Contributing Monkie Sarah Backhouse
Published on December 24, 2008
Are musical trailblazers Radiohead going to revolutionize the entire world or just the music industry? The band is currently rocking the business side — first with the digital download of their latest album, In Rainbows, released sans label earlier this year, and now the touring aspect. The British five-piece commissioned a carbon audit of their last two U.S. tours in an effort to reduce the impact of their upcoming one.
Oxford company Best Foot Forward compared two different types of American tours: the out-of-town/Amphitheater tour of 2003, and city centers/Theater tour of 2006. To calculate the total footprint of each, the band took into consideration their own output as well as that of their fans — making some assumptions along the way, like “how they travel and how much beer they drank when they got to the show”.
Fan travel and consumption made up 86% of the Theater tour and 97% of the Amphitheater tour. Travel and energy for the band made up 60% of the Theater tour and 40% of the Amphitheater tour. International travel added a further 34 – 40% of impacts. All up, the 2003 Theater tour produced 2,295 tons of CO2 compared with 9,073 for the 2006 Amphitheater tour — which isn’t surprising, given that almost a quarter of a million fans turn up to the big gigs.
Based on these findings, the band is going local for oh eight, playing as many gigs as possible in city centers to best utilize transportation links. They’ll ship their gear by sea where possible and avoid chartered flights. In turn, they’re asking us to do our part — increasing vehicular passenger numbers to gigs from 2.2 to 3. If all falls into place, the output of the entire tour should be reduced a whooping 22%.
The bottom line for you? Take it from Radiohead: don’t be a creep — carpool.