SXSW Steers the Music Biz onto the Green Track


The ultimate music confab tries to green the biz with model panelists.

Footage from Bruno, the follow-up to Sasha Baron Cohen's Borat, will kick off the SXSW Music and Media Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas this Friday. Cohen's faux Austrian television pop culture hipster might set a wackier tone to the extravaganza. The 9-day trade show and party, focused on the edge of the Film, Interactive and Music scenes, features a feast of world music, showcasing 1,800 acts from 42 countries on 80 stages for the 100,000 attending the event. The event organizers practice sustainability and now offers green tips for the faithful. During the music portion of the shebang, starting March 18, some 80 panels are scheduled with names like "Hip Hop In the Age of Obama," Bloggers Are Now In Charge," "People Who Pay For Music," and "Slaughtering Sacred Cows." A program of eco-friendly discussions try to get musicians and attendees onto the "Green Track:"

#1: Sustainability and Greening
Experts show how to make music green, make money, and make this world a better place. It's moderated by Chris Baumgartner, a Sustainability Consultant with MusicMatters, who works with Incubus, Martin Sexton, Sierra Club, Leave No Trace, and Surfrider and the CLIF Bar GreenNotes program.


It's a gas-gas-gas. Reverb fills up a rocker's tourbus with biofuel. Photo via: Reverb

Panelists include pioneer Brian Allenby of Reverb Rock, an eco-org founded by Guster's Adam Gardner and his wife, Lauren Sullivan, educating fans and assisting musicians with environmental tours, like Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer, Jack Johnson, Bonnie Raitt, Barenaked Ladies, and Sheryl Crow. Also in the green mix, Mike Jbara of Warner Music Group, Joseph Malki of Seven-Star Events (green event planners), and Ryan Mintz, a vegetarian musician, car-free recycler, who has toured via Amtrak, Greyhound and rideshares.

#2: Making a Green Album
Explores the process, from recording to end product with moderator Frank Mauceri, president of Smog Veil Records (headquartered in a LEED-certified building in Chicago), Iliana Pena of the National Audubon Society in Texas, and Stephen Glicken, COO of the sustainably run Green Owl Records, who's worked with P.Diddy, Toni Braxton and De La Soul and just finished a film project with RKF, Jr., Crimes Against Nature.

# 3 British Innovations
Perhaps ahead of the curve (low on landfill/high on will), the Brits share successful initiatives to apply across the murky pond: Matt Booth of Bristol Music Foundation describes his efforts, Karen Emanuel of Key Production, explains eco-friendly manufacturing, and Tanner Watt of the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance, discusses his nonprofit's efforts with developing sustainability in biodiesel.

#4 The Earth-Friendly Artist
This green panel addresses the challenges of being environmental and explores alternative forms of touring, recording and performing. John Billilan of Kufala Recordings chats up eco-friendly CD packaging and Vosotros, a Creative Commons label/management firm; Adams Kirkpatrick of Sunflower Design, tells of green design, Probert.com (a festival sustainability forum) and plans for a sustainability conference in Austin during Fall 2010. Marc Ross, an environmental attorney, speaks of Rock the Earth, an environmental advocacy nonprofit working with the music biz to protect natural resources.

The next day, Quincy Jones gives the Keynote and Devo reunites to perform its satiric sythny, and quirky tunes and discuss the band's "de-evolution" philosophy. There's time to register and walk-up rates are available.

More on SXSW:
TreeHugger.com is SXSW Web Awards Finalist!
Video: NRDC TV - South by Southwest
More on greening the music biz:
The Guardian on Greenest Music: CD or Download?
The Top 5 Buzzworthy Green Musicians of the Moment
Virgin Music Festival Offers Greener Way to Get Your Groove On
100 Percent Solar Powered Music, Brought to You by Turtuga Blanku
Support Musicians Doing Good, Green Things

Tags: Austin | Biodiesel | Green Packaging | Movies | Music

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