by Laura Dazon
This week, Coldplay announced that they would not be touring their new album ‘Everyday Life’ due to concerns around the adverse effects touring would have on the environment. It is not the first time that Coldplay have shown interest in supporting good causes. They are engaged with many charities and foundations such as Amnesty International or Kids company, and a portion of the profit from their ticket sales regularly goes to supporting them. But this time, the British band composed of Chris Martin, Johnny Buckland, Will Champion and Guy Beryman have gone further – the group has decided to pause their tour until their concerts are more sustainable and ‘environmentally beneficial’.
Coldplay are currently actively rethinking their tours in order to drastically limit their carbon footprint and make them more environmentally friendly or even, beneficial. Chris Martin expressed a dream to hold shows that are primarily solar-powered and use no single-use plastic. Indeed, reports from Julie’s Bicycle, a charity that supports the creative community to act on climate change and environmental sustainability, shows that live music generates 405,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas every year in the United Kingdom. This comes from the band flying from one country to another, fans travelling to see the artists, venues and the use of lights and technology as well as promotion and merchandise. Chris Martin expressed that he would be disappointed if they could not achieve carbon neutrality. In his words, after having done many big tours, it is now about finding a way to “turn it around, so it’s not so much taking as giving”.
Is this just a promotional stunt for their new album, ‘Everyday Life’ that came out on the 22nd of November, or a sign of a genuine concern for the environment? The backlash came immediately following the announcement, taking aim at the practicalities of their goal. Many saying that it was unrealisable and even hypocritical when records will be selling globally,, probably packaged in plastic. Mike Graham mocked the band on TalkRadio, saying they should “stick to music” and addressing them directly with “you are not going to save the planet by not touring.”
“Change will be gradual, but every little helps”
Many artists like Adele or Billie Eilish have already vowed to limit their carbon emissions and attempt to make their tours as green as possible. Indeed, the worldwide renown of Coldplay guarantees their decision will reach a global audience. It can be hoped that more artists will take similar steps to have more sustainable tours and that it raises awareness amongst the fans. Emma Banks, a music agent at the Creative Artists Agency asserts that “change will be gradual, but every little helps.” If some may argue that this is not the role of artists to do so, Garth Redmond-King, the organisation’s head of climate change, affirms that “inaction is not an option.” By deciding to pause their tour, not only do Coldplay send a strong message aligning with the stance of an environmental emergency, but they hopefully pave the way for future artists to take action and reshape the music industry.