trash in the other — allowing organizers to collect 90 percent of the recyclable material.

Warped Tour leads way

The Vans Warped Tour's 19 trucks and 17 buses run on biodiesel fuel, and, tour founder Kevin Lyman says, "our industry is going to have to adapt to change to be able to survive. We're bringing 3,000 gallons of biodiesel a day on site, which costs a little bit more, but we're going to absorb the cost of delivery."

This is the fourth year for the tour's ever-expanding Warped Eco Initiatives, and "we're slowly learning how to do it," Lyman says. "It's not an overnight process. We started with recycling three summers ago. I recycle at home. I thought, 'Why are we not doing it out on the road?'

"I believe the only real change is going to come from the 12- to 19-year-olds of the world. If we don't do something, their lives are going to be more affected by it than myself or my parents who have grown up in this consumer nation."

A 2006 MTV/CBS News Poll of 13- to 24-year-olds found them citing the environment as the most important problem their generation will have to deal with.

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