The green supergroup performs John Lennon's "Instant Karma (We All Shine On)." Photos by RCruger
It's an eco-SWAT team: members of Dave Matthews Band, Maroon 5, The Roots, and Guster mingled with music biz denizens, environmental nonprofits, and earth-friendly music fans to party with purpose. Brought together by Reverb, which has greened more than 85 rock tours since 2004, the newly formed Green Music Group gathered over Grammy weekend for a jam session at Jane's House, as an alternative to Hollywood's glitzy galas. Launching an impressive eco-coalition, the GMG intends to turn up the volume on greening the music industry. Do the Union of Concerned Scientists and Barenaked Ladies seem an unlikely partnership?
Jeff Garlin, producer/star of Curb Your Enthusiasm chats with the Sierra Club. Laurie David of Stop Global Warming also hung out without her ex/Garlin's co-star, Larry David.
How about Linkin Park and the Wolftrap National Park for the Performing Arts? Willie Nelson and the Brooklyn Bowl? All these acts, plus other founding members, Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Jack Johnson's Brushfire Records, and the Warner Music Group, have joined forces with nonprofits and venues around the country to create a supergroup of green power.
"We're putting muscle behind our efforts," says Elliot May of Reverb, manager of Strategic Partnerships, who handles everything from collaborative educational campaigns to tour sponsorships with environmentally-minded businesses like Clif Bar's Green Notes.
The brainchild of Guster's Adam Gardner and his wife Lauren Sullivan, Reverb noticed that lots of separate efforts could have more impact collectively as a high-profile community. On its own, the eco-org has worked with 1,783 enviro-groups and reduced CO2 by 67,000 tons. It's greened tours, from Coldplay to John Legend, with biodiesel fueled buses, recycling, reusable bottles for band and crew, and backstage catering with organic food served in biodegradable products. They also do fan outreach with Eco-Villages, and guide venues and events, such as the upcoming reignited Lilith Festivals. This new coalition seeks to amp up efforts, May explained:
Partnering with all these entities, which we've been working with individually, is a way to sharpen the teeth on environmental issues. We're in a unique position to glue all these aspects of the music community together and create environmental change in the industry. To make our projects more sustainable and reach the next level, the Green Music Group brings bands and nonprofits together, like the Hip-Hop Caucus with venerable institutions like Oxfam.
Starting in March, every month will present a new challenge, starting simply with the Sierra Club and Barenaked Ladies hooking up to get people outside on its trails. Future campaigns will involve Headcount and 1Sky for voting or the Slow Food movement for eating sustainably. With each call-to-action GMG will connect a musical artist with a nonprofit partner, using the organizations' tools to engage fans.
Other nonprofits in this eco-collaboration include: Do Something, Climate Counts, Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance, venues such as Miami's American Airlines arena and Massachusetts' Comcast Center, and Linkin Park's Music for Relief which has planted nearly a million trees and raised $3 million.
Sign up with Green Music Group to received an email newsletter with monthly updates and a chance to win an eco-friendly guitar autographed by one of the founding members. Every initiative will offer prizes, like free VIP concert tickets, entire music catalogs, bikes, a year's supply of ice cream, or a new Apple iPad. To achieve the ultimate goal of eliminating the carbon footprint of music concerts involves everyone from bands to concertgoers.
More on Reverb:
Reverb: Greening the Music Industry
O.A.R. to Headline Campus Consciousness Tour
SXSW Steers the Music Biz onto the Green Track
More on green music biz:
Did Rock Music Peak Right Before Oil Did?
8 Green Music Festivals That Rock
1% for the Planet: The Music. Songs for the Earth