Rock Stars Harness Wind Power for Greener Concerts

"It adds another level of interaction with people in a very different, sexy kind of setting," said Sullivan. So they decided to combine her environmentalist background with his music industry connections to help make the concert business more tuned in to environmental issues.

Sullivan helped launch Reverb after she saw Bonnie Raitt and Lyle Lovett promoted environmentally friendly practices on their 2002 tour. Since then groups like Clean and Green and Patriot Wind have gotten in the act too.

For the BIG Summer Classic, they were able to purchase wind power for nine of their shows, including a recent show in Brooklyn, N.Y. An outdoor amphitheater seating 20,000 people would use approximately 4,000 kilowatts of energy, according to Clean and Green. By offsetting that with wind power elsewhere, they'll prevent 7,000 tons of CO2 from entering the air.

Using soy-based diesel fuel is also helping. Sullivan helped Barenaked Ladies devise a touring route for their buses this past winter so they would be able to stop at biodiesel stations along the way when possible and skip the gas station.

"When they were able to do it they did," said Sullivan. "It's something that they were very committed to trying … We know that Dave Matthews is using it, String Cheese, Neil Young, Willie Nelson -- there are lots of artists out there that are."

And, since the Dave Matthews band is regularly one of the top grossing acts of the summer season when they tour, Prescher thinks they're the type of big name act that will succeed in truly influencing procedures at venues.

And in the meantime, she'll keep working toward bigger goals, including eventually using a solar powered stage. "The bands provide a space for not just people to enjoy the music, but to enjoy the fellowship and the common goals of trying to care for our planet," said Prescher. "We've spent the past 100 years just dumping things and we've got some work to offset."

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