Since it began in March, it feels like Taylor Swift’s Eras tour has become an inescapable part of many Americans’ lives. Whether you’ve fought through the trials of Ticketmaster and attended a concert or merely watched from the sidelines, her tour continues, forming a path through the United States and affecting everyone that it touches. As her record-breaking tour carries on, however, it brings with it some long-standing questions about concert touring and sustainability.
While there isn’t a lot of data on the impact of concert touring on the environment, it’s known that touring often leads to waste and carbon emissions. For example, many concert venues utilize single-use plastics, something bad in and of itself and worse when you consider how it’s disposed of. In some states, like California, waste disposal of single-use plastics focuses on the environment and sustainability. In others, however, it’s a mere afterthought. In addition to plastic waste produced during the concert, carbon dioxide is emitted during its setup. For one, the materials used for concerts often require a large number of heavy trucks, something which we know is detrimental to the environment. In addition to that, the transportation of artists on tour buses and concert-goers traveling en-masse and over large distances also contributes to carbon emissions.
Still, there are things that musicians and concert-goers can do to make a difference. Many big names in music are working towards something known as ‘green touring,’ or an effort to reduce waste during tours. This is done by decreasing the amount of single-use plastics through things like water refill stations and using more sustainable forms of transportation. In addition, venues can do their part by offering resources, like drums and amps, to musicians, thus eliminating the need for transportation.
Finally, it’s essential to note that ‘green touring’ is not accessible to many artists. Like a lot of sustainable practices, it’s expensive. However, this barrier makes it even more essential that large artists with more resources work to make their tours more environmentally friendly.
Don’t let this deter you from seeing your favorite artists live; I know what an amazing experience it can be, but in the future, keep in mind the effect it may have on the environment, and if you can, bring it up to musicians on social media and try to be sustainable on your way to and during the concert.