Workshop: Greener Touring
Hosts: Claire O’Neill, A Greener Festival / Green Events & Innovations (UK) & Tanner Watt, Reverb (US)
Picking up on topics discussed during the previous day’s Green Events and Innovations Conference, A Greener Festival’s Claire O’Neill and Tanner Watt of Reverb identified a number of issues that they both commonly come across while dealing with the live entertainment sector.
Watt explained that Reverb had been established specifically to help make the touring business more sustainable and, as such, it has a remit to incentivise fans to take action to reduce their carbon footprints. O’Neill observed that their work is a constant evolution that involves reassessing and adapting common practices as new scientific knowledge develops.
Watt highlighted the low-level initiatives that can be adopted backstage in an effort to reduce waste and underlined the importance of educating both the act and crew in order to engage more effectively when it comes to environmental measures. He cited donating leftover catering food, as well as excess hotel shampoos and toiletries to local causes such as homeless programmes as a simple way to cut needless waste. “By getting people on board, the impact increases as participation grows and you win the hearts and minds of people who are on the road,” said Watt.
O’Neill told delegates that it is becoming more common that someone in advancing is tasked with carrying out work with promoters and venues to make sure they are up to speed with the environmental needs of the touring production.
Those in attendance heard that Reverb talks to farmers local to touring destinations to find out what crops are in season, so that those products can be incorporated into show catering. Watt observed that by labelling catering dishes as locally sourced, the concept can be reinforced among artists and crew.
Noting the critical role that research plays in their work, O’Neill stated that there is no point in using compostable items on a tour if the venue does not have the facilities to process the waste. Similarly she advocated the use of sustainable biofuel if it can be sourced locally.
Finally, Watt spoke about Reverb’s use of Fan Action Villages at shows to help reinforce their environmental message and values with fans.