Massive Attack has published a Roadmap to Super Low Carbon Live Music, commissioned by the band and produced by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. It is an open resource to the music industry and was commissioned to help the music industry reduce its carbon emissions.

As an immediate response to the research, Massive Attack has designed six modules, which will help them to reduce emissions on their 2022 tour.

Massive Attack is working with industrialist Dale Vince and Ecotricity to design bespoke partnerships with a wide variety of music arenas and venues – the aim is to create greater renewable energy capacity for the UK grid, help train event staff to run and generate sustainable operations, and to introduce vegan food options in front and back of house set ups.

Massive Attack’s Robert del Naja said: “We’re grateful to Tyndall Centre analysts for providing our industry with a comprehensive, independent, scientifically produced formula to facilitate industry compatibility with the Paris/1.5 degrees climate targets – but what matters now is implementation. The major promotors simply must do more – it can’t be left to artists to continually make these public appeals. But our sector is operating in a government void. 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.”

Massive Attack now plan to help contribute rapid answers to a range of questions posed by this report:

  • For indoor shows, which venues can provide “plug and play” options to remove the constant and unnecessary movement of touring production freight? How easily can venues switch their power supplies to genuinely renewable sources that materially increase new solar and wind capacity for the UK grid overall?
  • For the festival sector – facing the inevitability of increased environmental measures within the licensing framework and the urgent replacement of diesel power,  what increased role can central and local government now play in the provision and viability of clean battery technology for festival events? Where can new local and national partnerships be built that plug events into the power grid and create localised supply chains, including catering, services and equipment?
  • And for both: how can we incentivise and enhance audience travel via rail; what role can smart to train ticket packages play? And ultimately for major events, who will be the first to embrace the use of individual chartered trains? Who are the partners to collaborate on the smart-routing tours, adapting transportation possibilities to the lowest carbon emitting option, and test electric freight options and the viability of rail freight networking?

Professor Carly McLachlan, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, said: “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.”

A full summary of the Tyndall Centre key recommendations is now available.

Image: Markus Spiske