Editor’s note: This article was updated on March 22 2022 with further information about Coldplay’s Music Of The Spheres world tour. It was originally published on Oct. 14 2021.
We didn’t need an excuse to dance more at concerts — but now there is one. Coldplay is experimenting with new ways to cut carbon emissions on their next global tour, Music Of The Spheres, by installing kinetic dance floors that will help generate energy to power the show through audience movement. How great is that?
And if that weren’t enough, fans can always hop on one of the electricity-generating bikes that will also be installed at each show, helping to cut mainstream electricity usage down even more.
The Global Citizen veterans and champions for the environment announced their long-anticipated return to the global stage back in October, after taking a hiatus from touring until they could identify ways to make their next tour as sustainable as possible.
The band's Music Of The Spheres World Tour will kick off in Costa Rica on March 18 and will be ongoing through to the end of October 2022, with all the dates and venues worldwide available on their website. Coldplay will perform on stages across the US, Europe, and Central America, while spreading awareness for the climate crisis. Global Citizen Live performers H.E.R. and Camila Cabello will also join the band as special guests on selected dates.
But it won’t just be a typical concert tour with lots of carbon intensive activities and no way to counteract them.
Music tours are traditionally pretty harmful to the environment. One study found that, in the UK alone, live concerts and performances generate 405,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year, while a 2019 report found that the average touring DJ has double the impact of even the world’s frequent-flying “super emitters” — emitting 35 tons of carbon dioxide a year.
For their new tour, however, Coldplay are putting the environment first, guided by three key principles:
- Reduce, including by cutting tour carbon emissions by 50%;
- Reinvent, including supporting new green technologies;
- and Restore, by funding nature- and technology-based sustainability projects.
“We’re very conscious that the planet is facing a climate crisis,” the band wrote when they launched the tour on their Twitter page. “So we’ve spent the last two years consulting with environmental experts to make this tour as sustainable as possible, and, just as importantly, to harness the tour’s potential to push things forward.”
Coldplay had previously announced in 2019 that they would not continue touring due to environmental concerns. Now, four years after their “Head Full of Dreams” tour, the chart-topping band is making new commitments to reduce their environmental impact and create a culture of eco-friendly music tours.
When asked in an interview with the BBC back in October 2021 about facing the possible backlash that may come from announcing a tour that requires air travel, Martin explained that the band can only do their best and work toward becoming even better.
“Sometimes criticism leads to improvement. If that’s the case, then it was worth listening to,” said Martin. “So we could stay at home, and that may be better, but we want to tour and we want to meet people and connect with people. So we’ll try to do that in the cleanest way possible.”
The band have aligned their goals with current climate action and advocacy, matching the targets set by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Race to Zero campaign. The Race to Zero campaign was launched a year ahead of November 2021’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), to encourage nations to reduce global emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
Coldplay’s 2022 world tour will be powered almost entirely by renewable energy, using a rechargeable show battery the band developed with BMW, the band explains on their website. They have teamed up with BMW to develop a rechargeable battery that will be powered by recycled cooking oil, solar power, and the kinetic energy of their audiences.
That’s where the dancefloors and bikes (and the fans’ movements) come in. These batteries will be powered using the innovative electricity-producing dancefloors — where kinetic flooring converts the audience’s feet movements into energy — and by fans pedaling the electricity-generating bikes.
Solar panels will be installed on venues ahead of each show and the tour bus will be powered with biofuel where possible. To help cut energy usage for lighting and special effects, the show will upgrade to more efficient equipment, including low-energy LED screens, laser, and lighting systems and a PA system with up to 50% less power consumption.
The band will also be taking steps to maximize water efficiency, cut waste, and encourage recycling throughout each gig. For example, fans will be able to drink free water at the show with reusable aluminum cups and are encouraged to bring their own reusable bottles. In fact at some venues, the sale of single-use plastic water bottles will be completely banned.
Coldplay are not only cutting their touring footprint wherever possible, but they’ll also be offsetting any carbon they do emit through tree planting and protection, and investment in climate-friendly technology projects. It will also be possible for fans to calculate their carbon footprint involved in traveling to and from the shows through an app, which the band will then offset — while fans that commit to low-carbon travel will be rewarded with discount codes.
The promise of a sustainable, low-carbon tour is just the latest in Coldplay’s environmental feats. The Grammy Award-winning group also joined the 24-hour worldwide broadcast Global Citizen Live in September 2021 to defend the planet and defeat poverty , taking to the stage in New York City’s Central Park, and even tweeting directly at world leaders to mobilize climate funding commitments in support of the Global Citizen Live campaign.
Fresh off the success of their recent collaboration with fellow Global Citizen artists BTS, it’s the perfect time for a Coldplay tour, and it’s so important that leading artists show that cutting carbon emissions on tour can be done so other pop stars can follow in their (low carbon) footsteps. We can’t wait to see them live!
For more detailed information about how Coldplay are cutting emissions, fans can visit their sustainability website. Will you be attending a Music Of The Spheres show? Be sure to come find our Global Citizen booth to get your photo taken and hear more about ways you can get further involved with fellow Global Citizens and Coldplay fans! You can also get involved by taking the #GCxColdplay challenge, and join Global Citizen and Coldplay in taking climate action now.