Biosphere Integrity X (live) Music.


miamaimania: “John Kitching’s ‘A Dangerous Idea’ ”

– John Kitching’s ‘A Dangerous Idea’


Exploring the intersection of biosphere integrity and live music unveils a fascinating dynamic where environmental consciousness meets artistic expression. As our awareness of ecological challenges deepens, the impact of cultural events like live music festivals on our planet demands analysis. This article aims to explore how the music industry can both influence and reflect efforts toward sustainability, offering insights into a harmonious future where entertainment and environmental stewardship coexist, however, stats on the environmental impacts of concerts have been relatively hard to pin down.

Biosphere Integrity, which refers to the overall health and functioning of Earth’s ecosystems, plays a crucial role in understanding the impact of the live music industry on our planet. It encompasses maintaining biodiversity, ensuring ecosystem resilience, and preserving the ability of ecosystems to support life, including human life. The live music business is a thriving multinational industry, projected to reach a value of €38 billion annually by 2030 and employing hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. Despite its cultural and economic significance, live music events often leave a notable environmental footprint. From disposable dining materials and merchandise to extensive travel and energy consumption for lighting and sound production, these events contribute significantly to waste generation and greenhouse gas emissions, exacerbating the climate crisis. The challenge lies in balancing the enjoyment of live music with sustainable practices that respect and preserve biosphere integrity for future generations.

How can live music affect biosphere integrity?




  • According to the organization, musicians for sustainability, U.S. concerts contribute over 115 million pounds of waste and 400,000 tons of carbon pollution.
  • In a project by Oxford University, researchers concluded that the U.K. music industry was responsible for the equivalent of over 590,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
  • Another study by Clean Scene found that flights taken by the top 1,000 DJs to gigs in 2019 emitted the equivalent of almost 39 tons of carbon dioxide.

Distress to local wildlife

Many music festivals take place in the countryside, out of cities where there are big open-air spaces to host huge events with many attendees, where the impact on local wildlife can be significant. Although festival organizers appear to select empty fields to host massive music events, there can still be an impact on the local wildlife. From water waste to noise pollution, human activity can upset the balance of wildlife.

An assessment of the short-term effects of an outdoor music festival on bird assemblages was held in July 2019 in central Italy, using a before and after comparable method where the festival was held and a control site, in the concert area’s urban habitat, there were fewer bird species and less variety after the event. This was not the case in the control area where bird numbers and diversity increased. The study showed that the concert led to fewer birds and less diversity only in the urban concert area, likely due to loud noise. The disruption caused some birds to leave the area, particularly affecting species like the Starling.

To understand how human activities affect wildlife, scientists Anne Berger, Leon M.F Barthel, and Wanja Rast, studied urban hedgehogs during a large music festival in Berlin. They equipped eight hedgehogs with tracking devices to monitor their behavior before and during the festival. They used GPS to track their movements, VHF loggers to check their nest use, and accelerometers to record their activities and disturbances. The hedgehogs behaved differently during the festival compared to before it. Each hedgehog had its own way of coping with the disturbance, either by changing their location or timing of activities. This shows that urban hedgehogs have individual strategies to deal with human disturbances, which helps them survive in city environments. Although more research is needed to understand how such events affect different bird species, hedgehogs, or other types of wildlife, this helps to understand the impact of music festivals on local wildlife.

Human activity has an important impact on biological diversity and the persistence of wildlife populations, urban areas have changed landscapes and lots of human activity, which can limit how urban wildlife behaves, understanding how human activity affects urban wildlife is crucial for conservation, wildlife management, and resolving conflicts between humans and wildlife.

Noise pollution

As we know, noise pollution is considered as any unwanted or disturbing sound that can affect the health or well-being of organisms, a Cal Poly study, the first of its kind to explore the long-term effects of noise on fauna, revealed that plants growing in noisy environments are observed to have difficulties taking in nutrients as for humans, many studies are revealing that high levels of sound pressure are linked to chronic diseases, stress, and irreversible noise-induced hearing loss.

Although some regulatory policies seek to prevent these issues related to noise pollution, even the World Health Organization hasn’t nailed down the right guidelines for long-term exposure to loud sounds like at music festivals, providing only vague advice. On top of that, the rules meant to protect animals haven’t been reviewed well either. While noise pollution can bring health problems in the long term to humans, animals rely on a calm environment to be able to hear sounds to mate, find food, spot predators, and communicate leaving noise pollution as a big threat not only to their quality of life, but to their ability to survive.

Nowadays, we see more people taking care of their ears, with families bringing children to concerts with noise-reduction headphones. At the same time, there’s a rise in brands advertising noise-canceling earplugs. However, we don’t see people bringing their dogs to big concerts or music festivals because it’s surely too loud for a pet. We need to start asking how safe these events are for other animals around, no matter how short the distress may be.

lasaraconor: “Kidd Gorgeous - Nightfish ”

– Kidd Gorgeous – Nightfish


Possible solutions

Concerts and music festivals can impact the environment in a variety of ways, ranging from overconsumption of fast fashion to noise pollution. Luckily, venues and artists have started taking measures to reduce the harmful effects on the environment caused by such events.

North Side Festival in Copenhagen is heading to become the first waste-free festival, with a 3-day lineup they place multiple trash sections for waste sorting, and by 2017, 78% of the total waste had been recycled. They also claim to fundraising money to restore the rainforest in an area corresponding to the festival site. Another festival known for its environmental commitment is Splendour in the Grass in Australia, which not only uses renewable energy but also, with the help of stakeholders, funds projects that help local communities adapt quicker to the use of renewable energy. But to maintain biosphere integrity and help mitigate the negative impacts of music festivals on the environment a combination of strategies can be used, here are some possible solutions:

  • Noise management and mitigation strategies like sound barriers around stages and loud areas to contain noise and help its propagation in surrounding areas. The use of directional speakers that focus the sound on the crowd and away from natural areas could help significantly as well as enforcing strict volume limits.
  • Event planing and locations by choosing event locations far from sensitive wildlife habitats and protected areas, as well as avoiding scheduling events during important times of the year for wildlife such as breeding or migration season.
  • Sustainable practices such as waste management to ensure litter is minimized and properly disposed of, as well as implementing renewable energy sources, promoting eco-friendly transportation options.
  • Wildlife monitoring and search by conducting wildlife surveys before and after events to understand the local biodiversity and identify any particularly sensitive species.
  • Public education and engagement with awareness campaigns that help to educate attendees about the impact of noise and pollution on wildlife and encourage responsible behavior as well as promote sustainable practices individually.

The link between biosphere integrity and live music reveals a complex relationship where cultural enjoyment intersects with environmental responsibility. As we navigate the challenges posed by the environmental footprint of music festivals and concerts, there is a growing opportunity for the industry to innovate towards sustainability. By adopting practices that reduce waste, conserve energy, and promote ecological awareness, the live music community can contribute positively to preserving biodiversity and mitigating climate impact. Ultimately, by harmonizing entertainment with environmental stewardship, we can create a future where both our cultural experiences and the health of our planet thrive hand in hand.


ILMS. (2024). About the live music industry. Recovered from:

Steffen, W., Richardson, K., Rockström, J., Cornell, S. E., Fetzer, I., Bennett, E. M., Biggs, R., Carpenter, S. R., de Vries, W., de Wit, C. A., Folke, C., Gerten, D., Heinke, J., Mace, G. M., Persson, L. M., Ramanathan, V., Reyers, B., & Sörlin, S. (2015). Planetary boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet. Science, 347(6223). Recovered from:

Pastukhov, Dmitry. (2019). The Mechanics of Touring: How the Live Music Industry Works. Recovered from:

Correa, Megan. (2023). Cleaning up live music industry: sustainable solutions for shows. Recovered from:

Bauck, Whitney. (2023). Making music in a warming world. Recovered from:

Biosofa. (2023). The 9 Planetary Boundaries: The Importance of Biosphere Integrity. Recovered from:

Foster, Laura. (2019). Climate change: Plan to cut carbon emissions from concerts. Recovered from:

Schmidt, Lindsey. (2023). Addressing the impacts of concerts and music festivals on the environment. Recovered from:

Robertson, Andy, (n.d). Managing local wildlife and biodiversity on music festival sites. Recovered from:

Battisti, Corrando. (2024). Changes in bird assemblages following an outdoor music festival: A BACI (before-after-control-impact) monitoring from central Italy. Recovered from:

Berger Anne, M.F Barthel Leon, Rast Wanja. (2019). Music Festival Makes Hedgehogs Move: How Individuals Cope Behaviorally in Response to Human-Induced Stressors. Recovered from:

Luxiders. (2020). Are festivals too loud for the environment? Recovered from: