Massive Attack commission research to help reduce the carbon footprint of live music events

Image by Warren Du Preez & Nick Thornton

Massive Attack are calling on the government to initiate plans to reduce carbon emissions produced by concerts and live music events. The iconic band commissioned a report called the Roadmap To Super Low Carbon Live Music in association with the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research to identify ways musicians could cut their carbon footprint while touring. The report recommends that artists should get rid of private jet travel and reduce the amount of kit taken on tour. 

Massive Attack founding member Rob “3D” Del Naja elaborated on the decision to formulate the report, “We looked at our last tour and thought, you know, we’ve allocated x amount of money based on the calculation of the carbon we produced in the tour in 2018. And then it was like, are we just going to go on another offset, or should we do something a little bit more interesting and radical?” 

Del Naja also criticised the British government for their lack of support in assisting the music industry to reduce its carbon footprint. Speaking to The Guardian, he continued:

 “The live music industry, especially after Brexit, is so important to national identity and self-esteem. It’s one of the few areas you could describe as genuinely world-class and has a vast social and economic value, as well-reported, generating over £4.6bn for the economy every year and employing thousands of dedicated people. But where is the government planning to support the rate of adaption we’re going to need to hit compatibility with [the Paris agreement]? It doesn’t seem to exist. The data [from the report] is not surprising, it’s the strategy that’s missing here.”

Del Naja also expressed disappointment at his industry peers for not meeting the carbon pledges previously outlined, citing Coldplay’s choice to stop touring until it was a more environmentally friendly endeavour as an example. Other suggestions outlined by the Roadmap To Super Low Carbon Live Music report include:

  • Use of energy efficient lighting and tech
  • Implementation of renewable energy sources such as solar power at venues 
  • Use of trains and electric vehicles to travel between destinations 
  • Promoting the use of public transport for fans 

Del Naja believes that change is more than possible, suggesting that “plug and play” gigs should become more common practice for artists. Speaking to the BBC, he specified, ”When we turn up at festivals, we use the same gear. We get on the same stage. Most of the stuff we use is pretty similar. It sounds crazy that bands are crisscrossing the same highways at night with the same gear with the same big lorries – it’s unnecessary.”