NEWS: World famous artists join in support of World Cleanup Day

13/09/2018 Millions of volunteers will unite for World Cleanup Day this Saturday 15th September. Numerous well-known and beloved artists will show their support and help raise awareness of plastic pollution and mismanaged waste issues by joining the 24-hour World Cleanup Day Live Show, which will broadcast their messages to the world and with their music […]


Millions of volunteers will unite for World Cleanup Day this Saturday 15th September. Numerous well-known and beloved artists will show their support and help raise awareness of plastic pollution and mismanaged waste issues by joining the 24-hour World Cleanup Day Live Show, which will broadcast their messages to the world and with their music to celebrate this great endeavour, some will also join cleanups in their local area.

World Cleanup Day will create a 36-hour ‘green wave’ across the planet and it requires publicity and endorsement to engage the public on, and beyond, that day. So, the World Cleanup Day organising team has been reaching out over the last half year to musicians across the world who share the concern about the global mismanaged waste crisis, especially the harmfulness of single-use plastics. They want to greet and thank all the people worldwide who make the day happen and offer them their music to celebrate this day, as well as help to spread the word and inspire people to make a change in their community.

We are thrilled and honoured to have the involvement of the following artists, all of whom responded favourably to our cause: Gilles Peterson, Jack Johnson, Kodaline, José González, Kimbra, Paul Oakenfold, Snatam Kaur, Amadou & Mariam, Monsieur Perine, Herencia de Timbiquí, Simon Lynge, Ewert & The Two Dragons, Carbon Based Lifeforms, Eivør Palsdóttír, Liquicity (Hybrid Minds, Maduk, T&Sugah), NOËP, H2O Orchestra, Amir John Haddad & Vocal Line.

The World Cleanup Day team spoke with the artists about the very personal reasons behind their desire to support World Cleanup Day.

Multiple award-winning DJ and record label owner from the UK, Gilles Peterson: “I was DJing in Bali a few years ago and I went to the nearby town, but the beach was disgraceful, there was just plastic everywhere and you couldn’t even walk on it. I was shocked: I’d thought of Bali as being this beautiful place. Now we know how much the plastics are affecting the oceans. We’ve got to be a bit more aware and conscious. We get lazy and expect others to do something. I’m fully behind anything that will make people aware of how important it is to do something for each other. We’ve got to think about nature. Life is beautiful, let’s not ruin it!”

Jack Johnson, a singer-songwriter and musician from Hawaii who achieved commercial success after the release of his debut album, Brushfire Fairytales, in 2001 and has reached number one on the Billboard 200 chart with his albums 4 times, adopted the concept of greening in 2008 and became active in environmentalism and sustainability. “It’s empowering to be part of a large day of global action and to know that thousands of people are showing up at the same time to take care of their special place on the planet. It makes me feel connected to people all around the world.” Jack Johnson is setting high standards on his own concert backstages: “As a surfer growing up in Hawaii, I was always in the ocean. I began to notice colored bits of debris in the high tide line…more and more plastic was washing up on the shore. At some point I couldn’t just step over the high tide line anymore. I realized that through music I could help to raise awareness about solutions to plastic ocean pollution. On tour we have eliminated single-use plastic backstage and promote reusable pint cup programs to give fans an alternative to disposable plastic cups. We promote the simple actions people can take every day… like switching to reusable bags and beverage containers. Large-scale cleanup events like World Cleanup Day help to raise awareness about the importance of a clean, healthy planet, but we also need to focus on reducing waste in our daily lives.”

Kimbra, one of the best female singer-songwriters from New Zealand, whose duo performance “Somebody That I Used To Know” with Gotye hit over 1.1 billion views on Youtube and also brought the singer a Grammy Award in 2012: “We are under no illusions about the state of our planet in this current time and the obvious impact we are having with our lifestyles. It is of utmost importance that we all do what we can to lighten the burden of man’s footprint upon the earth. I admire the World Clean Up Day initiative as it is a way we can all pull together to do our bit. We may admit that we can’t change the world alone but through our communal efforts we can witness the impact of great things being done together, all around the globe. Our planet needs us more than ever and I’m proud to be involved with this movement.”

Carbon Based Lifeforms from Sweden: ”To be honest we didn’t know about World Cleanup Day until they contacted us. But we instantly felt that it was something we wanted to be part of. Recycling and not littering is natural to us and we hope this movement will make it natural to all Earthlings.”

Music is often celebrated in large events – ‘festivals’, with tens or hundreds of thousands of people gathering in one place. While these events are indeed celebrations, such numbers anywhere present inevitable logistical challenges and, sadly, plenty of waste to manage. It is well-known that the largest festivals generate a phenomenal amount of waste, not enough of which is managed.

For example, at one of the biggest, the Glastonbury Festival in the UK, data from 2014 revealed that, “Half of all waste generated by the Festival was recycled: 114 tonnes of composted organic waste, 400 tonnes of chipped wood, 23 tonnes of glass, 85 tonnes of cans and plastic bottles, 41 tonnes of cardboard, 162 tonnes of scrap metal, 11.2 tonnes of clothing, tents, sleeping bags, 0.264 tonnes of batteries, 3 tonnes of dense plastic. 0.25 tonnes plastic sheets. 983 tonnes of waste were recycled or diverted from landfill. 54% of our waste was recycled.” And that’s just 1 event in 1 nation in 1 year.

It is clear that festivals, and the music industry in general, needs to play a significant part in the need to embrace the change that has started to occur; awareness is going to be key. Of course, many of the artists themselves have become aware of the environmental issues involved and are becoming more vocal about it.

Tanner Watt, director of REVERB, an NGO who organises green touring for artists and green projects for music festivals says: “Lead by example. There is NOTHING more powerful than an artist leading by example. Music and musicians influence all aspects of popular culture from fashion to focus. When an artist shows their fans that protecting the planet is important to them by their efforts at a show or on the road, it means a lot. Fans appreciate REAL commitment from their favorite artists and they are compelled to follow that example.”

Gilles Peterson: “I suggest to the people who have the money, think about how you’re spending it; the festivals as well, you got to try and make sure that you’re not using all this excess stuff. And people are aware of it. I think it’s the responsibility of the festivals and the music industry and the arts to make sure that it’s very much a message for people to hear.”

Herencia de Timbiqui, a musical group formed by 11 Afro-Colombian maestros awarded as winners of the largest music festival in Latin-America, Viña del Mar in Chile, in 2013, are committed to fight for our planet: “Since its founding, Herencia de Timbiqui has been dedicated to writing songs that draw attention to important environmental and social causes. The band recognizes the precarious situation that our planet is currently facing, especially in places like our home country, Colombia, where we’ve seen so much destruction of our natural habitats. As a band, we are committed to fighting for the preservation of our planet in the hope of handing down a healthy world to future generations.”

Amadou & Mariam from Mali has performed as support act for U2, Blur, Coldplay and Scissor Sisters and shared a stage with with Shakira, Alicia Keys, John Legend and Tinariwen. Their album Welcome To Mali (2008) was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Music Album. When asked about their reasons for supporting the World Cleanup Day, they pointed out: “Pollution “won’t be”, it is “now” a main issue for our collective future as human beings. Global organisation of individual people, each one with his consciousness, is the only way to have a chance to work it out all over the planet, wherever we came from.”

Dispatch, a band from USA with social and environmental change in the core of the band’s DNA: “We were always interested in caring for the environment and trying to minimise our footprint while touring, but it wasn’t until Reverb approached us 5-6 years ago that we really enjoyed changed the culture of our touring tangibly!  So a huge thanks to Reverb and any other orgs like theirs who come alongside artists to make it easy to streamline.

Greening tours has been the most obvious uptrend in environmental consciousness thanks to organisations like Reverb and their tour staff and volunteers! We have loved working with them and they have make a significant & measurable impact across every tour.”

World Cleanup Day will gather millions of volunteers in 150 countries to unite with their energy, goodwill and concern for the environment, to clean their countries of waste pollution in a single day on 15 September 2018. World Cleanup Day is being propelled by the civic movement Let’s do it! World, which has been initiating cleanup actions across 113 countries throughout the last decade, with over 20 million volunteers taking part in total. The movement began in the small Northern European tech-savvy country of Estonia in 2008, when 50,000 people came together to clean up the entire country in just five hours. Technology created by former Skype chief architect and co-founder of Starship Technologies, Ahti Heinla, enabled the organising team to map more than 10,000 trashpoints before the cleanup and arrange the work of 50,000 volunteers.

The year 2018 marks 100 years since the founding of the Republic of Estonia. World Cleanup Day 2018 is Estonia’s biggest gift to the world on its 100th anniversary.

More information about the centenary events can be found at

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Tiina Urm, Head of Communication

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