The Future Of Live Events Is Clean And Green

Production Live! 2022: The Future Of Live Events Is Clean And Green
– Production Live! 2022: The Future Of Live Events Is Clean And Green
Moderator Dr. Elizabeth Hawk and speakers L-R: Denise Melanson, Lucy August-Perna, Neel Vasavada, Doug Oliver and Eric Ritz.

The climate crisis can seem like such an insurmountable problem that it can be daunting to know where to start. Speakers on the Pollstar Live! Panel “The Future Of Live Events Is Clean And Green” shared that when it comes to putting on shows that have less of a carbon footprint and inspiring fans to make environmentally-friendly changes, sometimes the smallest shifts can make a big impact. 

“An easy way we’d ask people to promote what they were doing on a sustainability level … it’s utilizing the marquee, sending emails before or after the show… engaging the audience, whether it’s fans who are there for a metal show versus a country show, those kinds of things are easy, can be done immediately and can make a huge difference,” Eric Ritz, founder and executive director of Global Inheritance, said. 
Neel Vasavada, co-Founder of Overdrive Energy Solutions, added, “I keep hearing about easy stuff, low hanging fruit – there are so many opportunities at older venues. At U.C. Irvine they have solar battery light towers in the parking lot. At major venues in SoCal, we counted two dozen diesel light power towers. Right there are a lot of opportunities – the conversation that’s happening is a great opportunity to catch this low hanging fruit and make these changes. 
“A lot of the technology is already out there and is being used in different industries; what’s exciting to me is it’s coming together for live events.”
As an example of the technology already in place, Vasavada pointed to venues that offer shore power for trucks and buses – with Doug Oliver, general Manager of Pioneer Coach, chiming in to say, “It uses less fuel, it’s quieter. We love it.” 
Coldplay and its sustainability efforts were mentioned multiple times during the panel, including how the band’s “Music Of The Spheres World Tour” will feature a battery from BMW that is being called the “world’s first-ever mobile, rechargeable show battery,” in place of diesel and petrol generators.
But as Denise Melanson, social impact director for Wasserman Music, said, “We can all do our part. Not everyone is Coldplay but that doesn’t mean you can’t do your part. Education is key and investing. That doesn’t just mean finances – investing a little bit of time, energy and passion into making it a reality and doing your part. The responsibility isn’t just on venues or artists, we should all do something.”
She added, “I think artists are getting more creative in how they speak to their fans. Kill the Noise, instead of a traditional album release party, he had fans come in and plant trees while listening to the album.” 
The more and more artists that push for change and the more venues that get on board, the more this will be the norm.
With newer, green venues like Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, the panel noted that one great thing venue executives are doing is simply talking about how they’re being sustainable, normalizing these changes and inspiring other buildings to get on board. 
Another creative concept to get fans involved happened at Coachella 2019, which featured speakers discussing environmental and social challenges, including Jaden Smith talking about water scarcity and climate change, along with a poster design contest. Prizes were given to fans for the most innovative designs and then professional artists redesigned the posters, which were then made available online for free for school presentations and marches, to educate and inspired.  
“It gives fans an opportunity to put the spotlight on them, make them feel like we value their ideas,” Ritz said. “It doesn’t cost much money.” 
Other artists helping lead the green movement include Billie Eilish. Lucy August-Perna, Director of Global Sustainability at Live Nation, brought up Eilish’s recent tour stop at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena, which is working toward becoming a TRUE certified zero-waste venue. 
“For the Billie show they were able to achieve [nearly] zero waste, I think the fact that they got that certification was another way to elevate that conversation.. I couldn’t agree more on venues being able to cut through that noise and celebrating these big moments and inspiring others,”  August-Perna said. 
Ritz encouraged panel attendees to keep the conversations about sustainability going. He brought up that while sustainability can feel like a shiny object, where everyone wants to be a part of it, sustainability was what everyone was talking about, then when the housing crisis, people stopped talking about it. He said, “An easy way to make sure it grows and survives, get people excited about it, don’t cut corners. We have one planet here, not to sound like an environmentalist, (laughs) but we gotta take care of it. We have so much potential as a species.” 
Moderator Dr. Elizabeth Hawk, President of Ampersand Intelligence, closed out the panel by declaring, “Gathering is not optional. We know that humans need to be able to come together and connect – another thing the pandemic taught us is that doing things in a sustainable manner isn’t optional either, it’s necessary. It’s not only necessary but it’s going to elevate the quality of the music, the fan experience, the memories that are being made.”
To stay informed, keep an eye out for a newsletter coming soon from the Music Music Sustainability Association (  The inclusive, member-driven association plans to start sending out a newsletter, featuring new technology and best practices, in March.