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4- Fields of Green? Infrastructures and Environmental Consequences of Live Music - Matt Brennan, University of Glasgow

1:30 PM, Friday 24 May 2019 (2 hours)
Coffee break   03:30 PM to 04:00 PM (30 minutes)

In a report by the UK cultural sector’s leading environmental consultancy, the sale of music products and live music performances to UK consumers was said to generate approximately 540,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas equivalents per year. The live music sector (together with audience travel) was the biggest culprit, accounting for 75 percent of the UK music industry’s greenhouse gas emissions. These figures stand in stark contrast to the branding of music events as sites where alternative ideas of community are performed, especially those related to transient, socially conscious utopian cities (e.g. Glastonbury). Given this tension, I investigate how actors in Britain’s live music industry—made up of artists, audiences, and organizers—perceive and address climate change and sustainability, one of the most urgent problems facing the wider global community.

The live music industry relies a complex supporting infrastructure, including the regulations and policies that govern musical performance and the sale of alcohol; the ancillary industries for live music developed since the 1970s, such as trucking, lighting and sound, catering, and merchandise; and the technologies used by musicians in live performance.The argument here is that the infrastructures at play in the production of live music are often directly at odds with the escapist ideology found in live music performances as cultural events. I conclude by consideringthe relationship between the infrastructures of live music events and the temporary communities that are formed (or not formed) at those events, as well as how they engage in (or ignore) debates and actions surrounding the challenge of environmental sustainability.
University of Glasgow
Reader in Popular Music
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