DMB to Fans: Y’all Carpool, We’ll Drive Separate

Some “uncomfortable irony” in the Dave Matthews Band’s drive to be green.

The Dave Matthews Band has enough money to purchase the necessary carbon offsets "to make up for the footprint left by each venue, hotel, flight, tour vehicle, and even fan travel" for their upcoming summer tour, according to Billboard, which placed the band at number four on its list of 2008's "Green Ten" bands. The quintet even got extra points for planning a Web site that will help fans carpool to shows. But when they tour the country together, Dave Matthews, LeRoi Moore, Stefan Lessard, Boyd Tinsley, and Carter Beauford each travel on separate buses. They have for years. To wit, wrote David Fricke in a 2002 Rolling Stone profile: "On tour, Matthews, Lessard, Tinsley, Moore and Beauford travel in separate buses—for comfort, to accommodate friends and family, and because they can afford it. Lessard says Beauford likes to split the venue immediately after the last note of the encore: 'But I like to stay for at least an hour and hang with the crew, watch them load out.'" A Dave Matthews Band spokesperson, speaking on condition of anonymity, says that's still essentially the case. "The tour comprises multiple buses which move the band members, crew members, family, guest musicians, friends, etc., from city to city," she adds. "Does the band all bus together? Usually not, but they always always [sic] carpool." Alex Steffen, executive editor of the Seattle-based online magazine, says that while it's tempting to poke holes in the green initiatives championed by companies and public figures, it's more important that the party is being transparent. "It sounds like [DMB are] being pretty up-front in what they're doing," he says. "That seems reasonably legit." But, he adds, "I do think there's at least an uncomfortable irony in driving five buses to the show." As for encouraging Seattle-area fans to carpool to DMB's upcoming Labor Day weekend stop at the Gorge, Steffen says: "It's pretty hard to imagine creating an event that involves an entire audience getting into their cars and driving somewhere, doing what they do, and that thing being green."

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