Massive Attack star 'livid' over 'high-polluting' festivals and gigs

Robert Del NajaImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Massive Attack are planning a low-emission gig in Liverpool when live music is up and running again

Massive Attack's Robert Del Naja has said he is "livid" with the music industry for making green pledges but not reducing its carbon footprint.

He told MPs it was an "embarrassment" that artists often wear "the climate T-shirt, waves the placard, while simultaneously operating in a high carbon, high-polluting sector".

He was speaking to a select committee about green issues at festivals.

"It's all about collective solutions, everyone has to work together."

Del Naja, known as 3D in the groundbreaking Bristol band, explained that performers "have very little control" over the organisation of gigs and festivals, including how they are powered and how ticket-holders travel to venues.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Coldplay announced in 2019 that they had put touring on hold over environmental concerns

"It's been frustrating to experience the lack of meaningful activity within our sector, and as an activist, I've also felt pretty livid about it," he told the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee

"The industry seems to have been locked in a cycle of green pledges and carbon calculations while emission rates remain really high."

He added that bands "don't want to be greenwashing for our own industry" by making environmental statements while little action is taken behind the scenes.

He also said Coldplay's decision to halt touring due to concerns over the environmental impact of concerts was not the answer. In November 2019, frontman Chris Martin said they would not tour until they had worked out how to do so sustainably.

"I understand their frustration, all bands have been feeling like this for a long time - how do you square touring with climate change?" Del Naja said. "All of us end up looking like hypocrites... reduced to being messengers.

"But everyone knows that's not the solution - one band stopping touring. Even all bands stopping touring isn't the solution. Culture is important," he added.

When live music returns, Massive Attack will perform a low-carbon gig in Liverpool, a collaboration with the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, to track and reduce emissions from live events.

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