Canadian dance music producer Vivie-Ann Bakos, who performs under the moniker BLOND:ISH, and activist Camille Guitteau have come together to combat the environmental crisis enmeshed in our music festivals.
While their nonprofit Bye Bye Plastic aims to eliminate plastic waste in the music industry, their newly initiated leadership program, Stay'ge Positive, gives DJs and musicians the tools to cultivate climate action confidence as part of their artistic careers.
To kick off the launch of the Stay'ge Positive program on May 3rd, Bakos and Guitteau chatted with EDM.com to discuss the environmental issues present in the music industry and what their new initiative is doing to combat them.
EDM.com: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and Bye Bye Plastic?
Bakos: I’m Vivie-Ann Bakos, but most people know me as BLOND:ISH. I’ve been an international touring artist for a couple years now, and co-founded ABRACADABRA, a collective at the intersection of everything I hold close to my heart: tech, music, self-love and eco-activism. The latter is how we started Bye Bye Plastic with Camille.
Guitteau: And I’m Camille, co-founder of Bye Bye Plastic. Viv and I have been working together for over two years now, birthing Bye Bye Plastic from our shared love for the music industry and our passion for our planet.
Our foundation aims to completely remove the consumption of single-use plastic in the industry. While Viv carries out the vision and creativity, fueling our movement thanks to her platform, I’m here to make sure our message reaches and touches our audience in an impactful way, serving as a connector for our team and overseeing operations.
EDM.com: How did Bye Bye plastic start and what’s the organization's main mission?
Bakos: Three years ago I was playing a monumental sunrise set at a sublime beach club, Warung, in Brazil. When the crowd of 3,000 people dissipated, the moment was lost when the view of the sunrise over the cliff was met with a mountain of plastic bottles and cups. That dichotomy left a weird feeling in my stomach.
Guitteau: Viv and I connected and realized we both wanted things to evolve in our scene, and that not only did we have a responsibility, but also the opportunity to act and spread positive change through the unique connecting power of music. Our mission with Bye Bye Plastic is to eliminate single-use plastics in the music industry, and speed up the tipping point for a positive sustainable culture in our scene.
EDM.com: What exactly is Stay'ge Positive? Can you demystify the program for our readers?
Bakos: Stay’ge Positive is a creative leadership program—launching May 3rd— that’s custom-crafted for DJs and artists who want to implement sustainable change and effectively convey this journey with their fans.
Throughout the years working at Bye Bye Plastic, we noticed that artists had the will to engage in climate issues, but kept encountering some blocks, powered by fear. It’s hard to position yourself as a spokesperson and be taken seriously when you lack the expertise, and this has stopped many artists on their path to eco-activism.
Guitteau: Which is why we created this mentorship program—we want to give artists the necessary tools to power them with the confidence they need to nurture their voice.
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We spread the four-week program into four progressive modules: Climate Change 101, In-Power Yourself, Tune Your Voice, Tune Your Creativity. The classes are short and there’s only about two per week, held early on to give you the rest of the week to go about your life. Recordings will be available for those who weren’t able to attend that day.
EDM.com: What are your hopes and goals for the program?
Guitteau: To help grow climate action confidence as part of artists’ careers. We really want to give artists the proper tools to fuel the fire of change. In one word, help them become climate creatives!
By helping spread awareness and helping artists harness the power of their voice and influence, we hope that the music industry will take action as well and that our planet will enjoy festivals as much as we do.
EDM.com: What impact is plastic having on our environment and what can we do to stop it?
Guitteau: We conducted a study last year, and found out that, with festivals and venues shuttered due to the pandemic, we saved more than 570 million pounds of single-use plastic from going to waste—and that’s just counting straws, cups and water bottles.
To put that in perspective, a 2,000-people capacity club’s consumption of plastic equates to the CO2 emission of 74 flights between London to Barcelona. With the same model, a 3-day festival averaging at about 400,000 participants, is equivalent to six times around the world by car in CO2 emissions—talk about a trip!
Bakos: Everyone can play a role in this. As an artist, you can adopt Bye Bye Plastic’s Eco-Rider and as a manager, you can ensure your artists all adopt it. Clubs and festivals can start taking eco-conscious measures, which we’ve seen festivals like Glastonbury and SXM Festival adopt.
And of course fans—you have a voice too! Don’t shy away from telling everyone how much the litter at your favorite concert is a serious buzzkill.
EDM.com: What can you tell us about plastic in the music industry, specifically at festivals?
Guitteau: You know that uninvited guest that tends to kill the vibe? That’s plastic. And we are so ready to help make sure it never shows up again. No more tripping on empty cups at festivals or hearing that crunching noise of a water bottle while vibing to your favorite artist at a festival.
Bakos: The pandemic was our chance to reevaluate our practices and find better ways to #partywithapurpose. Now that festivals are coming back, it’s so important that we put our learnings into actions—especially artists.
EDM.com: Why should people in the music industry specifically care about this cause?
Guitteau: DJs and artists are influencers. They have access to a unique opinion-shifting tool: human emotions. We’re all concerned and part of this climate challenge. At the moment, too few artists are raising their voice on the topic and there is a gap to fill. An opportunity to grab, actually.
Bakos: As artists and especially musicians, we can use the power of music to heal and spread a message of awareness to the world. We have the ability to reach thousands of people in ways most can’t. And when we are on stage, we can change the narrative and help people enter our own reality by using our voice.
Registration for Stay'ge Positive is now open.