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UK live sector commits to reaching net zero by 2030

The UK’s live sector has committed to reaching net-zero emissions by the year 2030, as part of a new campaign to deliver climate action.

The campaign, spearheaded by LIVE Green – the sustainability arm of live music umbrella trade body LIVE, will set out a roadmap for how live music businesses can accelerate their transition to a low carbon future in line with the Paris Agreement.

The initiative will also provide research, expertise and cross-industry innovation in order to support the sector’s transition to a regenerative future, and will aim to ensure meaningful climate investments are made to achieve the sector’s collective targets.

All 13 association members of LIVE – including AIF, MVT, NAA and CPA – have ratified a voluntary sector-specific commitment to deliver measurable and targeted action on climate change.

“We are now at a tipping point for our climate: this is not a rehearsal”

Signatories of the ‘Beyond Zero Declaration’ agree to:

· Work with LIVE Green to set reduction targets and reduce operational and business travel Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, reporting on progress annually.

· Develop a net-zero roadmap and action plan – taking responsibility for actions in energy, waste, procurement, transport, food and governance.

· Understand and define emissions within value chains, follow best practice to affect change in areas outside of direct control and collaborate with suppliers and clients to reduce them.

· Ensure staff undertake climate education and have an ongoing commitment to knowledge sharing within the live music sector and beyond.

Members of Live Green’s working group include Julie’s Bicycle, AGreenerFestival, Powerful Thinking, Vision: 2025 and The Tour Production Group.

John Langford, AEG Europe COO and chair of LIVE Green, says: “We are now at a tipping point for our climate: this is not a rehearsal.

“Although there has been significant progress across the live music sector, now is the time to accelerate our efforts”

“We want to tap into the power of music to help deliver a step-change in the environmental impact of our sector – from carbon emissions through to plastic waste – helping us demonstrate that moving faster towards decarbonisation is a route to a competitive advantage.”

Tom Schroeder, Partner at Paradigm Talent Agency, added: “There can be no shying away from the environmental impact of our global business, and although there has been significant progress across the live music sector, now is the time to accelerate our efforts.

“By bringing together the active specialists and initiatives under one banner, LIVE Green is pioneering a means to fast-track decarbonisation across the sector through education, awareness and tangible action. We look forward to building on the sector’s progress so far, to make our low carbon future a reality.”

LIVE builds on significant efforts across the sector to boost sustainability, ranging from the end of single-use plastic at festivals to sector-wide efforts to reduce the environmental impact of touring.

The Beyond Zero Declaration was revealed at today’s (16 September) Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI), followed by a discussion between Langford, Stuart Galbraith (Kilimanjaro Live), Clementine Bunel (Paradigm), artist Sam Lee and Chiara Badiali (Julie’s Bicycle).


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Massive Attack rallies gov for carbon emissions plan

British band Massive Attack are calling on the government to introduce a plan to cut carbon emissions in the live music business.

It comes after the band commissioned the University of Manchester for a report on the issue using their tour data.

The result of the report is a resource entitled ‘Roadmap To Super Low Carbon Live Music’ which is designed to support the sector’s reduction of emissions in line with the UN Paris Agreement.

While the report makes a number of recommendations for sectors across the live industry, Massive Attack’s Robert del Naja (aka 3D) says the sector ultimately needs more government support in order to achieve its goal.

“Our sector is operating in a government void”

“Our sector is operating in a government void,” says Robert del Naja (aka 3D), Massive Attack. “Nine weeks out of COP26, where is the industrial plan, or any plan at all, for the scale of transformation that’s required for the UK economy and society?

“Fossil fuel companies seem to have no problem at all getting huge subsidies from government, but where is the plan for investment in clean battery technology, clean infrastructure or decarbonised food supply for a live music sector that generates £4.6 billion for the economy every year & employs more than 200k dedicated people? It simply doesn’t exist.”

The report lists a number of actions for local and national governments including:

“We hope that this roadmap can help to catalyse change by outlining the scale of action required”

Some of the key recommendations for the live music industry include:

Professor Carly McLachlan from the University of Manchester’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, says: “We hope that this roadmap can help to catalyse change by outlining the scale of action required and how this maps across the different elements of a tour. To reduce emissions in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, touring practices need to be reassembled differently as the industry emerges from the significant challenges that the pandemic has created.

“This starts from the very inception of a tour and requires the creativity and innovation of artists, managers, promoters, designers and agents to be unleashed to establish new ways of planning and delivering live music tours.”

Christopher Jones from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research will be presenting the ‘Roadmap To Super Low Carbon Live Music’ at the Green Events and Innovations Conference’s (GEI) upcoming Summer Edition – tickets for which are on sale now.

 


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Tim Leiweke: “Climate change is the fight of our lives”

Oak View Group (OVG) co-founder and chief executive Tim Leiweke has issued a call to arms for the live entertainment industry to take action on climate change.

“Climate change is without a doubt the fight of this generation’s lives,” he tells IQ. “At OVG, we believe that we, along with the whole live entertainment industry, have a unique opportunity to inspire others to take action on this era-defining issue,” adding that sustainability is one of OVG’s core values.

The global sports and entertainment company, along with ecommerce giant Amazon, is a few months out from opening the world’s first carbon neutral venue, Climate Pledge Arena (CPA) in Seattle.

“It hasn’t been easy, but I’m proud and excited that CPA will become the world’s first certified carbon neutral arena when it opens later this year. It’s also going to lead the way with commitments to zero waste from events and using recycled rainwater to service the NHL ice-rink,” explains Leiweke.

OVG and Amazon have set their sights on the 18,100-seat arena becoming ‘the most progressive, responsible, and sustainable arena in the world’ – a commitment underpinned by four goals.

The first goal is to maintain CPA’s carbon elimination by eschewing fossil fuel consumption for daily use; generating renewable energy from onsite solar panels; reducing all carbon emission activities and offsetting those not possible – like transportation – by purchasing credible carbon offsets.

“We have a unique opportunity to inspire others to take action on this era-defining issue”

CPA will also aim to eliminate single use plastics and achieve zero waste by ‘greatly simplifying the supply chain’.

Finally, the arena, home to ice hockey team NHL Seattle, will conserve water via its ‘rain to rink’ system which will harvest water off the roof and collect into a 15,000-gallon cistern. According to OVG, the system will save 50,000 gallons annually.

Other ways the CPA will conserve water include waterless urinals and ‘ultra-efficient’ showers, significant on-site retention tanks reducing stormwater runoff and water bottle filling stations throughout the arena.

Beyond this the CPA will have an advisory committee with partners at Amazon; create transparency and public reporting on initiatives progress; host arena events that celebrate the environment and its commitment to green operations; partner with educational institutions to utilise the arena as a classroom for environmental education.

Leiweke says that OVG is taking the learnings from CPA to guide future projects: “All of our arenas in both the US and around the world, from the UBS Arena in New York to Co-op Live in Manchester, are putting sustainability at the heart of both design and operations”.

If all goes according to plan, the UBS Arena (cap. 19,000) in Belmont Park, New York, won’t be far behind CPA in achieving a carbon-neutral status.

The arena, scheduled to open in time for the 2021-2022 National Hockey League season, is projected to be 100% carbon neutral by 2024 – which will make it the first to do so on the East Coast of the US.

“Climate Pledge Arena is going to lead the way with commitments to zero waste from events”

The UBS Arena is currently being built to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for New Construction (Leed) standards.

Elsewhere, Manchester’s Co-op Live (cap. 23,500) is leading the way for environmentally sustainable arenas in the UK, both in terms of design and future commitments.

The roof alone boasts 10,500 square-metres (1.5x a football pitch) of rooftop solar panels, air source heat pumps, high spec insulation and façade designed to reduce cooling and heating requirements.

The venue’s architecture is paired with renewable energy, low carbon technologies and intelligent building controls such as LED lighting design and smart building systems to minimise energy use).

Plus, in a bid to meet Manchester City Council’s 2038 net zero carbon goal, the venue is also using 100% electric fuel.

Taking note from CPA, Co-op Live will also use 100% rainwater harvesting for toilet flushing, bathroom use and water efficient catering, and will aim to be zero waste.

The Co-op Live development is targeting Breeam (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) ‘excellent’ accreditation.

Other arenas OVG is currently developing include Moody Center, Austin; Coachella Valley Arena, Palm Springs; Savannah Arena; Cardiff Bay Arena; and Santa Guilia, Milan.

 


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Live music amplifies XR’s International Rebellion

Artists and DJs including Massive Attack, Declan McKenna, Orbital and Rob da Bank are bringing the noise this month’s climate protests, where a team of music programmers are risking arrest to provide a musical accompaniment to the demonstrations.

The two-week ‘International Rebellion’, organised by pressure group Extinction Rebellion (XR), began on Monday, and sees activists call on governments around the world take urgent action to tackle global warming.

In London – home to one of the largest of the protests, which are also taking place in 59 other cities worldwide – demonstrators have at various times shut down down Whitehall, the Mall, Westminster Bridge, Downing Street, London City Airport and, most recently, the BBC’s New Broadcasting House headquarters.

The London ‘rebellion’ is “decentralised” and divided into 12 zones, an XR spokesperson tells IQ, with entertainment duties on each site overseen by one or more programmer.

“We’ve had a hell of a lot of people that want to perform at all the sites,” says Sam Weatherald, music programmer at Global Justice Rebellion, which is looking for a new home after being evicted from St James’s Park yesterday. “There’s a big [XR] database for everyone who’s interested, because we’ve had so many people saying they want to play.”

” Music is really great to get the message across”

Acts booked by Weatherald, also co-founder of Antenna Collective, for St James’s Park include rapper Dizraeli, reggae band the Majestic and sitarist-cellist Pete Yelding.

Anthony McGinley, aka DJ Absolute, is based in Trafalgar Square, where XR activists secretly set up a large stage for speeches and live performance. Artists who have played or will play in the square include Disclosure, Orbital, Johnny Flynn and Rob da Bank, DJ and founder of Bestival, as well as members of Pumarosa and Mystery Jets.

“Everyone I’ve asked to play has said ‘yes’,” comments McGinley. “It’s a cause I think a lot of musicians are passionate about. And it feels really good for me, personally, to be able to use my skillset and passions to do something to highlight [XR’s activism].”

Elsewhere, Massive Attack played all 12 sites earlier this week, according to the XR spokesperson, by moving around with a sound system in a backpack, while Declan McKenna played a free show on the Mall – the singer-songwriter’s first in a year.

Weatherald says it’s important to make use of music and arts to address social issues, noting that his and other International Rebellion sites are “chocka with heavy political and social issues, talks and workshops, so it’s really important to have the music there. Music is really great to get the message across.”

“It’s beautiful to see everyone coming together”

But it’s not without its challenges, adds McGinley. “The goalposts have obviously been moving a lot with this – there are all these external forces impacting on what we’re trying to do, so there’s been a lot of solving problems that have come up on the night,” he says.

“Seeing all the raids happening is a bit scary, and it can be disheartening when you’ve planned something only to see it get shut down. [At press time, in excess of 1,000 protesters had been arrested.] So there are a lot of mixed emotions, But also some really amazing highlights – it’s beautiful to see everyone coming together.”

The International Rebellion protests follow a busy summer of festival appearances for Extinction Rebellion activists. Melvin Benn, managing director of Festival Republic, told IQ last month there were 60% fewer tents left behind at its events this summer as a result of XR’s involvement. “I’ve been asking people for ten years not to leave their tents,” he said. “But the first year I get Extinction Rebellion involved, everyone takes them home!”

Other International Rebellion events are taking place in cities including Paris, Madrid, New York, Hong Kong, Toronto, Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City and Melbourne.

 


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UK industry declares ‘climate emergency’

A coalition of UK artists, music companies and associations have issued a declaration of a ‘climate and ecological emergency’, calling on governments to do more to combat global warming while pledging to make their businesses more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

The declaration, issued today (12 July), is administered by the newly formed Music Declares Emergency (MDE) group. Signatories include promoters SJM Concerts, Festival Republic and Crosstown Concerts, Coda Agency, Music Venue Trust, artists Suede, Wolf Alice and Idles, and several labels and music publishers.

Alison Tickell, MD of Julie’s Bicycle, a member of the MDE working group, says the declaration represents a significant moment in the British music industry’s collective response to climate change. “It has never been more important to understand the gravity of the climate crisis and to do more,” says Tickell. “Music Declares Emergency was created to enable the UK music industry to declare a climate and ecological emergency, to accelerate collaboration and ambition in order to meet critical targets, and to call on government to use their policy and investment tools to help us to reach those goals.”

The declaration reads:

We will:

“We face a climate and ecological emergency and the only proportionate response is to act boldly and act now”

Mike Smith, managing director of MDE signatory Warner Chappell Music UK, comments: “It’s vital that we back this campaign. The threat from climate change is real and we all need to play our part in combating it. Music may not have the impact of some other industries, but we can still do more to reduce our own carbon footprint and use our platform to spread the message that action needs to be taken.”

“As I sat at a music festival in the desert, watching Extinction Rebellion’s action unfold so beautifully in London, I realised that something had to change,” adds Savages drummer and MDE working group member Fay Milton. “It seemed like the music world had lost touch with reality, partying like there’s no tomorrow, when ‘no tomorrow’ has become the forecast. On realising I wasn’t alone with these thoughts, Music Declares Emergency was born.

“The momentum of support has been huge and making a declaration is just the first step to creating real change. We face a climate and ecological emergency and the only proportionate response is to act boldly and act now.”

Organisations and individuals in the music industry can sign the declaration at www.musicdeclares.net.

Sustainability in the live business and the industry’s response to climate change will once again take centre stage at the 12th Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI), which takes place next March. GEI11 saw MDE signatory Coda partner with A Greener Festival to launch the first-ever Green Artist Rider

 


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