By Nick Richards, Second Year, Philosophy
In 2019, scientists at the University of Manchester’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research began poring over every detail of Massive Attack's recently concluded tour. The findings were, of course, unsurprising. The live music industry, with its frivolous wastage, reliance on non-renewable energy and inefficient transport provision for fans, is a huge carbon emitter. The Tyndall Centre concluded their report with a structured roadmap that, if adhered on a wide scale by live music organisers, would begin to make up for lost time in an industry well behind on climate matters. Massive Attack took heed and went straight to the drawing board.
For many, Massive Attack is synonymous with Bristol. The trip-hop collective, rising from the ashes of the Wild Bunch, forged a completely new sound by merging the influences of St Paul’s soundsystem culture with the British youth craze for hip hop and sampling in the early nineties. ‘Massive’ were true revolutionaries, capturing the dynamism and DIY ethos of the South West. They had over ten years at the top, fostering relationships with other mavericks like Goldie and Thom Yorke in the process. As their influence on the mainstream began to wane, they transitioned to focusing on collaborations with the up and coming, including early recognition of artists like Young Fathers and Ghostpoet.
However, what has remained a constant throughout every phase of the group is an active commitment to the progressive and the just - whether anti-war campaigning or the calling out of human rights violations. This new initiative continues in that vein. The focus this time is arguably the most pressing issue of our time.
The Downs homecoming gig on the 25th August 2024, billed ‘ACT 1.5: Climate Change Accelerator’ promises to be the first of its kind in being 100% powered by renewable energy. The aim is to ‘trial new standards for the decarbonisation of live music’ through ‘a first physical fruition of their collaboration with climate scientists and analysts’. Unlike other ‘green’ event organisers, whose coyness on what steps are actually being taken to be sustainable is suspect at best, Massive Attack have been crystal clear.
The first step was the offering of early bird tickets to those from Bristol, Somerset and South West region, a nod to the fact that the main source of emissions in the live music industry is fan travel. All aspects of the show, including lighting, production and catering will be exclusively battery and solar powered. The event will prioritise local, meat-free food and beverage traders who can demonstrate local supply lines and ingredient sourcing. Public transport will be encouraged, with electric shuttle buses running regularly to and from the Downs and Temple Meads via City Centre. All of these have a tangible impact and mirror what was outlined in the 2019 roadmap.
As 3D himself notes, “In terms of climate change action there are no excuses left; offsetting, endless seminars and diluted declarations have all been found out ... Working with pioneering partners on this project means we can seriously move the dial for major live music events & help create precedents that are immediately available.”
An opportunity to hear Protection live and save the planet in the process? I’m all ears.
Featured Image: Warren Du Preez
Tickets are on sale now.