The 1975 focuses on climate change activism in upcoming shows

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Courtesy of The 1975 / Facebook

The 1975's guitarist Adam Hann on stage during their show in Milwaukee on May 10. This marks the band's first show in the Midwest in nearly three years.

After The 1975 changed their traditional lead single to feature a message from climate activist Greta Thunberg, it was clear the band was going to use their platform to spread awareness in ways no other artists have before. 

While announcements for their upcoming “Notes On A Conditional Form” tour featured further dedication to climate change activism, perhaps the most striking example came from last week’s announcement of a festival in London’s Finsbury Park this July.  

The announcement was met with praise from fans and critics alike not just because of the stacked lineup – featuring Charli XCX, Clairo and Pale Waves – but because it has been dubbed ‘the greenest show Finsbury Park has ever seen.’

Adriel Trespalacios, DePaul junior and The 1975 enthusiast, said the group is taking an important step and other artists – and fans – should follow their lead.

“I think it’s really important that we take sustainability into account in every aspects of our lives, including how we like to have fun and enjoy art,” Trespalacios said. 

Co-produced by Festival Republic, the Manchester-based band’s festival will be the first in the U.K. to use Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil to power the entire event – reducing the onsite carbon footprint by 90 percent.

 “The event will also deploy hybrid-powered generators with solar arrays and reduce generator sizes from the results of extensive monitoring carried out at the 2019 Festival Republic Finsbury Park events,” the company’s press release said

Bailey Didier, a DePaul junior studying environmental science, said HVOs work the same as diesel fuel but emit less into the environment. 

Since HVOs have a similar chemical structure as diesel fuel, then it acts in the same way that diesel fuel does,” Didier said. “So HVOs virtually perform the same function as diesel fuel, they just emit less carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides.”

Elizabeth Becker, DePaul junior, said they hope the impact of the festival will reach other artists.

It’s really incredible to see this happening as well because it’s clear how many other artists admire and want to follow in the footsteps of this band,” Becker said. “I hope this opens up a broader dialogue in the music industry about environmental activism and what that looks like now. 

DePaul sophomore Kara Callahan said the band is the first mainstream artist to focus tour efforts on the climate crisis. 

Artists and bands have released music before that serve as commentary on politics and problems in the world, but the climate crisis has not become the content of songs in a lot of mainstream music yet,” Callahan said. “No other artist has made the goal of their tour rooted in conservation before.” 

The carbon footprint of each attendee will be tracked through a food light system – provided by Festival Republic. 

“Customers will be made aware via this coded system of the carbon footprint of each meal consumed, raising awareness on food-related emissions to enable informed choices,” said the press release. 

The event will also be the first show in the venue that is entirely paperless – as tickets will only be redeemed digitally.

In an attempt to “reduce waste and highlight the environmental impact of clothing,” only old merchandise from the artists will be sold – and fans are encouraged to bring their own to have their own repurposed with new designs. 

Callahan said she was excited when she heard about the way merchandising for the show worked 

Not only is this environmentally sustainable, but it also gives fans the flexibility to make whatever kind of merch they want,” Callahan said “Fans have the freedom to bring in any clothing to transform. I think this also aligns with the values of the band in them giving fans a space to create one of a kind merch.” 

Festival Republic will plant 1,975 trees with Trees for Cities in surrounding areas. In global collaboration with One Tree Planted, The 1975 will also plant a tree for every ticket sold – a tour-long initiative – in Brazil, India, Peru and the Philippines.

Becker said the efforts by the band to host such an environmentally sustainable show is “an incredible step forward for the intersection of music and environmental activism.” 

I can see these guidelines set up through Finsbury Park easily becoming the go-to as bands and festivals in the future try to do better,” Becker said. “In a lot of ways, it is very unsurprising that the 1975 would be one of the first major pop bands to get involved because their personal politics, especially Matty Healy’s, have always been wrapped around radically caring about people and humanity, which is a very leftist concept somehow in 2020.”