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On the Road Again

Your favorite artist is coming soon to a city near you, but should they?

By Zainab Zaman

Photo by Pinterest

The concert scene is back and bustling, now more than ever. After being shut down for two years and only having virtual concerts for several album releases, musicians are back on the road.

Fans are lining up around stadiums in anticipation of seeing their favorite performers in the flesh after waiting so long. Prior to the pandemic, many artists traveled for festival appearances and sold-out world tours. Fans of musicians from Stevie Nicks to Harry Styles longed for the day their tours would be rescheduled.

Many fans even plan to travel alongside their favorite artists, buying tickets for multiple concerts spanning across different locations. This idea of “concert travel” has erupted into an online controversy, with some arguing that these fans are not only “selfish,” but also risk spreading COVID and wasting valuable energy.

Harry Styles, for example, kickstarted his “Love on Tour” in 2021 and has not stopped since. He has traveled throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia and is set to return to Europe this summer. Taylor Swift is yet another artist traveling the nation with her highly anticipated “Eras Tour,” which famously sold out within seconds. These shows contain incredible graphics, and is a spectacle that has to be constructed and transported overnight to a new location.

With the rising climate crisis, the extent to which these stadium tours consume energy is a growing concern. From the transport of crew, artists, management, equipment, and audiences to the growing volume of waste produced, each concert’s energy usage is astronomical.

Coldplay pledged to be carbon neutral and stop touring until an environmentally friendly solution can be made. Other artists, such as Massive Attack, chose to work with the University of Manchester’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research to track how band and audience travel impacts the environment.

Some artists have also modified the idea of “touring” and opted for a residency instead. Adele recently extended her Weekends With Adele residency at The Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. From November to March, and again this June, she performs a concert every weekend in the same venue, saving the emissions of what it would take to transport her entire concert daily.

Seeing your favorite artist live is a spectacle that music lovers are on the edge of their seats to experience. In a world that was shut down for so long, we should still get to live those experiences, but it must be in a way that doesn’t hurt our planet in the process. Some possible solutions are swapping out confetti and glitter at concerts for a biodegradable material, or seeing artists only in a town near you rather than flying across the country. Either way, in order to see the newest pop star of the year 3000, we have to get there first.


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