As mentioned on Hugg the other day, Radiohead is concerned about their ecological footprint, and have partnered up with Oxford based company Best Foot Forward to reduce the carbon emissions. The band says "Touring is very important to us, a large part of the joy and passion of what we do, and we are committed to finding more responsible ways of doing it."
After gathering lots of information about their own environmental impact, Radiohead wanted to include their fans' footprint too. Best Foot Forward has analysed the two different types of tours Radiohead recently did in Amercia; the big gigs held out of town versus the smaller ones in city centres. This way they could find out which type of touring has the lowest impact 'per person entertained' as bassist Colin explains on their web site, based on transportation, food consumption and waste left behind by the fans. Because the transport mode of the fans makes a big difference when it comes to carbon emissions and environmental impact, Radiohead encourages people to use public transport to get to their shows. They therefore have decided to play as many gigs as they can in cities because those provide better transport possibilities and don't require private cars to get to the event.
Aileen Morrissey from the Sinnamon Booking Office in Barcelona explains:
Radiohead were very concerned about touring this year, and have been working for a long time on how to reduce their carbon footprint. For our Barcelona festival, they asked us to supply them with information such as the details of public transport to and from the venue and also the city of residence of each ticket holder, in order to calculate the potential distances travelled. The FÃ³rum site in Barcelona is very well connected, with metro, bus and tram lines stopping directly outside. There is also a huge south-facing solar panel at the site which generates electricity and reduces emissions.
Great to see that Radiohead manages to get record labels and festival organisers to take some action too. Aileen from Sinnamon continues: "We would very much like to continue this idea and are looking into all the ways to lessen the impact of the festival on the environment."
The full report by Best Foot Forward can be downloaded here but to give you an idea about the different impacts depending on how you travel to Radiohead's shows, here a few figures from their report:
• If average car occupancy increased from 2.2 to 3, the whole tour's overall CO2 output would be reduced by 22%.
• Halving fans flying would reduce overall CO2 consumption by 5%.
• And if 10% of car users travelled by bus it would reduce CO2 emissions by 7%
This doesn't mean Radiohead leaves it all up to their fans to reduce the ecological footprint of their tours. They themselves opt for sea freighting their gear whenever they can, "which is 93% more efficient than air freighting", says Colin. Plus, this year's resolution is to fly as little as possible when touring, to give up chartered flights and instead, travel by road or rail.