The Most Impactful Show Possible: A Look at Sustainability and the Live Music Industry (Pollstar Live! Panel Recap)

Pictured L-R: Jean-Louis Warnholz (Future), Maggie Baird (Support+Feed), Yasmeen Badich (Enmarket Arena/Oak View Group), Lucy August-Perna (Live Nation) and Kristen Fulmer (GOAL/Oak View Group)

Kristen Fulmer | Oak View Group

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

If the last year has shown us anything, it’s that climate change is already upon us. While the music industry has a long way to go in terms of sustainability and minimizing its carbon footprint, Oak View Group’s Kristen Fulmer and Yasmeen Badich, Live Nation’s Lucy August-Perna, Support+Feed founder Maggie Baird and Future’s Jean-Louis Warnholz are doing their part to minimize the industry’s impact. One of their first steps? A zero-waste Dave Matthews Band show at Enmarket Arena in Savannah, Georgia.

Everyone on the panel teamed up together to try and minimize their environmental impact for the band’s recent tour opener, the event proving to be a success. The team credits the show’s success to Dave Matthews Band’s passion for being environmentally conscious, saying that fans will then come to embrace sustainability themselves if their favorite artists are leading by example.

Future rewarded concert-goers who thrifted, took the bus or electric vehicles and ate plant-based meals by gifting them with show-exclusive merchandise upon arrival (allowing them to not have to wait in line) and free plant-based meals for those who signed up. More plant-based meal options were provided at the venue, with several of the menu items now staying on permanently. While Enmarket itself isn’t a fully sustainable building, it tries to be as sustainably built as it possibly can.

“We started with some bullet points and then it grew and grew,” Badich said. And then we looked at, what can we do in the community? What can we do for the future? What can we keep on the menu? So, that’s where we started, and I think it ended up being fantastic. We had previously done some small-scale stuff, Lumineers and Morgan Wallen, but nothing to this scale. So, the fact that we were able to see what we could do and then continue to work on it was awesome for us and our team. Kristen’s passion, Dave Matthews Band’s passion, his fans only helped. I think it inspired not only the community to be a part of it, coming to these shows, but also to look at future shows and just regular days, and what we can continue doing.”

The panel also emphasized the need for venues, promoters and everyone else sitting in the room to think of sustainability now, and that they don’t need to wait for an artist to come in and make suggestions themselves. Badich shared that Enmarket was able to find success with the Dave Matthews show because they began small, asking themselves how they could improve on what they were already doing and focus on manageable projects, not biting off more than they could chew. “Fill those holes, those partnerships. Inspire your teams,” she said during the panel.

Baird announced that Support+Feed is now working with more artists and wants to expand its organization. She says that while reusable water bottles and green energy are important, one of the easiest ways to be more sustainable is to have, if not a fully plant-based menu, one that has primarily more plant-based food options.

“I’m really excited that this is part of the conversation finally, because it has been a silent issue,” Baird said.