There has been a growing trend in the past few years to green the EDM scene. The Southern California festival Lighting in a Bottle is a great example of this; their event earlier this year featured free water fountains open to all. This drastically reduced waste from plastic bottles, and decreased the amount of problems resulting from insufficient water intake such as dehydration and heat stroke. This is a real win for all sides as our own Emily Hall pointed out in an article on Free Water: the festival promoters have less trash to deal with, and attendees can party safer and longer. Other festivals have begun exploring options for water consumption as well. For example, LA promotion company Insomniac has offered water refills on bottles purchased at some of their festivals. I hope this trend continues as water should not be commodified, no matter what Nestle says.
Virtually all large events now boast some sort of affiliation with a "green" sponsor. In the past few years we've seen the rise of amazing organizations with the sole goal of helping to green the scene. EDM.com's affiliated partner Electric Family is a great example, partnering artists with the charities of their choice to create a signature line of Artist-Branded charity bracelets, championing a message of positivity and change within the EDM community at the same time. The Electronic Music Alliance in Los Angeles is another example. A certified 501(c)(3), EMA teams up with event organizers and promoters, as well as hosting their own charity events, with the goal of reducing waste, and harnessing some of the energy from the dancefloor and giving it back to less-fortunate communities.
The EDM scene is a beacon of magnificent energy, and this energy, if harnessed correctly, could dramatically improve not just the EDM scene, but the communities that enjoy it's elements, both near and far. Take the Costa Rican school children shown below for example; they are wearing uniforms purchased from donated funds raised at an event in Los Angeles in collaboration with EMA and 2the5th Entertainment. In the EDM world, we call this a party with a purpose.
One of key aspects of EMA is their "Play-it-Fwd" campaign. An idea that every member of the community should do something for charity at least once a year. For example, DJs should donate at least one set per year to a charitable cause. That could be playing a charity show for free, or having your DJ fee for a night donated to a charity. Founding board members of EMA, the Crystal Method embody the Play-it-Fwd principles. They have been extremely active in charity work for many years. Last year alone they donated their time twice to Global Green. The fundraiser in San Francisco helped raise over $350K for that organization. Over the years the twice grammy-nominated duo have helped out the Sea Shepherds, Human Rights Campaign, Green Wave, DanceSafe and other noble causes. Moby is another great example of the Play-it-Fwd mentality.
The EDM scene needs many more role models for Play-it-Fwd. Although Deadmau5, Calvin Harris, Skrillex, and other artists do charity work to a certain degree, could you imagine if all the top-tier performers were to donate their DJ fee for one or two sets per year to a noble charity? The results would be amazing! Not only would these artists be helping less-fortunate communities, but they would be shining a positive light on the EDM scene as a whole. A positive light which would counter the over-the-top (yet believed) media narrative that our scene is a bunch of drugged up over-sexed youth. As Janine Jordan, one of the founders of EMA put it:
"When even a fraction of us align together, we leverage our power and are the sound of change. Imagine if we put down our egos and worked collectively to collaborate more often."
The future is bright for green EDM, and with more and more people embracing the principles each and every day, we get closer to achieving sustainability in the dance music scene. We need everyone’s help though! From small actions like thinking sustainably when packing for festivals (cans vs glass bottles, minimal packaging, never bringing more than you can carry out yourself, etc.) to larger actions such as Play-it-Fwd and fundraising events, we will have an amazing impact if we all work together. Let’s be the sound of change the EDM scene needs right now!
Written by: Mike Teez