Reading & Leeds on the fight against climate change – and how you can help

The organisers of Reading & Leeds and environmental campaigners have spoken to NME about the festival’s fight against climate change – and what music fans can do to help.

Returning this weekend, the twin-site festival will see headline performances from Billie Eilish, The Killers, Sam Fender, Imagine Dragons, Foals and The 1975 – with the likes of Loyle Carner, Central Cee, Wet Leg, Inhaler, Holly Humberstone, Arlo Parks, Rina Sawayama, Becky Hill and many more also appearing. Check out the full line-up and stage times here.

Victoria Chapman, head of sustainability at R&L owners Live Nation, explained how the festivals were making practical efforts to stride towards their aim to a 50 per cent reduce in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, increasing renewable energy use and reducing single-use plastics – as well as spreading the green message among festival-goers.

“We’re seeing the impact that artists can have at all levels of touring, and how they really inspire fans, the industry and each other towards positive change,” Chapman told NME. “For Reading & Leeds, we’ve got it set out in our charter that we’ve got to preserve the live music experience for generations to come.”

Dylan at Reading Festival 2022. Credit: Phoebe Fox

This year, festival-goers can engage with the youth environment activists Climate Live to find out how to be more engaged with the issues.

“They’ll be at Leeds with a bright pink double decker bus and a stand at Reading where they’ll literally be shouting from the rooftop about climate justice and how climate change impacts different people across the world,” said Chapman. “They’ve also got music and will be making it fun with a spot by the Alternative Stage too.”

Both Reading and Leeds will also be expanding on the eco campsites that were introduced last year.

“They were quite small at around 1,000 capacity but they were left completely spotless,” said Chapman. “People took a pledge to respect each other: respect the environment by using the recycling facilities provided and then take everything home with them and leave the site exactly how they found it. We also had yoga, compost toilets and we had a really good response.

“This year due to popular demand, we’ve increased the campsites’ capacity from 1,000 to 8,000. We’re just making space for people who care and we want to build a community around it.”

The festival will also be teaming up with water brand Liquid Death to provide canned water to reduce plastic bottles by 260,000 across both sites. It’s one of many practical moves to bring about the festival’s dream end goal as one of the planet’s greenest live events. Ultimately, they’re looking to install grid connections as opposed to using temporary power generators.

Fontaines D.C. Leeds 2022
Fontaines D.C. at Leeds Festival 2022 CREDIT: Georgina Hurdsfield

“We are using different fuels to power them with bio-fuels,” said Chapman. “You can also use battery-powered generators as well that reduce the carbon impact, but our long-term goal is to plug the festival into an on-site mains feed that will power the main stage. This is a really project that we’ve started on this year.”

Asked what music fans can do to help, Chapman explained how “they can start before they even get to the festival when they’re packing”.

“Bring a refillable water bottle and make use of the water points around the festival so you’ve always got one back at your tent for that post-party hydration,” she advised. “You can also buy your festival clothing in a charity shop – you don’t need to buy new all the time. Please don’t bring single-use vapes either as they’re really hard to recycle. Travelling by train, coach and car-share for the most carbon-friendly ways of getting there too would be great.

“When you’re at the festival, we have a recycling rewards scheme where we’ll be giving out free recycling bags to fill up with cans and bottles at each campsite to win prizes. We’ve got tickets, merch, and on-stage experiences up for grabs. In the arena, we’ve got a cup, can and bottle return scheme where for every drinks container that’s on sale will have a 10p deposit on it. This year, we’ve got the ability to put the credit back on the card. We’ve reduced the minimum to five cans or cups to get the deposit back.”

Most importantly, she urged all festival-goers staying for the full weekend to take their tents and camping equipment home with them.

“Just don’t leave stuff behind,” she went on. “One tent is the equivalent of 8,000 plastic straws and have a carbon footprint of 15kg of CO2. Plus you’re saving money. We want to have nice, green fields across the whole site.”

Last year also saw R&L team up with Music Declares Emergency for their #NoMusicOnADeadPlanet campaign to promote the “power that music can have to create change for good”. The campaign was trending at Number Two on Twitter over the weekend at Reading & Leeds 2022, and this year they’ll be using the hashtags #NoReadingOnADeadPlanet and #NoLeedsOnADeadPlanet in order to “make it meaningful and show people what’s at stake”.

“That’s what we lose if we continue on this current trajectory,” added Chapman. “We’re trying to be positive. There is time to turn it around.”

Music Declares Emergency describe themselves as “a group of artists, music industry professionals and organisations that stand together to declare a climate and ecological emergency and call for an immediate governmental response to protect all life on Earth.”

Since it was launched in 2019, hundreds bands and musicians have now signed up to Music Declares Emergency’s pledge to revitalise how the music industry tackles climate disaster, from The 1975 and Radiohead, to RobynThe xxMassive Attack and many more.

The No Music On A Dead Planet campaign has been backed by the likes of Billie Eilish and Foals as well as having shirts designed by Thom Yorke, Joy Division artist Peter Saville and others.

Fay Milton of Savages and Music Declares Emergency. Credit: Press
Fay Milton of Savages and Music Declares Emergency. Credit: Marika Kochiashvili

MDE co-founder and former Savages drummer Fay Milton, soon to launch new solo music under the name Goddess, explained to NME what set R&L apart in the fight for sustainability.

“The nice thing about Festival Republic, and Reading & Leeds in particular, is that they recognise what an important role music can play in being a cultural influencer to create change,” Milton told NME. “They’re doing great stuff in terms of sustainability, but also recognising the power that they hold as a communicator.

We worked with them to help bring the festival into the No Music On A Dead Planet global campaign, which aims to bring all artists and fans together with a shared voice for climate action. “We’re also bringing our Fan Club For Climate campaign to Reading & Leeds this year, alongside Climate Live. It’s a community of music lovers who care about the future of the planet and want more people involved.”

Music Declares Emergency founder Fay Milton of Savages in a new No Music On A Dead Planet t-shirt
Music Declares Emergency founder Fay Milton of Savages in a new No Music On A Dead Planet t-shirt. Credit: Press

While she noted that R&L and Festival Republic were one of the few organisations “actually taking issues around the climate crisis really seriously and really facing up to them”, Milton hailed their mission to decarbonise the festival by bringing mains power on-site as well as helping to spread the message. However, she argued that the music industry as a whole “is actually quite behind the curve when it comes to sustainability”.

“That’s a shame because we see ourselves as a very forward-thinking, fashionable and trendy industry, but we’re actually lagging behind in terms of what we’re actually doing,” she said. “There’s a lot of good intention, but not as much follow-through. The industry perhaps isn’t taking on the reality of the situation – which is that in order to reach net zero targets, decarbonise or make a sustainable music industry, it’s going to take huge shifts in how things are done. They can be positive or innovative, but at the moment what we’re seeing is a refusal to take on board the reality.

“We’re seeing things like cassette box sets for artists to grapple their way into the charts with multi-formatting and labels pushing all of these plastic products that just aren’t really necessary. It’s not about the art or the music, it’s about the business, the capital and the money. When that comes up against sustainability, the money is winning.”

Spotlighting the artists who have been involved, Milton pointed to Billie Eilish – who was been very vocal in the #NoMusicOnADeadPlanet campaign and will next week also return to London with her OVERHEATED climate event.

“In terms of speaking out on climate issues, the Number One prize has to go to Billie Eilish because she just continues to champion the cause and that’s what it takes to get the message across,” said Milton. “If you really want to change something, you have to keep going at it. I fully respect Billie for what she and her family have been doing. It’s not a fad for her.

“There are also so many artists who have worn our t-shirts and supported our No Music On A Dead Planet campaign. Shout out to Willow Smith who wore one last week, along with artists at this festival including Sam Fender, Foals, The 1975, Bicep, Arlo Parks, Declan McKenna.”

Foals attend the Hyundai Mercury Prize: Albums of the Year at Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith on September 19, 2019 in London (Picture: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

Ultimately, Milton said that her dream was for “the music industry as a whole to really take a moment to take on board the real world situation that we’re in”.

“The music industry is very childish,” she added. “We run around thinking we’re special, we make a mess and someone else clears it up. We think that the rules don’t apply to us. In certain areas, that’s fun because it leads to creativity. When it comes to impact on the planet, it’s just not OK because the people you’re impacting are your audience.

“If you were a huge multi-million pound business and you’re selling music to young people while simultaneously shitting on their fucking future, then it’s not really OK! Just look at the world and look at the future. The reason we say, ‘No music on a dead planet’ is because music is battling away to create a legacy, and legacy doesn’t mean anything if civilisation breaks down, if humanity and our culture is lost.”

Reading & Leeds 2023 takes place this weekend from Friday 25-Sunday 27 August. Visit here for tickets and more information, and here for the latest NME news, reviews, interviews, photos and more action from R&L 2023

on bbc news
on hindi news
on the news today
on channel 7 news
ôrf news
campo grande news ônibus
ôpera news
campo grande news greve de ônibus
l1 news horário dos ônibus
l1 news ônibus
lago azul news ônibus
news österreich
news österreich heute
news österreich aktuell
news öffentlicher dienst
news österreich corona
news öl
news österreich orf
news ö3
news österreich heute aktuell
news österreich sport
ö24 news
ölpreis news
öbb news
ösv news
österreich news krone
övp news
özil news
öffentlicher dienst news 2023
österreich promi news

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *