Driving to Phish Festival 8 in a 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

Touring bands are notorious for their environmental footprints, but more and more the bands and their fans are taking steps to make the activity less damaging.

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When it comes to music, the Beatles—fueled by my parents’ large collection of vinyl—dominated most of my early life. The White Album is like my musical comfort food; it’s what I go back to when I need to feel rooted. But in terms of the music that has influenced and shaped much of my adult life, there is no band more important than Phish.

I became a Phish fan relatively late; I didn’t really discover them until college. But after I found Phish, the experience kind of took over my life. I went to 40+ Phish shows in the span of 2-3 years. Those Phish years filled the genetic spot in my brain that craves a group spiritual experience—the one that most other people get at church, mosque, or temple.

So when Phish announced they were going back on tour last year after a multiple-year hiatus in which most fans thought they were truly broken up for good, I felt like the family was being reunited.

But the family had changed. We were all older and wiser. We had gotten real jobs. Many of us had kids. We were working in the real world. And many of us had started to question the effect of thousands of fans traveling around the country and consuming mass quantities of energy, food, and goods in a very short period of time. In the time between when Phish had last played music together and now, the world has changed. And the older, more mature Phish fans now have purchasing power and disposable income with which to help drive change.

More and more people question the wisdom of our materialism and the effect it has on the environment and our sustainable livelihood. And now that I’m in a position where I can discuss and analyze these sorts of things in a large forum, I feel obliged to do so.

Towards that end, fellow Green Options Editor Tim Hurst and I are down in Southern California this weekend experiencing the 3-days of Phish shows known as Festival 8 with an eye towards what the band and its fans are doing to minimize their impact on the environment. Phish has provided us with press access and Ford has provided us with a 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid to drive from Los Angeles, CA, to Indio where Festival 8 is being held. I plan on conducting a full drive review of that experience in another post (early results are promising; I’ve driven the Fusion in heavily populated urban areas for about 40 miles so far and have averaged 41 mpg).

But there will be lots of other stuff to cover too, and not all of it will be appropriate for Gas 2.0—I’ll drop links in this post to my other posts about the experience on other green blogs. So stay tuned for more information about lowering the impact of going on tour, I’ll try to cover it as best as I can.

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Nick Chambers

Not your traditional car guy.