Campus Consciousness Tour: Life on the Highway


by Eric Magnus

After a short break we’re back on the road with the Reverb Campus Consciousness Tour, hitting 6 schools in 7 days and covering nearly 2000 miles!

Needless to say, we’ve already had plenty of time on the highway to contemplate the strange nature of life on the road. From our understanding, standard concert touring usually involves a lot of excess. Excessive miles with excessively long days. Excessive food and material waste. Excessive energy costs to power the excessive technical effects.  And then, of course you have the mythical excesses surrounding the rock and roll lifestyle.

Sometimes you have to stop & save a turtle from the middle of the highway.

With that in mind, it’s been great to see how Reverb tries to buck that trend by making their concert tours more environmentally conscious and sustainable.  They have compostable and reusable catering materials. Solar paneling powers the day stage. They work towards keeping the tour food locally sourced from responsible organic providers who donate unused portions. Recycling containers are monitored by Reverb staff who also follow through with processing. They engage volunteers, music fans, and the campus community to support environmental organizations, companies like L.L. Bean, and non profits like the SCA!

Checking out the L.L. Bean Bootmobile!

The tour revved back up again at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. I’m from the Midwest, and it felt good being back in that part of the country, driving through all that open landscape, considering myself privileged to get to see so much of it.

After Carbondale we headed northeast through Ohio to Kent State, a 15 minute drive from Akron, my home town. One of the pleasures of the trip has been passing through areas I have experienced, visiting old friends, and sharing these connections with my tour mate, Dan, who has never been to this part of the States. Northeast Ohio is the land of the Cuyahoga, that great crooked river, which famously caught fire in the 70s after decades of nearby industry polluted it to the point of flammability. The Cuyahoga’s rehabilitation, and the area’s eventual transformation into a National Park, is one of the great successes of the conservation movement. It was particularly exciting to connect to students so passionate about caring for the environment, knowledgable about this shared history, and interested in joining the SCA to work, hands on, at continually improving the ecological balance in the region.

Opening act Scavenger Hunt tries the Bootmobile on for size.

Driving through Pittsburgh, on our way to Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, we met up with some SCA friends who were in town for an Alternative Spring Break service project. I was with this team for a similar project in New Orleans, so it felt incredibly fortuitous to cross paths with them again. How incredible that SCA was effecting so much change, in so many different ways, ushering on the continual transformation of the “Rust Belt” into a pathway of innovation and conservation.

Stay tuned for more dispatches!  

Featured artist Capital Cities geared up for just about anything.