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Green Tours' Main Challenge: the Fans


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Radiohead, DMB discover fan travel is major problem


Photo: Austin/Retna


As even the best-intentioned bands are learning, launching a major environmentally responsible tour is virtually impossible. When Radiohead played the Nissan Pavilion in Bristow, Virginia, on May 11th, many fans ended up stuck in traffic for as long as six hours on the way to the venue, which is 36 miles outside Washington, D.C. The traffic jam, caused in part by a rainstorm, left drivers stranded on overwhelmed access roads, their engines spewing CO2 into the atmosphere.

This in itself isn't news. But before Radiohead hit the road for their current six-month world tour, they commissioned a comprehensive study of the environmental damage done by their last two North American tours. The report's conclusion? The band wasn't the problem — the fans are. The report revealed that 97 percent of the environmental damage done by the group's 2003 tour — nearly 10,000 tons of CO2, the equivalent of 4,000 trans-Atlantic flights — was fan-related. The conclusion was so demoralizing that the group considered scrapping the tour altogether. "The big eye-opener for me was Bonnaroo, which had about a seven-hour traffic tailback to get in," Thom Yorke told Rolling Stone in January. "That's fucking nuts."

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