NEW YORK – It is often said that fans at live concerts give the band electricity. Coldplay wants to literally use this.
The pop superstars have added kinetic dance floors and stationary energy-saving bikes to their latest world tour, encouraging fans to help in the show’s effect when they dance or spin.
This is part of a bigger push to make the tour more environmentally friendly. The band, whose songs include the apt title “Higher Power”, has promised to be as sustainable and low-carbon as possible, hoping to reduce CO2 emissions by 50 percent.
“You don’t want to look too serious. It’s also a lot of fun, ”said bassist Guy Barryman. “So it will be when people will see it less as some kind of heavy responsibility, and more as an opportunity to do something fun, and it benefits the environment and for the whole concert experience.”
Each kinetic dance floor can accommodate dozens of people, and electricity is generated when moving on them. The band organizes contests before the show to see which group of fans can generate the most energy, fueled by “Jump Around” House of Pain.
And each of the bikes – a minimum of 15, but they can be increased depending on the size of the site – can generate an average of 200 watts of energy, which is captured in the batteries running on the elements of the show.
Coldplay is just one musical act that works to reduce the effects of climate from their tours, which include Billy Isle, Harry Styles, The Lumineers, Dave Matthews Band, Sean Mendes, Maroon 5, John Mayer, Lord, The Chicks, Jason Izbel and 1975.
“The relationship of musicians with millions of their fans is unlike any other relationship of other public figures. This can be a talking example, “said Adam Gardner, founder and co-executive director. Reverb, a non-profit organization that helps bands make their concerts greener. It doesn’t help the Coldplay tour.
Artists reflect the overall push in the entertainment industry – from sports teams to toy manufacturers – to lowering the carbon footprint. A Live Nation study found that 82 percent of live music lovers said they were committed to maintaining an environmentally sustainable lifestyle.
“Being green is not a charitable form of self-denial, more sacred than you. This is a good business model. That’s what we’d like to show, ”said Coldplay vocalist Chris Martin. Guitarist Johnny Buckland added, “It should work.”
Efforts include everything from providing more plant-based food options at concessions and eliminating disposable plastic to rethinking transportation – the most environmentally difficult aspects of touring – for both musicians and fans.
Ailish has promised to exclude from her tour about 35,000 disposable water bottles and offers only vegetarian food behind the scenes. Massive Attack travels by train, and Olivia Rodrigo’s “Sour” goods are 100 percent dyed with organic cotton.
Mendes has promised to reduce the impact of his tour on the environment and emissions by 50 percent per show, using durable fabrics in hoodies and T-shirts, staying in hotels that commit to zero emissions, excluding plastic and using sustainable aviation fuel. Stiles ’recent tour had battery recycling centers, and he donated unused toiletries to the hotel.
Coldplay plans to minimize air travel, but if flights are needed, the band will choose commercial rather than charter – and will use trains and electric vehicles whenever possible. Trucks will use alternative fuels, such as hydrotreated vegetable oil.
“We’ve covered all aspects of the show because there’s nothing you could do that could have a significant impact. Basically, all these changes that you are making are something more impressive in general, ”Barryman said. “Hopefully this will have this ripple effect across our industry.”
The Music of the Spheres stage uses recycled steel, and the band hopes to deploy the world’s first touring battery system made from 40 recycled and recycled BMW electric car batteries. The hope is to power all shows from batteries without the need for mains or diesel generators.
“We are very happy that we have the resources to do this because trying these things for the first time is very expensive,” Martin said. “We are so privileged to be in a position where we can change.”
There are also biodegradable confetti, compost bracelets for spectators, the use of solar panels and a behind-the-scenes generator that runs on vegetable oil. All of the band’s products are ethical sources, and 10 percent of the tour’s net revenue will go to environmental organizations such as The Ocean Cleanup and One Tree Planted.
“We try to do it quite pragmatically and businesslike so that we are not written off as some left-wing lunatics. But it is quite centrist and practical, ”Martin said.
Coldplay drummer Will Champion said the new green technology could be useful to other bands just starting touring, and hoped all music performers would be able to share experiences of what works and what doesn’t.
“The more it exists and the more people take the initiative and come up with new ideas, the faster it becomes the standard for the industry,” he said. “If it gets to the point that it’s simple because it costs as much or less than traditional ways to do it, then the gateways open, and then we make significant changes.”
But change has not always gone smoothly. Coldplay has been accused of environmental work because it collaborates with Neste, which calls itself the world’s largest producer of sustainable biofuels.
The Brussels-based environmental organization Transport and Environment said Neste “documented a link to deforestation and questionable biofuels” such as palm oil or its by-products. But Neste responded that “ordinary palm oil” was not used as a “raw material” in the Coldplay collaboration and hopes to stop using ordinary palm oil by 2023.
“They’re doing their best,” said Carlos Calvo Ambel, senior director of transport and the environment, about Coldplay, “but they may have chosen the wrong consultant.”
Reverb, which since 2004 has helped other groups navigate the complexities of eco-friendliness, offers everything from free water stations to finding local organic and family food near the venue. The nonprofit has helped avoid the use of 4 million disposable water bottles since its inception.
“Our philosophy is that this is not all or nothing. I think that if we make people do everything at once, most of them will not choose anything, ”said Gardner, who is also touring with his band. Guster.
“Some of the artists we work with are ready to jump in, while others are looking at what they can change right away. And I think the most important thing is to start. “
Coldplay doesn’t just promise to cut its own carbon footprint. It also creates incentives for your audience to do the same on the way to the venue.
There is a free app for fans that counts and ranks different ways to travel to a concert – car, public transport, taxi, bike and train, including – with rewards such as discounts on goods for those who make cleaner trips. The band also hopes to make free local public transportation to the concert for fans in America and Europe.
“Everything in our show is really designed to bring everyone together, sing together and wear bracelets. And that’s just an extension of that. It makes us feel alive. It makes us feel part of the community, ”Martin said.