Lyman Builds The Green

Summer is coming, which means Kevin Lyman’s getting ready to produce several traveling festivals which means he’s working on how to do it without leaving too much of an environmental footprint.

Lyman, who’s a motivating figure of the Vans Warped Tour and Rockstar Taste of Chaos, has moved beyond punk rock and emo to country and metal. Namely, Willie Nelson’s Country Throwdown, which is traveling from the end of May to early July, and the metal-based Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival, which travels from early July to mid-August.

The Warped Tour has a well-established reputation as an environmentally conscious event. The trick is to bring that same attitude to Mayhem and Throwdown, and it’s getting there, a piece at a time.

“We’ve added one solar stage on Throwdown, two on Warped,” Lyman told Pollstar. “And we’re extending our recycling programs. We started an initiative on all tours to collect cell phones. It’s called where people can bring their cell phones that can be reused or recycled at an EPA recycling center.”

Giving a nod to Jack Johnson’s touring rider, which Lyman’s 4Fini has “borrowed” ideas from, the tours this summer will include, as before, recycled utensils, battery recycling, vegan catering and more efforts from the local communities – including volunteers for cleanup duty and local massage therapists and yoga instructors – which is a break from the past.

“We find when you bring people on tour, they get exhausted or sometimes they fall into the lifestyle. You bring in a person to do yoga and she runs away with the guitar player of a band.”

And, of course, any tour with Willie Nelson means buses and trucks that run on biodiesel. Plus, the Keep A Breast Foundation, the breast cancer awareness organization known for the “I Love Boobies” wristbands, will have mobile units ready for the tours.

“Touring will never be completely green,” Lyman said. “And the 90 percent of the people who go just want to see a show. We don’t preach to people. We just expose them and try to motivate them.”

That includes salty stage managers, who’ve started to do the little things, like collect the plastic bottles on the stages and throwing used batteries into the right containers, Lyman said.

Meanwhile, MusiCares is expected to honor Lyman, along with Depeche Mode’s David Gahan, at its MAP concert in Los Angeles May 6. Lyman confessed that, growing up in the punk scene of L.A., he was not familiar with the Grammy-associated program but now incorporates on tour a MusiCares counselor who is available for addiction concerns.

That, and people have bad teeth. MusiCares is ready to help, and Lyman is taking advantage of it.

“We’re doing a thing in May where all my crew guys can go to a free mobile dental clinic and get cleanings and X-rays,” Lyman said. “I’m finding that tooth decay with these crew guys is a very serious issue. And when we get out on the road, under stress, it compounds tooth issues.”

This year’s Throwdown includes Jamey Johnson and Randy Houser, among others, and Mayhem features Disturbed, Godsmack and Megadeth.