For so long, music has been thought of as immaterial. For this reason, the environmental impact of recording and performing music had been relatively unexamined by scholars or by practitioners, up until recently. “Fields of Green” was a year-long research project undertaken in Scotland that investigated the environmental impact of music festivals.
Along with talking to festival organisers and audiences, the project (and its follow-up, “When Tomorrow Becomes Yesterday”) asked prominent UK-based songwriters and performers to track and consider their own environmental impact as they toured across a festival season and then to write songs addressing the findings.
This presentation will combine live performance of some of the songs from the project—written by artists such as Adem (Fridge, Silver Columns), Craig B (Aereogramme, The Unwinding Hours), Pictish Trail, Louis Abbott (Admiral Fallow), Rachel Sermanni, and RM Hubbert—with discussion of the findings.
The songs serve to enliven, embody, and humanise these findings, which include questions around the intersection of human cost with environmental cost; the relationship of the devaluing of physical artefacts with increased carbon emissions of the live and recorded music sectors; the emotional factors at play in denial of climate emergency; the complex decision-making processes involved in DIY touring itineraries; the felt relationship between environmental sustainability and cultural, economic, or personal sustainability of artists.
Jo Mango (or Dr Jo Collinson Scott) is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has performed internationally alongside artists such as David Byrne, Devendra Banhart, and as part of the touring band for Vashti Bunyan. She has co-written singles with artists such as Teenage Fanclub, Admiral Fallow, and Siobhan Wilson, as well as having released two full-length albums of solo material and numerous exploratory EPs with her long-time producer collaborator Adem Ilhan (Adem, Fridge).
Dr Jo Collinson Scott is a Reader in music at the University of the West of Scotland where she researches songwriting in popular music. She is currently Co-Investigator on a major UK research council funded project—Distant Voices: Coming Home—which explores songwriting in the criminal justice system in the UK as a means to support change and encourage public dialogue around reintegration.