Julie’s Bicycle was created by the UK music industry
The UK music industry founded Julie’s Bicycle in 2006 to take action on climate change, reduce its environmental impacts and use our influence and reach for positive good. Indeed our original tagline was ‘Taking the Heat out of Music’. Read our founding story here.
Since that day, Julie’s Bicycle has become a powerful leader for both the music industry and the wider creative sector in responding to the climate crisis – with our founder and director Alison Tickell winning a Campaigner of the Year at the MusicWeek Women in Music Awards in 2016. We provide resources, events and advocacy to enable rapid decarbonisation and bring the creative sector together as a powerful voice and catalyst for mass civic engagement in the climate emergency.
Over this time we have built up a large and ever-growing community of climate-focused musicians, labels, festivals and organisers working for change, alongside a bank of useful resources (webinars, guides, etc). Most recently we were honoured with the WOMEX 2019 Professional Excellence Award for our work ‘rallying of artists and arts professionals from all over the world to speak and act in one powerful group’.
Music Declares Emergency
Much of our recent campaigning and communications work is with Music Declares Emergency – a movement of now over 2,500 signatories involving hundreds of musicians, labels and organisers created to enable the UK music industry to declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency, to accelerate collaboration and ambition in order to meet critical targets and to call on government to use their policy and investment tools to enact the urgent systemic change needed.
The most recent event for the movement MDE: ONE was a huge success, a sold-out crowd gathered in the beautiful Grand Junction at St Mary Magdalene to be inspired by music from Eska, Sam Lee, Johnny Flynn, Tunng, Shingai, Ayanna Witter-Johnson and Coldcut alongside inspirational words from speakers including International Climate Lawyer Farhana Yamin, Fay Milton (Savages), Peter Quicke (Ninja Tunes), Chris Johnson (Shambala) and Karen Simmons (Universal Music).
With recent high profile sign-ups from the likes of Foals, Jarvis Cocker, Bonobo, Coldcut and Hotchip adding to the rallying cry of Music Declares Emergency, and musical interventions taking place across the world growing in ambition and number, it is clear that the music industry – and the wider festival and touring scene that surrounds it – is finally waking up to climate change.
Starting with arguably the doyenne of music climate activism, Neil Young, and his 2014 ‘Honor the Treaties’ tour to raise funds for First Nations legal defense against Canadian tar sands expansion, to Shambala Festival’s landmark decision to go 100% vegetarian in 2016 and single-use disposable free in 2017, to the 1975’s 2019 release featuring the speeches of Greta Thurnberg, Grime’s soon to be released concept album Miss_Anthropocene, Enter Shakari’s use of the beautiful if compelling warming climate stripes as backdrop at their Reading Festival 2019 show, Twilight Sad’s new collaboration with Trees for Life, Ellie Goulding’s recent blistering and inspiring speech on the backlash to climate activism, Nick Mulvey’s In the Anthropocene – Ocean Vinyl, a recycled record made from ocean plastic found washed up on the Cornish coast, with proceeds to Surfers Against Sewage – it’s clear there is a lot going on.
We’ve also helped inspire a carbon neutral club night in Brighton by Materials (50% of which proceeds were donated to us) – in a movement within the dance music scene summed up in this recent Mixmag article on the ‘Sustainable Sesh’.
ADE Green at Amsterdam Dance Event
ADE Green, founded in 2013, is an official day-long sub-conference of the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) filled with interactive panels and workshops on sustainability and social awareness in the music industry. Julie’s Bicycle is a partner for the annual programming of the event, along with others including the Green Music Initiative (DE), and Green Events Nederland (NL).
The event aims to kickstart a global green dance movement by connecting pioneers in sustainability, world thought leaders, and the electronic music community. Founded in 2013, ADE Green regularly attracts up to 500 delegates and is a day filled with interactive panels and workshops on sustainability and social awareness in the music industry, attracting up to 500 delegates. This year we programmed a mix of national sustainability heroes and global game-changers, such as Soul Clap’s Eli Goldstein who talked about responsible travel and climate action, and Groove Armada’s Andy Cato who spoke about his experience as a nature-inclusive farmer. We share plenty of practical stuff as well, both in plenary panels on plastic use and an exclusive workshop, dealing with circular material management.
Since 2017, Julie’s Bicycle programmes The Green Escape at The Great Escape Festival for new music in Brighton. Asking – what is the most meaningful thing we can do on climate change? Can artists really save the world – and is it even fair of anyone to ask them to? Through practical insights from those grappling with these questions, The Green Escape explores how different parts of the music ecosystem, from artists to agents, labels, venues, and promoters can collaborate to create a greener music industry, inspiring ambition and innovation. From activism to action, how can artists become a force for global environmental change? And how can we create a supportive and empowering industry framework? With a packed programme and even a sponsored bike ride from Brighton to London in aid of the cause – see what we got up to this year.
We Out Here
Julie’s Bicycle’s Lucy Latham asked key questions of music industry at We Out Here Festival in Huntington this August, in a panel alongside acclaimed musician Matthew Herbert, DJ and promoter Patrick Forrester of Heels and Souls and Aaron Levitt of Stamp the Wax.
Creative Green for the Music Industry
Creative Green is a programme which recognises and celebrates environmental best practice of events, venues, museums, galleries, festivals and offices using the transparent and methodical Creative Green Framework. Organisations are awarded between one and five stars based on points for commitment, understanding and improvement. It is the only environmental certification scheme designed specifically for the creative and cultural industries. Music organisations signed up include Shambala, The BRIT Awards, Festival Republic and Universal Music.
From square melons to 20 international phone lines or an elephant’s weight in hummus, artists have made some weird and wild demands of venues and promoters on their riders at shows and events where they have performed. If enough artists take action to green their own tours and ask every venue, partner, and supplier to work with them we can change so much. Our ongoing conversations across the music industry and demand from artists like Novo Amor shows that artists want to be part of the conversation on climate change, plastic pollution, and other environmental challenges. JB provides tools, resources, and a community for artists and their teams to exchange advice, ideas, and experiences for greener touring, including template Green Riders.
Festival Vision 2025 at the Showman’s Show
The Festival Vision: 2025 campaign is led by industry steering group Powerful Thinking, a not-for-profit project that has been working within the festival industry for ten years to help better understand and minimize environmental impacts. The 70+ festival organisers signed up to the Vision: 2025 pledge to cut the environmental impacts of their events come together for their annual conference at the Showman’s Show. Hosted by industry think-tank Powerful Thinking and featuring a variety of talks and workshops led by Julie’s Bicycle, the day brings together key figures from the festival industry to share their experiences and expertise, and green-minded event suppliers and support organisations.
Creative Spaces for Nature: Biodiversity, Habitats and Ecosystems
Featuring many case studies from across the music industry this report is an indispensable guide to the ways in which the creative sector can respond to the biodiversity crisis, with a focus on green infrastructure, single-use plastics, and the move away from unsustainable sources such as palm oil.
Show Must Go On Report
Read the 2015 ‘Show Must Go On Report: a comprehensive 48 page environmental impact report and call to action for the UK music festival industry. A major new ‘Show Must Go On Report is due in early 2020.
Powerful Thinking Guide
The new and updated Powerful Thinking Guide for the festival and live music industry provides event professionals with up-to-date knowledge and practical resources to help manage temporary energy smartly, reducing environmental impacts and fuel bills.
Webinar on Green touring
For many people, tours offer the only means to experience theatre, dance and performance in their local area. Given the increasing emphasis and cultural value of touring artistic work – and the resulting environmental impact – there is a need to develop a more sustainable model that embraces environmental practice. This webinar explores what climate change means for tours, and how touring organisations can develop their environmental practice through developing a collaborative approach with critical partners across the touring supply chain
Resource on circular economy
The Circular Economy is a new way of looking at the resources we use in order to minimise waste, detoxify it and transform it into valuable and restorative resources for us all – relevant for all musical organisers, festivals and labels. This briefing paper will give you a better understanding of the Circular Economy, and how you can apply its principles in your areas of work, from artistic practice to day-to-day operations in organisations.
Water Management at outdoor events
This guide focuses on water management in the context of environmental sustainability, covering the pre event, during the event and after the event. It will provide a practical approach to the water used at your events. It is aimed at anyone involved in the decision-making at events.
Green Music Guide
Written in 2009, the Green Music Guide is a ‘how-to’ for music companies and individuals interested in greening their activities – from touring to offices, recording studios to festivals. Commissioned by the Greater London Authority The Guide shows how the industry can meet London’s ambitious emission reductions targets of cutting its co2e by 60% by 2025.
Who we work with: Case Studies
Ian Solomon-Kawall on the May Project Gardens, South London
The May Project Gardens in South London are a unique community space for reconnecting with nature for personal, social and economic transformation, with music at its heart. We talk to founder and director Ian Solomon-Kawall about how he put the Hip Hop into horticulture.
Orchestra for Earth blog
Following their contribution at the creative Green Awards 2019, John Warner, Founder of Orchestra for the Earth, reflects on their orchestral environmental engagement tour across the Alps.
Jayda G: Where music meets science
We interview Jayda G, music producer, dj, and environmental scientist on how she’s bridging the two worlds of science and music, and the opportunities for artists to contribute to positive change for the environment.
Musician Kareem Dayes talks climate change in The Colour Green Podcasts
Baroness Lola Young meets musician and community organiser Kareem Dayes at One Tree Hill in South London to discuss climate activism and the power of music for community engagement as part of our The Colour Green Podcast series
Philharmonia Orchestra: Inspiring Thinking about Climate Change
As part of Philharmonia Orchestra’s Accelerator programme we met with the staff team to discuss the role that they as an Orchestra, can play in the cultural response to the climate crisis – coming out with a handy infographic
Reasons to be Cheerful episode: Frequent Flyer Tax
With 15% population taking 70% flights in the UK, is a frequent flyer tax the fairest way to tackle the contribution of aviation to the climate crisis – and the music industry is a significant contributor? Ed Milliband and Geoff Lloyd talk to Professor Alice Larkin about the problem of aviation emissions and why technology isn’t coming to the rescue any time soon – making the argument for a frequent flyer tax and explains how it would work in practice.
NINJA Tune: An active voice
Co-founder Matt Black has long been an active voice on climate change and his Ninja Tune label has carried through a progressive green vision to its operations, working to develop a sustainability strategy and broader advocacy work.
Shambala: A Creative Green transformation
A bright star in our Creative Green certification galaxy who have made phenomenal gains towards carbon-neutrality are the Creative Green Award Winners Shambala Festival who have completely transformed the festival landscape through their ‘bring a cup’ campaign, innovative waste and travel programmes and of course their trailblazing decision to be the first UK festival to go 100% vegetarian.
New Adventures: Green touring
New Adventures, an iconic and ground-breaking British dance-theatre company, has just been certified as the first ever Creative Green touring organisation – scoring a fantastic 4 out of 5 stars for its Swan Lake UK tour. Read about how their inherently green production model has developed over the years, from the first carbon impact report to engaging audiences and developing creative production techniques.
Previous JB Music Projects
EE MUSIC 2013-2016
A pan-European project co-funded by the Intelligent Energy Europe programme of the European Union to scale up knowledge and skills on energy efficiency and sustainable energy management. Find out more.
Take the Green Train: Europe Jazz Network 2014-2017
An initiative supported through the Creative Europe programme of the European Union to explore how the jazz sector can respond and create new networked responses in a rapidly changing environment. Find our more
CD Packaging Campaign 2009-2010
Based on our research that suggested CD packaging was responsible for a significant proportion of the music industry’s carbon emissions, we convened a working group of music, science and specialist experts to scrutinise the science and business of CD packaging. Find out more
Main photo: Shingai performing at MDE:One, Credit @ Gareth Morris 2019