Live Nation Entertainment head of sustainability UK and Ireland Victoria Chapman on the market leader’s widespread sustainability initiatives across venues, tours and festivals
It was seeing my 15-year-old niece sing along to every word at Billie Eilish’s show at The O2, when I realised that this is what we are doing it all for.
We need live music – not experiencing it during the pandemic has shown us that. We are social creatures, and it is our instinct to come together in communities of interest to celebrate creativity. Globally, the live entertainment industry is back bigger than ever. Live Nation has sold 100 million tickets for 2022 concerts, more than we sold for the entire year in 2019. You wouldn’t be reading this if you just cared about sales though. As the artist Aurora said: “What are we if we let our world, and all we have created in art and music, die?”
As promotors and event organisers, we have an opportunity to protect the live music experience for generations to come. Music Declares Emergency’s recent study Turn Up the Volume found that music fans are more likely to care about climate change and place a higher priority on efforts to tackle the climate crisis than non-music fans. Live Nation’s own fan research went one step further and uncovered a unique fan segmentation, the aspirational live music goer: a sustainably minded fan who possesses incredible influence and purchase power. By engaging this powerful fan, we can amplify sustainability efforts at an authentic and impactful platform.
“We are making progress toward operating our festivals and venues to the highest sustainability standards.”
At Live Nation, we created Green Nation, our global sustainability platform that aligns our company around the world toward a common sustainability vision for live events. Through this programme, we are making progress toward operating our festivals and venues to the highest sustainability standards and implementing sustainable best practices globally. Here in the UK, our venues are powered by 100% renewable electricity, and drinks are served in cups and bottles made from at least 80% recycled content. At Festival Republic we are working with Music Declares Emergency to increase grid connectivity for our greenfield sites, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution from diesel generators. This work will also create a shared resource so that other festivals can do the same.
With our Green Nation teams on the ground in almost every region of the world we have the ability to take learnings from our own venues and festivals and make real impact globally. Through partnerships with artists and their teams like Billie Eilish, we helped take her environmental priorities and implement them across the sold-out venues on her recent world tour. We also work closely with Coldplay’s Music of the Spheres tour where a key aim is that we help make sure the sustainable practices developed on the tour are shared, adopted and scaled through the rest of the live touring industry. We have found that venues are very receptive and want to make changes, so it’s great to help them accomplish that.
Live Nation has been doing this work for years with festivals, venues, and artists and it really elevates the issue when global stars use their platform to promote sustainability. We were proud to have promoted Overheated in June, where Billie and her mum, Maggie, brought together key players in the live music industry to connect, share knowledge, and learn from each other. There is so much other amazing work happening, as outlined in this issue. The live music industry is a complex ecosystem, and all healthy ecosystems need diversity and connectivity so we can progress together. Seeing Billie and Maggie’s passion and drive to not continue with business as usual, taking a stand to make big changes within their team, and Billie’s connection to her fans highlighting climate change and female empowerment made me truly believe in the Power of Live!