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Foals’ Edwin Congreave argues that many musicians should “just stop touring” to save the environment

By | Published on Friday 4 December 2020


Foals keyboard player Edwin Congreave has said that he has considered quitting the band due to the environmental impact of going on tour.

Of course, in 2020 being in a band hasn’t really involved going on tour much. But should musicians consider staying home more even once COVID is over? Appearing on BBC podcast ‘What Planet Are We On?’, Congreave says that “a lot of musicians and a lot of DJs and bands should just stop touring”.

That said, he concedes, if he opted out of a tour on environmental grounds, someone else would go in his place, so the world wouldn’t really be any better off. Plus, he adds, “I’m not quite ready to walk out of my job”. But, he says, he doesn’t think it is justified for artists to do “certain types of tours” – particularly those that involve lots of long-haul travel.

So maybe artists should review their touring plans and adjust them in an environmentally responsible way. “It wouldn’t affect our business particularly, but it would mean that we are not freighting two tonnes of gear halfway across the world and back”.

That said, if the COVID shutdown has proven anything, it’s that a lot of artists rely on live activity to make a living. And then, of course, there are all the people who work behind the scenes who would be negatively impacted if touring was cut back long term.

Congreave also notes, for his Foals bandmate Yannis Philipakkis, playing music is “his whole reason of being” and so “to suggest to him that we cannot tour is kind of like an affront to his identity”.

So, there are no simple solutions here. Yet, Congreave still nevertheless believes that “a lot of musicians and a lot of DJs and bands should just stop touring – basically, I think it’s that serious. It’s just a message that people don’t want to hear”.

Last year, of course, Coldplay announced that they would stop touring altogether until they could find a way of doing so that is environmentally “beneficial”.

Listen to the interview with Congreave here.