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How to Green Your Concerts Without Breaking the Bank - Reverb

How to Green Your Concerts
Without Breaking the Bank
Created for NACPA
Fall 2011
Ok, so the term “green” has been thrown around a lot lately—perhaps to the point where
you roll your eyes into the back of your head.
Or maybe you like the idea of lightening your concert event’s load on the planet in theory,
but aren’t sure where to start the process or feel like it simply isn’t feasible. If this sounds
familiar, then this document was made for you.
In the following pages, we’ll walk you through some simple steps that will result in real and
measurable benefits not only for the earth, but for your business as well. You read that
right: you can improve your bottom line, increase fan satisfaction, and strengthen
relationships with artists, all while doing better for the environment!
We understand the hurdles you face financially, contractually, with regards to time
management and staffing. Our goal is simply to help you get started down the path—it’s
not an “all-or-nothing” proposition. And if you have already initiated some greening
efforts, this may help you add a few more.
6 Ways You
Can Go Green
Provide fans alternative ways to
get to the show like ridesharing
& public transportation.
Amplify the effect of your
actions by connecting fans to
local environmental groups.
Adopt energy efficient practices
and incorporate new products
and technologies, to save
money in the near term.
Set up a comprehensive
recycling program with your
waste management provider.
NACPA partnered with the non-profit group, Reverb, to speak with various promoters and
venue operators across the country to get a “lay of the land” as far as their interests,
challenges and abilities to go green. In addition to the data collected in this process,
Reverb has extensive experience in the live music industry: greening over 100 major tours
and thousands of concert events including Jack Johnson, Coldplay, Dave Matthews Band,
Drake, Arcade Fire, John Mayer, Maroon 5, Sheryl Crow, Phish, John Legend, the Honda
Civic Tour and many more.
Conserve water by retrofitting
restrooms and reduce plastic
waste from single use water
After gathering a rich and textured picture of the situation along with many great success
stories from the field, NACPA asked Reverb to present the following suggestions to help
encourage concert promoters and venues start down the path of green. We identified the
top six areas of impact with simple solutions, specific examples of where the proposed
solution has been shown to be effective, and a few resources to get you rolling.
Apply the same principles of
greening your concert events to
your office work environment.
So without further ado…
1 fan transportation
Provide fans with alternative ways to get to the show (like
ridesharing & public transportation). This will reduce parking
staff costs and allow fans to get in and out of the show more
quickly, resulting in a happier fan!
Amazingly, up to 70% of the carbon footprint of an average concert is
from fans traveling to and from the show. The average trip to and from a
concert is around 70 miles round trip. Multiply this by 2,000 cars and you’re
looking at over 140,000 lbs of CO2 being produced from one concert!
By promoting and incentivizing the use of existing public transportation
infrastructure (buses, trains, subways, etc.) and ridesharing, you will not only
cut down on the carbon footprint of your event, but also will be giving fans
the tools to implement these changes in their own lives on a daily basis.
There are virtually no additional costs for sharing this information with fans since
many online ridesharing services are free of charge and public transportation
information is readily available online. As an added benefit, fans who take
public transportation can buy that extra beer since they won’t be driving!
Environmental Impact
Implementation Difficulty
Financial Benefit
Simple Solutions
Integrate an online
carpooling program into your
website. It’s free for you and
will give fans an easy way to
travel to and from the show.
effective solutions in action
The Comcast Center (Mansfield, MA) has implemented an incentive-based carpooling program. When fans arrive at the venue,
vehicles containing four or more passengers are allowed access to an express lane to drive directly to a preferred parking
lot nearest to the gates. The use of this express lane and reduced inventory has actually decreased the number of parking
attendants needed! The venue has also received great feedback from carpoolers who were happy not to wait so long to get in
and out of the venue!
Free online ridesharing for events, organizations and businesses
Information on all types of public transportation in many markets
Google Maps Public Transportation
Integrated public transportation directions to and from just about anywhere
How to Green Your Concerts Without Breaking the Bank
Page 3
2 environmental education
Amplify the effect of your actions by connecting fans to local
environmental groups. By bringing wider attention to these
community groups at your events, you will show how your
company is a conscientious and friendly corporate citizen.
There are almost 200 environmental non-profit organizations in the state of California
alone! One of the largest challenges for every grassroots environmental organization
is reaching large numbers of people at once. You have the solution to their problem!
By inviting environmental organizations to connect with fans at your events, you’re
ensuring that the positive environmental actions you have taken on site will be
seen and appreciated by thousands of fans, and those fans will take these same
actions home to share with families, friends, coworkers and school-mates.
There are relatively no costs involved with inviting local organizations
to provide important sustainability information at your events. All you
need to do is provide a table and they will do the rest! This is good PR,
helps the local groups and spreads goodwill about your efforts.
Environmental Impact
Implementation Difficulty
Financial Benefit
Simple Solutions
Connect with four local
non-profit groups and set
up a weekly rotation for
tabling at your concerts.
effective solutions in action
Best Buy Theater (New York, NY) is located in the heart of Times Square, which is not exactly top on the list of anyone’s 100
best environmental locales. This hasn’t stopped them from inviting a number of local and national environmental groups to
their lobby to educate guests during shows since they opened six years ago. “As a venue, many of our environmental efforts
like energy-related best practices and the use of green cleaning products are behind the scenes, so it means a lot to us and
even more to our fans when we can bring out a great environmental group to share in the concert experience and provide our
fans with some interesting and useful information” says Blake Henry, GM of Best Buy Theater.
The definitive list of non-profit organizations along with access to financial records, annual reports and more
Just like the name says, pick a topic and this site will help you find a group who’s out there working on it
A great list of non-profit organizations in many markets
How to Green Your Concerts Without Breaking the Bank
Page 4
3 energy efficiency
By shifting some common practices and incorporating new
products and technologies, you can save money in the near term.
If there’s one thing a concert uses a lot of -- it’s energy. Whether it’s electricity
for sound and lights or heat for a drafty old venue, energy consumption not only
creates a negative environmental impact, but a financial one as well. There are
many quick and easy solutions to keep your energy bills in line: installing motion
detector light switches, maintaining a dark stage when possible and switching to
more energy efficient Energy Star appliances (air conditioners, bathroom handdryers, refrigerators, etc.) If you control heating and cooling, make sure you’re using
a programmable thermostat to control the temperature when you’re not around.
Unbeknownst to many, the Federal government, along with states and
municipalities, have a myriad of programs in place to encourage businesses
to go green. From tax incentives to rebates, the next time you consider
making a capital improvement, investigate the many energy efficient options
that are available to you. Some of these choices might be more expensive
on the front end, but will likely save big bucks in the long run!
effective solutions in action
Environmental Impact
Implementation Difficulty
Financial Benefit
Simple Solutions
Check with your utility to
see if you qualify for any
grants, subsidies or rebates
for going green. You’d be
surpised how much money
is out there for the taking!
In depth database of all state, local,
federal and Utility energy efficiency rebate
The US Department of Energy guide
for all kinds of information on energy
efficiency and renewable energy projects
The EPA’s guide to energy efficiency
for your home, business and many
products and appliances
LED Lighting
Midland Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri is an historic theatre built in 1927, and listed on the National Register of Historic
Places. Even with the challenges of maintaining the aesthetic of the original marquee, Midland staff exchanged over
4,400 25-watt incandescent bulbs with new 8-watt compact florescent bulbs that will put out more than 25 percent more
light. The initial investment was $36,000, but it will save them over $28,000 per year paying them back in 1.2 years.
Uses at least 75% less energy than incandescent
lighting, saving on operating expenses.
Motion Detector Light Switches
With a low investment you can save big!
CFL Light Bulbs
Last up to 10 times as long and can save up
to 75% per year for equivalent wattage
Weather Stripping
Low tech, Low cost, but significant yields,
paying for themselves in only one year!
How to Green Your Concerts Without Breaking the Bank
Page 5
4 recycling
Garbage is expensive! By setting up a comprehensive recycling
program with your waste management provider, you can cut down
on your waste-hauling bill, while putting forward a concrete and
visible environmental effort for the fans.
Environmental Impact
You know how the floor or lawn looks at the end of a show. Much of what goes into
the trash at the end of the night could be recycled. Ask local waste providers what
is recyclable in your area (it varies by municipality), and try to match what is readily
recyclable with what products you are distributing to fans. Working with concessionaires
to use recyclable catering products to increase the percentage of recyclable content will
significantly reduce the amount of garbage (and garbage hauling costs) that you create.
Financial Benefit
Once you have the back end ready to rock, the other key element to a successful
recycling program is proper waste “capture.” Amazingly, in 2008, Americans
generated about 250 million tons of trash and only recycled and composted 33%
of this waste! Clearly marked bins, signage and properly trained staff will go a long
way toward fans disposing of garbage and recycling in their respective receptacles.
When implementing a new waste management and recycling system, consider
bringing in local non-profit recycling experts who can not only train your staff, but
also the general public. Some fun recycling contests can go a long way too!
Simple Solutions
effective solution in action
Implementation Difficulty
Check in with your waste
management company
to find out what can be
recycled in your area.
You might be surprised to
find out that some of the
items that you’re throwing
away can be recycled!
When Steve Liberatore of U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, OH, was tasked with finding a creative solution to promote the
venue’s recycling program, he enlisted the help of their waste management provider, Rumke. Together, they created
a unique sponsorship that allows both parties to benefit, while engaging fans at the same time. The first fan spotted
recycling at many events is now treated to a prize from Rumke highlighting their green action. “We were really excited
to inform our patrons of our recycling efforts and we came up with a clever way of showcasing it. The �Caught Green
Handed’ promotion that we run during our hockey games has been well received by fans and has been an easy way
to let everyone know that we recycle here at U.S. Bank Arena.” says Kristin Ropp, GM of U.S. Bank Arena.
Your Local Waste Management Provider
Start the conversation with your local waste management provider. You might be surprised by what they offer!
A leading national waste management provider that has a number of environmentally beneficial programs
The makers of some of the most solid, simple, inexpensive recycling bins out there
Online search engine for those hard-to-recycle items
How to Green Your Concerts Without Breaking the Bank
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5 water conservation
Bathrooms are water hogs. Single-use water bottles are expensive
and create waste. Here are some ways to tame the water beast…
Over the next 50 years, the cost of water will skyrocket as the worlds population
continues to increase and access to fresh water decreases. Installing low-flow
sinks, showers and toilets is a great place to start, and while you’re at it, look
into purchasing an Energy Star rated water heater. Water-free urinals are an
excellent solution saving up to 60,000 gallons of water per unit annually. Where
possible, consider collecting rainwater to irrigate your lawn or green spaces.
After rest rooms, one of the next largest uses of water at a concert is single-use
plastic water bottles. In 2007, bottled water production in the US alone used enough
energy to fuel about 1.5 million cars for the year! In an effort to curtail the waste
from these bottles (even if they are recycled, we have needlessly created another
piece of petroleum based plastic) many events have offered water stations to artists,
staff and fans where reusable water bottles can be refilled. You will be pleasantly
surprised at the financial savings you see as the cases of single-use plastic water
bottles disappear and you don’t have to deal with recycling so many bottles!
effective solutions in action
Environmental Impact
Implementation Difficulty
Financial Benefit
Simple Solutions
Fill a plastic water bottle
or two with sand, cap it
and put in the toilet tank
to reduce the amount of
water used per flush.
Water-free Urinals
Water Sense (
An EPA-run wastewater efficiency program
with numerous resources and tips
The Surfrider Foundation has great
tips on reducing your water use
One of the simplest solutions for a mobile
water station for any type of location
The journal for water resource
management, with tips and articles
It’s hard to not think about water when you’re at The Gorge Amphitheatre (George, WA) perched majestically above the
Columbia River. With such an immediate connection to water, it’s a good thing the venue practices water efficiency. In addition
to low-flow sinks and toilets, The Gorge actively recycles grey water from showers and introduces it back into the ecosystem.
Believe it or not, these don’t smell any worse than
traditional water-waster urinals and can provide
60,000 gallons of water savings annually!
Low-flow shower head & Sinks
85 billion gallons of water per year could be
saved if everyone in the United States used just
one less gallon of water per shower each day!
Water Stations
Install water stations backstage for artists and front
of house for fans. Encourage everyone to use
reusable water bottles to cut down on plastic waste.
How to Green Your Concerts Without Breaking the Bank
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6 office greening
Now that you’ve implemented changes at your concerts, don’t
forget your office! Many of the same simple changes can add up
to some environmental and financial savings!
Each of the five areas of greening actions mentioned above can be very
easily translated to apply to just about any office space. While recycling,
water conservation and energy efficiency programs for 15,000 fans
might be a bit more visible to the public, it’s just as important to practice
those same good habits backstage and in the office as well.
Simple steps can go a long way when added up over time. Turn off the lights when
leaving a room - or even better, install motion detectors that will do this for you!
Did you know that even when you turn off an appliance, it often continues
to use power? Instead of flipping the switch, pull the plug! Use less paper
in the copier when possible, making sure to print on both sides. When
purchasing office products, try to buy environmentally friendly products like
eco-friendly cleaning supplies, recycled paper and recycling bins. Consider
implementing employee incentives and contests to reward good behavior.
You will be surprised how much folks are willing to do for the right carrot!
Environmental Impact
Implementation Difficulty
Financial Benefit
Simple Solutions
As each of your lightbulbs
burns out, make sure to
replace with an energy
efficient CFL model.
They’ll last longer and
save you money!
effective solutions in action
Here at the Reverb office, we’ve taken some simple steps to make our operation a little greener. Each employee is outfitted
with a reusable water bottle to fill up at our office bubbler, all of the cleaning products used in the office are either homemade or
environmntally friendly, we’ve swapped out all of our overhead lights with energy efficient CFLs and lastly we all ride our bikes or
walk to work almost every day.
The Natural Resources Defense Council has a number of excellent recommendations for ways to keep your
office space green while saving money
If you’re looking for information about how to keep your work place and home green, this is a great site
The US Green Building Council is the organization behind the LEED certification standard. They have many
tips on their website about the best ways to go green in your work space.
How to Green Your Concerts Without Breaking the Bank
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Reverb Commentary
Since starting our work in 2004, we’ve seen many positive changes in the live music community as we move toward more earthfriendly practices. In the beginning, much of the progress was made by touring musicians engaging in environmental efforts to
rectify the lack of standardized greening practices from venues and promoters at the time. We are excited to see increasing
numbers of venues and promoters “catching up” to the way many green-minded artists are doing business and responding in a
manner that is not only positive but collaborative. For instance, where once touring artists had to carry their own recycling bins and
find their own way to properly dispose of those items, it is now commonplace to find proper recycling facilities at most venues. If
you don’t have proper recycling yet, we hope you take a look at #4 on our green list and try to make it happen - it’s the most eyecatching effort you can make to bands and fans alike!
As these greening programs continue to develop, and expand to venues across the country, there is no question that collaboration
is the best way forward - not just between artists and promoters but also amongst promoters themselves. Even direct competitors
benefit from sharing best environmental practices. This is “a rising tide lifts all boats” situation where everyone wins: the fans have
a better concert experience, the bands appreciate the efforts they see around them, and the promoter is the big hero to both fans
and bands while saving money and the planet at the same time!
Reverb is honored to have worked with so many great folks in the live music sphere and look forward to seeing the tide continue to
turn toward a more sustainable live music industry.
Additional Project Background
As you now know, NACPA has partnered with Reverb to analyze the potential impact that promoters could have with a framework
designed to assist with the implementation of an environmental strategy. In the previous pages, we’ve walked through some simple
steps that will result in real and measurable benefits not only for the Earth, but also for your business. We also want to give a bit
more context around the development of this project as well as proper credit to those who have helped make this project a
Phase 1
Reverb provided a detailed synopsis of the current concert industry regarding sustainability challenges and opportunities by
developing an online survey that was distributed to over 30 promoters and venues across the country. Following the online
submission, Reverb followed up with individual phone calls to review answers and dig a bit deeper.
Phase 2
To provide an insider view of the peculiarities of the industry and how the concert business is different than other businesses
with regard to implementing sustainability solutions, Reverb conducted interviews with Reverb staff members on the road with
the 2010 & 2011 tours to get a true sense of how far the industry had come with regard to environmental sustainability.
Phase 3
With data from Phases 1 & 2, Reverb developed a detailed yet concise list of effective environmental solutions for concert
promoters and venues to consider. Additional resources were provided, including local and national partners as well as links
to resources that concert promoters and venues can contact for further information.
Reverb owes a debt of gratitude to all those parties who took part in the online survey earlier this year. The information presented in
the pages above is a direct result of the time and energy shared by a number of promoters and venue operators. We would also
like ot extend a special thank you to Ben & Cynthia Liss for their patience, input and guiding hand in this project.
How to Green Your Concerts Without Breaking the Bank
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