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Massive Attack are planning a one-day festival that will be powered by 100% renewable energy and act as a prototype for the music industry, which they believe is woefully behind where it should be on issues of sustainability.

Founding member Robert Del Naja said promoters already have the technology available to dramatically reduce the environmental impact of the sector.

“There’s always talk about ‘I’ll just wait for technology’, but the technology is available – there are ways of doing it,” he said. Del Naja, also known as 3D, said Massive Attack hoped the gig would be a “proof of concept” to the music industry that low-carbon festivals are possible.

The event, which will take place on 25 August 2024 on Clifton Downs, will be 100% powered by renewables. Every energy source will be battery or solar on the site, food vendors will be vetted to ensure they use locally sourced produce and a “climate-resilient woodland plantation in the south-west region” will be created after the show.

The festival is the group’s latest intervention on the subject of touring and sustainability. In 2019, they teamed up with the University of Manchester’s Tyndall Centre to map the carbon footprint of tours, producing a “roadmap” for the industry that encouraged acts to reduce the amount of kit they brought with them and stop travelling by private jet.

Festivals and groups have already made some changes, such as single-use plastic being banned from many sites. In 2000, Glastonbury began planting trees in the local environment, which absorb 800 tonnes of greenhouse gas a year and ensure the festival has a “net positive impact on the climate”. Morrissey has insisted on venues he plays being “meat free”, while Pearl Jam began offsetting their carbon emissions in 2003.

But the Massive Attack event is targeting the biggest source of carbon emissions related to gigs: transport for the crowd itself.

Mark Donne, a filmmaker and climate activist who has worked with Massive Attack on several projects, said 65% to 85% of emissions for large-scale shows comes from audience travel. He said it was something the industry did not want to face up to. “This will be the first show that meaningfully deals with that,” he said.

Massive Attack will give local fans priority when it comes to tickets, train travel will be encouraged, and the organisers are putting on free electric buses to ferry crowds back to Bristol Temple Meads station if they’ve come from farther afield.

Del Naja also called on artists to stop being “greenwashers” for the music industry. “We’ll wear ‘the climate has changed’ T-shirts and make declarations from the stage,” he said, while suggesting some groups might be playing at events where the sponsors have connections to fossil fuels. “Ultimately, artists need to … [do] a bit more research on what they’re getting into.”

In 2021, the band had hoped to play a sustainable gig in Liverpool, but cancelled when it was revealed the venue was also due to host an arms fair.

In October this year the group’s “brilliant and eccentric” guitarist Angelo Bruschini died aged 62 from lung cancer.

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