Editorial

This Earth Day, Celebrate Artists & Festivals Making The Music Industry More Sustainable

When it comes to festivals, they can and should be places of wonder, excitement, and escape where the last thing anyone wants to worry about is how their fun is affecting others.

With an almost utopian feel, a music festival can take an attendee out of their head and into a wonderous world where nothing matters but the community and the experience.

But an unfortunate reality is that many festivals come with horrific consequences to the earth and the land gracious enough to hold space for the event.

But this Earth Day, there are many festivals and artists across the globe working towards making festivals and the music industry a place to push progress and create a community of forward-thinking leaders and respecters of the land.

From Nourey

Nourey & Anjunabeats

Anjunabeats regular Nourey is not only a musical storyteller and visual enthusiast, but she is also an MIT Ph.D. student at the School of Architecture and Planning using artificial intelligence and robotic technology to make festivals more sustainable.

She began as a student in architecture and environmental design before joining MIT’s Urban Metabolism Group led by Professor John E. Fernandez.

She would later go on to work on the Lamarr.ai project with Professor Fernandez and a team from Georgia Tech and Syracuse University to explore how to integrate robotics and AI to better understand the energy efficiency of an area and address any potential issues.

But throughout this process, she’s also risen through the ranks as a celebrated producer. She first crafted a remix for Gabriel & Dresden‘s “Something Bigger” on Anjunabeats, then released her own track “All Night” with ZOYA on Anjunabeats Rising- Volume 1and eventually released her Meant To Be EP on Anjunabeats in 2022.

But throughout her production and scientific journey, she’s been able to combine her love for music and sustainability by helping Anjunabeats implement actions towards making their festivals and events examples of environmental viability.

Speaking to EDM Maniac, Nourey explained, “I always wanted to identify if there is a platform or a common ground where science and art can actually collaborate for climate change solutions. So I pitched the idea to Anjuna back in 2020 to see if there’s an opportunity for us to support their sustainability initiatives and help them with opportunities to improve efficiency in their business side and their festivals.”

This partnership has since flourished as in 2022, Anjunabeats and MIT collaborated on a project to spread awareness for climate and sustainability consciousness with an interactive AI Art Wall at Above & Beyond’s weekender at the Gorge.

She continued, “That specific [AI Wall] component came only about last year in our collaboration with Anjuna, where right now we’re trying to use artificial intelligence-based art generator platforms to understand how the public community perceives the future of the climate.”

Now MIT and Anjunabeats often collaborate for workshops, speakers, Earth Day events, and activations at their shows to educate younger generations and dance music lovers on the climate issues affecting them.

Image from Deep Tropics

Deep Tropics

Deep Tropics brands itself as one of the most sustainable festivals in the US, and they have earned that title.

More than just greenwashing, the entire Nashville festival is centered around changing the festival and music industry for the better.

We spoke to Deep Tropics co-founders and twins Joel and Blake Atchison about the festival’s philosophy: “I think it just starts with our intention. We really set out to harness the power and inspiration of the music industry as a catalyst for cultural and social change. And we really feel like Deep Tropics is perfect to showcase innovative solutions for large-scale events and other festivals and organizations to adopt more sustainable practices.”

Some small practices include providing a $3 reusable cup that you only pay for again if you don’t reuse it and diverting 93% of their waste from the landfill.

More pivotal programs include a local farm growing and planting over 20,000 trees to offset every aspect of carbon produced by the festival (such as production, the artists’ flights, and the attendee’s consumption).

But they aren’t without their challenges. They believe that sustainability works best when it’s an all-hands-on-deck approach. They feel their strength is creating a culture where sustainability is the norm and that’s simply just how they do things.

Yet, it’s not always easy to balance financial viability with sustainable goals. The team explained, “We had this inflatable dome that was like a thorn in our side. It was a COVID buy from some Burners, and it was just not a good investment…The dome kept collapsing and my first instinct was to take this thing to the dump… and our site team was putting pressure on me, and I didn’t even think at the time with how hectic everything was how much that would affect our entire plan and waste model… so it’s a challenge but it’s also so much more fulfilling just to try to do things the right way.”

The greatest reward for Deep Tropics is setting the standard for sustainable events and showing that they are possible. They explain, “We’re just happy to just be a sounding board and just to help with the things that we’ve learned. It’s just ways to help generate revenue alongside offsetting costs. It’s nothing mind-blowing.”

They continue, “You have to create systems and just invest. There’s definitely an investment component to it, but my hope is as we continue doing this, we figure out how to offset the cost and even potentially make doing the right thing the norm.”

 

Featured image from Deep Tropics

Written by
Danielle Levy

Danielle Levy is an MBA with a concentration in Corporate Social Responsibility. Danielle has several years of experience in the sustainability education world and has held various positions in human resources and intern management. Danielle is passionate about the ties between sustainability and social impact.

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