Contributing Monkie Jennifer Buonantony
Published on October 24, 2007
I haven’t missed a Dave Matthews Band concert in the last decade, and I have all the concert T-shirts to prove it! But this year’s T is the best yet.
DMB has always inspired me through their music, but their philanthropic actions and environmental commitment was something I was unaware of until recently – and they’ve been committed to rocking the planet since the early nineties. Over the years they’ve toured colleges and national venues, and played notable events like Woodstock ’99 and Live Earth to raise global awareness of the Earth’s climate crisis. They’ve also performed their own benefit shows like New York City’s Central Park Concert, which benefited public schools post-9/11, and Colorado’s Live at Red Rocks Amphitheater, which raised more than $1 million dollars for victims of Hurricane Katrina through BamaWorks, the DMB charity.
Dave Matthews Band made national news on the environmental front in 2002 when they became the first band to have their national tour certified ‘Climate Cool’, joining organizations as big as the 2002 Winter Games and leading Fortune 500 companies. This certification came from the Climate Neutral Network, a non-profit organization endorsed by leading environmental groups, which reviewed the tour’s emissions estimates and their portfolio of offset projects to ensure the tour met their net zero emissions goal. These projects absorbed carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reduced future greenhouse gases by producing alternative energy sources that do not burn fossil fuels. The projects were funded by the band and included a tree-planting project in a partnership with The Nature Conservancy and the construction of a large-scale wind turbine with the help of Native Energy. In the same year, DMB also teamed up with Ben & Jerry’s and Save Our Environment’s – Lick Global Warming Campaign. Since then, DMB tours include interactive exhibits to educate people about global warming and urge them to take action, as well as offer free samples of the band’s One Sweet Whirled and Magic Brownies ice cream flavors. So far, this project has resulted in more than 70,000 letters to Congress urging members to support initiatives to fight global warming and personal pledges to reduce more than 200 million pounds of CO(2) emissions.
This week, as I entered the Hollywood Bowl for their recent show, I had no idea that I as a part of the most green concert effort by the band to date. DMB partnered with the group Reverb, an environmental non-profit group founded by guitarist/vocalist Adam Gardner of the band Guster and his environmentalist wife Laura Sullivan. Reverb’s main goal is to “green” artists’ tours and the music business at large by raising awareness and support for the environment through an interactive Eco-Village. The group has worked with the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Sheryl Crow, but brought their efforts to a new level on this tour. For the DMB tour, all buses and trucks were fueled with B20 BioDiesel, carbon offset projects were planned to account for C0(2) emissions from the venue and all transportation, waste reduction and recycling was implemented backstage, sustainable supplies and biodegradable catering products were used, and merchandise (such as my organic cotton concert T) was made with eco-friendly products.
At the venue, there was an Eco-Village where one could pick up information and interact with members of local and national non-profit groups. I was given information by the DMB team about consumer purchasing power and supporting companies that make eco-friendly efforts. I was able to make a five-dollar donation to help offset the carbon dioxide my car emitted in the traffic to the Hollywood Bowl, and in exchange was given a complimentary bumper sticker or water bottle. I ate a hot pretzel and sipped a cold drink from recyclable dishware. I watched DMB jam all night and invite fellow-Reverb supporter John Mayer on stage as a special guest. I heard Dave Matthews dedicate a song to the people of Africa and speak about how disease is killing thousands of people there and taking with them their culture and music, which he was privileged to see firsthand on a recent trip. Thus, it was no surprise that upon exiting near to the Eco-Village, I saw a booth for Gap (Product) Red, the brand whose sales benefit women and children affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa, and a booth for One, a group committed to ending poverty and disease worldwide.
Walking around the DMB venue did not feel like attending a seminar on environmental or philanthropic awareness. The education was wound intrinsically into the facets of any great concert — the swag, the food, the music, and the energy of the crowd.
Maybe that’s why my $30 2007 tour T-shirt is my favorite thus far.