Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Green in Blue: The environmental impacts of jazz production and consumption

Medboe, Haftor



This article examines environmental consequences in the manufacture and dissemination of recorded jazz alongside the ecological impacts of jazz festivals as sites of fandom and convergence. By tracing the roots and development in the models for production, distribution and celebration, this article asks whether in a predominantly European context, the communities and industries of jazz have the will and the tools with which to meaningfully respond to ecological imperatives to mitigate climate change; whether as a global culture it can be an agent for radical change; whether it is prey to inertia through economically driven priorities; or whether there is simply a lack of sectoral capacity for the required imagination and resolve. The cost to the environment in the production and dissemination of music has been widely demonstrated (see, for example, Brennan and Devine 2020). Most essentially, such processes and products contribute to the causes of climate breakdown through the exploitation of our planet’s natural resources and through reliance on petrochemically based means of production. Similarly, the now ubiquitous festival site is widely regarded as increasingly problematic due to the burdens that it places on local infrastructure and the environmental costs of artist/audience mobility and hosting (on jazz, see Webster and McKay 2015 and Whyton 2020). The article topic is approached from a cross-disciplinary position drawing on the author’s experience as an academic in the field of jazz studies, his position on the board of directors of Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival, chair of the board of trustees for Scottish Jazz Archive and his engagement with the sector as a touring musician and recording artist.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 24, 2023
Online Publication Date Mar 8, 2024
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Mar 11, 2024
Publicly Available Date Jan 1, 2026
Journal Jazz Research Journal
Print ISSN 1753-8637
Publisher Equinox Publishing
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Issue 2
Pages 129-146
Keywords Jazz; environment; ecology; festivals; carbon
Public URL
Publisher URL