EARTH SONG

Most mu­si­cians chase FAME AND FOR­TUNE. But Aus­tralian muso ZIGGY AL­BERTS wants fans to help him SAVE THE PLANET – and it’s fill­ing his venues.

Collective Hub - - STORIES - WORDS AMY NELMES BIS­SETT

In a cul­ture of throw­away fash­ion, we’re in­creas­ingly en­cour­aged to buy fewer clothes and ex­tend the lifes­pan of our out­fits. The mighty band T-shirt is the per­fect ex­am­ple of a gar­ment of­ten worn once, and then for­got­ten. This is some­thing that trou­bles folk singer-song­writer Ziggy Al­berts. In fact, it was the trig­ger for him in­tro­duc­ing non-branded T-shirts to his mer­chan­dise line.

“I was re­ally keen to make a prod­uct that peo­ple re­ally wanted to wear, not just when they’re go­ing to my shows,” says Ziggy. “So, my T-shirts have never had my name on them, ever. They’ve only had graph­ics. I wanted it to be some­thing that’s a talk­ing point.”

Last year, when Ziggy played a string of 30 shows, the T-shirts on sale fea­tured a colour­ful rain­for­est sur­round­ing a lake filled with a pod of dol­phins, at a cost of AU$40 per gar­ment. Oh, and they were all made from Fair­trade, 100 per cent or­ganic cot­ton, too.

“As hu­mans, we still have to be at­tracted to it first,” he ex­plains. “I want them to buy the shirt firstly be­cause they like it, then be sur­prised that it’s or­ganic cot­ton and that it’s Fair­trade. If you com­mu­ni­cate that you’re putting in that ef­fort, peo­ple are more likely to sup­port that. Hu­mans re­ally want to do well.”

Live mu­sic is an ever-churn­ing, con­stant ma­chine, im­pact­ing the world in many ways, from the fuel used to cover thou­sands of air and road miles to the en­ergy needed to fire up a venue. And that’s not even tak­ing into ac­count the at­ten­dees’ waste, with wa­ter bot­tles, beer cups, straws, food wrap­pers and uten­sils all be­ing left be­hind once the lights go out. But green and eco-friendly choices are on the rise.

While some singers are con­cerned with sex, drugs and rock and roll, Ziggy is fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of Jack John­son, Ma­roon 5 and Phar­rell Wil­liams. Their com­mon­al­ity? They all mix mu­sic with an eco-con­scious ethos, or at least try to.

De­fy­ing the cliché of in­dul­gent celebri­ties, Ma­roon 5 fu­els their buses with biodiesel, re­duced the car­bon foot­print of their tours, and have off­set hun­dreds of thou­sands of pounds of car­bon diox­ide. Bruno Mars is a strong sup­porter of The Rain­for­est Foun­da­tion. And Phar­rell be­came the cre­ative di­rec­tor of Bionic Yarn – a fabric made from plas­tic pol­lu­tion sal­vaged from the oceans – in 2009.

In Jan­uary 2018, Lost Par­adise mu­sic fes­ti­val came un­der fire when video footage of the site went vi­ral af­ter the four-day event, show­ing rub­bish strewn across the ground, with fes­ti­val­go­ers com­plain­ing there was barely a bin in sight. This is de­spite the fact that, in 2017, Lost Par­adise in­tro­duced an ‘eco bond’ on every ticket sold. This AU$10 fee is re­funded if a guest col­lects and hands in one bag of re­cy­cling and one bag of gen­eral waste at the end of the event. This year, more than 22,000 bags were handed out on en­try at the start of the fes­ti­val. >

I WANTED it to be some­thing that’s a TALK­ING point.

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