As we finalize our logistics for the upcoming tour, we are taken by surprise by the fact that no available sources that we are able to contact, can verify that there is a substantially lower Co2 emission from the direct flight Oslo Istanbul, compared to the chain of train stretches powered partly by diesel-driven locomotives or electricity from coal power plants. Add to this that the distance by plane is about 2/3 of the train distance, and that the occupancy rate of airtravel is significantly higher than train (around 67 %) average.
For the rest of our tour , there is no question, train is king, but for this first stretch of our train tour, we might actually travel by plane, and still stay true to the pledge!
As we plan our mega train tour starting in november, and ponder on the pro and cons on train travel from Oslo to Istanbul, we get the news that DB and DSB have stopped the night train from Copenhagen to Germany, from 2 november.How is that even remotely thinkable in a time where we have to move a big chunk of public transport from road to rail? The more we dive into this problem complex, the more surprises we get. Europe is far from ready to make any kind of shift towards greener transport, it seems.
It is interesting to observe that, in the same week that climate awareness is being baked into everything from the Norwegian state budget to Pentagon´s long time planning, cultural life remains (with a few exceptions) totally unperturbed by the grim facts of global warming. All booking and planning of concerts, at least in our field of European cultural life goes ahead based on the flying in, flying out concept, made possible by cheap flight tickets. One could imagine that promotors , festivals, agents etc.. would look towards the most friendly transport systems and organize concerts accordingly, maybe also use some more of their own energy in finding more concerts in short distances, once the act was on their soil.There are so many obvious gains to be made if the whole culture industry focused more on baking in these aspects in their planning, but it seems a long way to go. We still act as if we are in the eye of the storm, all quiet, whats the problem?
Green touring meets the market.
Many think of the music business as a kind of paradise. You just travel around and play the music that you love, and even make a little money out of it. Some even get stinking rich.
The truth is, as Cd sales now drops, and streaming revenue is next to nothing, all musicians look to the live market for income. Which results in very tight competition. This is especially so for music with a more narrow audience, like jazz or progressive fusions of different kinds. In this climate, booking a green tour, where we have to fit the concerts along trainlines in a sequence that makes sense in travel distances and economy, we encounter some serious issues:
1.Very few (Julia´s Bicycle being an exception ) cares or stretches out to help with the green travel concept. Which is understandable because for the audience, a good concert is what matters, not how the band got there.
2.The modus operandi of touring is now totally based on the dates set by the organizers: If Bremen organzies on a tuesday and Roma on wednesday, the tour is organized accordingly. If you have a concert in Istanbul on friday and start looking for the next in Sofia on saturday, it is so much harder to actually get your gigs.
3.The habit of air travelling is so deeply rooted in the music business now that nobody actually considers the distance Oslo Istanbul. Its just 4 hours on the plane. Once you need to get from, lets say Beograd to Parma in Italy by train , the distance gets physical, and the possibilities of playing that same night withers away as you study the time tables.1 day extra for travelling affects the budget, even if we sit in our train seats all night instead of sleeping in hotel beds.
So, as we see that we end up with a tour plan full of holes, and subsequently have days of expenses and no income, the travel costs in total are low , compared to air travel. With a train pass on 1 class for 30 days, we are now, with 10 concerts down on something like 250 euros per concerts for three persons. Whatever comes in of confirmed concerts now as we close the booking, is just bonus. Add to this the joy of travelling from city centre to city centre, no lines. Lots of time to think, move around even work as we travel.
In the next bog post we will look at how electric or diesel-driven trains affect our co2 accounting, especially going from Austria to Turkey.
The new Jøkleba cd OUTLAND is in print and will be released in october. The Jøkotour (Oslo Istanbul, Italy,Germany, UK) is developing, but still we struggle a bit to fill the gaps that we normally would not have travelling by air. The problem is mainly to get the concerts in sequence along the european train lines , and arrive at reasonable travelling distances criss-crossing the map. Anyway we will soon be on the road, and look forward to playing for audiences all over europe!
Jøkleba is recording for ECM. After some days of intense prerecording at Madstun with a Pro Tools rig hired from GRONG audio , we are spending time listening and editing before importing the project into Rainbow studios and continuing there with Jan Erik Kongshaug and Manfred Eicher on the 14 and 15 of may. The product will be released as a physical CD by the end of october and for download as soon the tracks are ready.
Working with the Jøkotour:
In trying to avoid diesel powered train lines, we, Jøkleba, are looking into alternatives. Electric cars are definitely the cleanest option. But,.. how can we know how the electricity we use to power the cars is produced? Coal-burning power plants are not the future, that is certain. In water-powered Norway this is easier, but as we move down Germany and Austria into Slovenia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Turkey? We are contacting the different green organizations to find out more about this. In the meantime we check with the “Car-Collective” in Oslo, who cooperates with other car-sharing organizations in Europe, about where we can rent electric cars. A search tells us that we can´t, so they contact head of Avis International, who also does a quick search and finds the same results. No Avis – office in Europe do electric cars. Hard to believe, but this is the situation as of today 12 feb 2014 . The search continues……..
Direct from stage in Bodø´s wonderful concert hall , we start the first leg of the 2014 Jøkotour by night train to Trondheim, day train to Oslo. The tour continues later this year with concerts in Oslo, and Copenhagen before diving into the long stretch to Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Istanbul,Bologna, and ending in the UK before going back to Norway
Sunday january 26 at 15 p.m. in the new cultural palace in Bodø, Jøkleba launches the concept Jøkotour and start of a train based low Co2 emission tour of Europe throughout 2014. Check the Jøkotour page for more info.
Jøkleba at www.jokleba.no