Environmentally conscious band Guster to play at MU

Tuesday, October 18, 2011 | 8:10 p.m. CDT; updated 9:08 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, October 18, 2011

COLUMBIA — Alternative rock band Guster will visit Columbia on Wednesday for a concert and question and answer session to explain how touring musicians can reduce their environmental impact.

The MU Office of Sustainability and the MU College Music Committee are co-sponsoring the event.


The Q & A session: 3 p.m. Wednesday in 204 Neff Hall. Free and open to the public.

The concert: 8 p.m. Wednesday in Jesse Auditorium.

Tickets: $18 for students; $24 for the public. Tickets can be purchased at the Missouri Students Association/Graduate Professional Council box office at the student center, online at the Guster website or at the door at Jesse Auditorium's box office.

Karlan Seville, spokeswoman for Campus Facilities, pushed for a public question and answer session because of the unique nature of Reverb, the nonprofit organization founded by Adam Gardner, 38, a guitarist and vocalist for Guster, and his wife, Lauren Sullivan.

Reverb seeks to lower the amount of carbon emissions and waste that are often associated with music tours in a process called “greening.”

Reverb has worked with more than 100 bands to make their tours more environmentally friendly, including Dave Matthews Band, Sheryl Crow and Coldplay.

The greening efforts include:

  • Using vehicles that can run on biodiesel, a vegetable oil-based diesel fuel.
  • Eating only local, preferably organic, food while on tour.
  • Using reusable water bottles, dishes and silverware.
  • Links to an online carpool service on the band’s website for concert-goers. 

Unfortunately, the non-tour status of this stop means the band will not travel in the usual biodiesel vehicles and will instead be flying in from the East Coast.

Gardner said the band loves coming to Columbia. 

“Columbia is an oasis in the middle of a no-touring period,” he said.

There’s no official reason for the band’s four members to gather in Columbia, Gardner said. But the band’s drummer, Brian Rosenworcel, has family in the area, and the band has played at The Blue Note during Summerfest in the past.

Gardner said they always make a visit to Perche Creek a priority when they find themselves in the Midwest.

Airplane flights are not environmentally friendly, Gardner admitted, and Reverb will calculate the amount of carbon emissions this trip will produce. By paying a company called Native Energy to fund activities such as wind farms, the band will “offset” the carbon footprint of the trip to Columbia.

Kellie Donahoe, chair of the College Music Committee, said efforts are being made by the sponsors to ensure that Guster's other green requirements are met.

The sustainability office has supplied the band with menus from local restaurants and grocery stores that use local farmers. Five-gallon water containers are available backstage and onstage for the band to cut down on disposable water bottle use.  Biodegradable coffee cups, reusable silverware and dishes and recycling bins will also be made available to the band.

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