If there’s anything Austin knows, it’s live music. But as important as entertainment is, we understand the impact all those tour buses and visitors can have on our environment. That’s why C3 and the Conservancy love bands that not only talk the talk, but walk the walk — the green walk, that is. Check out some of our favorite eco-friendly acts, all of whom have graced a stage at ACL during its 10-year run.
Green Texas Pride
Court Yard Hounds
Performing at ACL in 2011
This Texas duo love their state. And why shouldn’t they? With forests, mountains, the coast, grasslands, deserts and 200,000 miles of rivers and streams, Texas is one of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes in the country. This is why they’ve partnered with the Conservancy to convey the importance of conservation in Texas. The duo — which is two-thirds of the hugely popular Dixie Chicks — also worked with Conservation International in 2006 to offset the carbon footprint of the Chicks’ Accidents and Accusations Tour, and asked their fans to do the same. The band's investment went to the preservation of a rain forest in Madagascar.
Greenest Jam Band
Dave Matthews Band
Performed at ACL in 2009
This Virginia-based group has been spreading the love since the early 1990s, and campaigning on behalf of the environment (as well as other worthy causes) nearly as long. Their first public performance was at an Earth Day music festival in Virginia; a few years later, they established the Bama Works Fund, which has contributed more than $10 million to a variety of charities in and around their hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, including Clean Virginia Waterways, the Rivanna Conservation Society and Virginia Save Our Springs. If that weren’t enough, in 2006 DMB forged a partnership with NativeEnergy to offset 100% of the CO2 emissions from their touring activities.
Greenest Team Players
Performed at ACL in 2006
If you want to complain about your day job, Guster front man Adam Gardner is the wrong guy to choose. In between singing and playing guitar for the East Coast alt-rock band, Gardner is also a principle and co-founder of Reverb, an organization dedicated to helping touring artists achieve a more eco-friendly presence on the road. A year after its founding, Guster went on the road as part of Reverb’s inaugural Campus Consciousness Tour, working to spread the message of environmental sustainability to college students all across the country (and using biodiesel fuel along the way!). Since 2004, Gardner and Reverb have worked with a dizzying array of artists — many of whom have popped up at ACL — including:
• Ray LaMontagne (2004, 2006, 2011)
• Crowded House (2007)
• Stars (2006, 2008)
• The Swell Season (2008)
• John Legend (2009)
• Coldplay (2005, 2011)
• Phish (2010)
• Ben Harper (2003, 2004, 2006 and 2009)
Biggest Green Kahuna
Performed at ACL in 2003 and 2004
A native of Hawaii and lifelong surfer, Johnson is a strong advocate of green touring and runs a tight bus: the band and crew utilize filtered tap water and hydration stations instead of single-use plastic water bottles; fuel their trucks and busses on biodiesel and sponsor a shareride/carpool website to connect concertgoers across the country; reduce, reuse and recycle in order to create zero waste events; and participate in the Farm to Stage catering program, which requires participating caterers to work directly with local farms and purveyors. All concert merchandise is created with sustainable materials and concertgoers are also able to purchase carbon offset credits (just like at ACL!) to mitigate their CO2 footprint. Johnson gives just as much on a larger scale, too. He is an ambassador for 1% for the Planet, which encourages businesses to donate a portion of their profits to environmental causes, and he and wife Kim created the All at Once campaign, a social action network that emphasizes locally sourced food, environmental sustainability and plastic-free initiatives. In 2003, Johnson found the Kokua Hawaii Foundation to promote environmental education in Hawaiian schools, and twice — in 2008 and 2010 — he’s donated 100% of his tour profits to his Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, an endowment that supports environmental education worldwide.
Greenest Alt-Rock Rebels
Performed at ACL in 2009
Though these West Coast rockers are the grandfathers of grunge, the rebel rockers are also tried and true environmental do-gooders. In 2003 they implemented a carbon neutral touring policy in order to offset their environmental impact and created a full-scale carbon portfolio strategy (in partnership with nearly a dozen environmental groups) just three years later. In 2010 they donated $210,000 towards planting trees in Puget Sound, Washington; later that same year, they also supported they myriad recovery efforts around the Gulf oil spill. They also donated 100 percent of the proceeds from the download of their video ‘Amongst the Waves’ to benefit Conservation International’s marine and ocean programs.
Performed at ACL in 2004
This award winning hip-hop group is legendary not only in the music industry, but for their drive to bring those around them to a higher state of consciousness… politically, spiritually and environmentally. They annually host a ‘green carpet’ Grammy Awards pre-show party and rock out with some of the biggest names in Hollywood while subtly advancing a message of waste reduction and sustainability. In 2007, they launched the Feed Your Roots campaign to educate and integrate composting into schools across the country, and recently announced plans to upgrade their bus to run on biodiesel. The group is also one of the founding artists of the Green Music Group, a non-profit coalition of musicians, executives and fans who are committed to using their collective power to bring about widespread environmental changes throughout the industry.
Grand Green Poobah
Performed at ACL in 2006
As Texan as BBQ and Lone Star beer, Willie Nelson is not only an icon of country music but one of the state’s most vocal activists. He was green long before it was vogue, using alternative fuels to power his tour bus and in his everyday life, too. His BioWillie branding threw a spotlight on the use of biodiesel for commercial purposes, setting the standard for any artist wanting a green tour. Nelson is also an honorary board member of Austin’s Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance (along with Jack Johnson and Adam Gardner!), which was founded by his wife, Annie. And if that wasn’t enough, his north Texas truck stop — Willie’s Place — boasts an on-site biodiesel production facility, effectively educating small town Texans on the benefits of going green.