Stefan Lessard is bassist for the Dave Matthews Band and writes here today about Reverb, an exciting new alliance to leverage musician visibility to build environmental awareness and activism.
As a surfer and someone who likes to spend a lot of time outdoors, clean air, water, and soil have always been important to me. As a member of Dave Matthews Band, protecting the environment has been a part of our band’s ethos since forming in 1991. Among the several causes our band supports, the environment is unique because we can do far more than the traditional ways of lending our name or making a donation—we can directly make a difference by “walking the talk.”
Since 2005, we’ve been working with the non-profit group Reverb to make our tours more earth-friendly and activate our fans online and at shows. We were first introduced to the organization through its founders, the husband-and-wife team, Lauren Sullivan and Adam Gardner. Adam also plays in the band Guster, who have shared the stage with Dave Matthews Band many times over the years. It was amazing to hear the expansive list of ways Reverb could help bands go green on tour including: fueling tour busses with sustainably produced Biodiesel, local organic foods straight from the farm, recycling and composting at venues, eco-friendly merchandise, online rideshare services for fans, and educating and engaging concertgoers through an interactive Eco-Village at shows.
We all got very excited about the prospect of doing something about the unfortunate impact our touring had on the planet, and immediately created a comprehensive greening program with Reverb. Through this collaboration, we’ve reduced 7,200,000 pounds of CO2, fueled our busses and trucks with 75,000 gallons of sustainably produced biodiesel, and have hosted over 200 local environmental groups in the Eco-Village. Our fans have prevented 2,352,000 pounds of CO2 through our online rideshare and fan carbon offset programs.
Even more encouraging than these results is the fact that we are not the only band out there changing the way they tour and seizing the opportunity to activate fans. In fact, Reverb has been working now with many bands, greening over 85 major tours. We collectively realized that we were in the unique position to bring all aspects of the music community together into a powerful coalition.
Reverb, joined by Dave Matthews Band and other founding members recently launched Green Music Group (GMG): a large-scale high-profile environmental coalition of musicians, industry leaders and music fans using our collective power to bring about widespread environmental change within the music industry and around the globe.
Green Music Group founding members include:
- Dave Matthews Band
- Willie Nelson
- Sheryl Crow
- Maroon 5
- The Roots
- Bonnie Raitt
- Linkin Park
- Barenaked Ladies
- Warner Music Group
- Brushfire Records
- Shoreline Amphitheater (California)
- Comcast Center (Massachusetts)
- Verizon Wireless Media Center (Indiana)
- Wolftrap National Park for the Performing Arts (Virginia)
- Brooklyn Bowl (New York)
- American Airlines Arena (Florida)
Outside of setting greening standards for the music industry, Green Music Group will engage fans to take part in regular calls-to-action, amplifying the campaigns of various environmental non-profits. Non-profit launch partners include: Sierra Club, Oxfam America, Union of Concerned Scientists, Hip Hop Caucus, HeadCount, DoSomething.org, StopGlobalWarming.org, Music For Relief, Climate Counts, and Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance.
Our first effort on this front is the “GMG Challenge,” a series of weekly calls-to-action that will be posted on GreenMusicGroup.org this March. Each week’s challenge will feature a video message from a founding artist asking fans to take action and share their experience with the GMG community via a video, photo or post. Participants will be entered to win weekly prizes like VIP tickets and a snowboard and the grand prize: a new Honda Insight Hybrid.
The idea here is to build a massive online community where music fans can take action, win stuff, hear from artists about what they’re doing and stay in the loop on various environmental issues.
As an extra incentive to get people involved, we’re giving folks who sign up a free song download from a special performance at the GMG launch (featuring members of Maroon 5, Dave Matthews Band, The Roots and Guster) and a chance to win one of three eco-friendly guitars signed by founding members: a Martin Sustainable Wood Series, a First Act Bambusa, and a Gibson Les Paul Limited Edition Smartwood.
Please join us!
Stefan Lessard, Bassist, Dave Matthews Band
Dave Matthews Band
Stefan Lessard, Bassist, Dave Matthews Band