Pollstar Live! Panel Preview: The Most Impactful Show Possible, A Look At Sustainability & The Live Music Industry

Dave Matthews Band In Concert
Dave Matthews Band and Enmarket Arena have been leading the charge toward a more sustainable future.
Photo by Taylor Hill / Getty Images / ABA

Kristen Fulmer | Oak View Group

Lucy August-Perna | Live Nation
Yasmeen Badich | Enmarket Arena / Oak View Group
Maggie Baird | Support+Feed
Jean-Louis Warnholz | Future

With climate change upon us, folks like Oak View Group’s Kristen Fulmer, Enmarket Arena’s Yasmeen Badich, Live Nation’s Lucy August-Perna and Support+Feed’s Maggie Baird, along with artists such as Dave Matthews Band, are hoping to inspire the music industry to think about their carbon footprint and how to run shows more sustainably.

During Dave Matthews Band’s Nov. 7 tour kickoff at Enmarket Arena in Savannah, Georgia, 90% of waste produced by the show was diverted from landfill, 1,798 pounds of compost was hand-sorted and 500 pounds of plant-based food was collected. This came together as a group effort in partnership with GOAL (a sustainability platform founded by OVG that stands for Green Operations & Advanced Leadership) and with the support of Live Nation.

The panel at this year’s Pollstar Live! will discuss why the show was a success and how those involved hope it can influence more venues and artists to keep sustainability at the top of their minds while on tour. The activation featured a case study with Oak View Group (Pollstar’s parent company) to look deeper into how sustainability practices are feasible and how carbon neutrality can be achieved. “As a company, we see, especially in sports and entertainment, the huge opportunity to influence and change the world for the better,” says Fulmer, head of sustainability at Oak View Group and director of GOAL. OVG360 manages the city-owned Enmarket Arena. “We see our role as implementing positive change as locally as possible. What works in a different market might not make sense in Savannah. We have the ability to be flexible and do what’s best for the community.”

Baird, whose organization Support+Feed helped to bring plant-based meals to Enmarket Arena for the DMB show, says she’s looking forward to Pollstar Live! as a means to show those in the music industry just how impactful they can be when it comes to sustainability.

“I think [people] will be surprised to learn how many things really are in our power,” Baird says. “To affect change in a fairly direct manner and how much people want that. How much artists want that change, and how much of a difference they can make. And so, I think they’ll be surprised to learn all the ways that they can do not only a carbon offset, but a community offset, and support the people that perform at their arenas.”

For Enmarket Arena, which operates as a sustainable venue featuring 100% LED lighting, auto-water faucets, reusable souvenir cups, two ORCA “food waste digesters” that refine food waste into liquid (draining it rather than diverting it to landfill) and electric equipment including forklifts, golf cars and more, having a band such as Dave Matthews proved a massive feat that they hoped could influence more to come.

“Having a band like Dave Matthews Band and that caliber of a show come to our little venue here in Savannah, Georgia, is huge for us,” Badich said shortly after the event. “Then, on top of that, being the opening night is always huge for us, because that’s also a couple of days of rehearsal, which allowed Kristen and I to add some extra stuff on top of the sustainability from an operation standpoint within the venue and extend that a bit.