...a growing number of artists and promoters are working in various ways to minimize the negative environmental impact of the rock and roll road show. While it's too early for anyone to declare this a decisive moment in the Greening of Rock, the summer of 2006 might well be remembered as a significant milestone in the evolution of what some see as a necessary — even inevitable — trend.
Concerts ranging from the Dave Matthews Band to the Vans Warped tour are taking the lead on environmental initiatives, from solar-powered stages to biodegradable beer cups.
The Dave Matthews Band, which stopped at the Molson Amphitheatre in June, has vowed to offset 100 per cent of CO2 emissions from all of its past touring, dating back to 1991, by donating to Native Energy, a renewable energy supplier. Other bands, including the Rolling Stones, which pioneered the idea in 2003, are also at the forefront of "carbon neutral" touring, which involves balancing its CO2 output by investing in tree planting and renewable energy sources.
When Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young rolled into the Air Canada Centre last month, they did so on buses powered by vegetable-based biodiesel. The practice is favoured by a slew of other bands, including another recent ACC visitor, Pearl Jam, which this year announced a Carbon Portfolio Strategy that would see the band contribute $100,000 (U.S.) to initiatives promoting renewable energy. Melissa Etheridge, who plays the Hummingbird Centre next month, is another biodiesel proponent.
The kilowatts consumed by last month's Tragically Hip dates at Fort York — performed to a total of 15,000 fans over two nights — were replaced on the electricity grid by Bullfrog Power, an Ontario provider that gets its energy from wind farms and Environment Canada-certified low-impact hydro. Fans also drank from biodegradable beer cups.