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Coldplay: Band ready for backlash over eco-friendly world tour

Coldplay’s next tour will partly be powered by a dancefloor that generates electricity when fans jump up and down, and pedal power at the venues.

It’s part of a 12-point plan to cut their carbon footprint, two years after the band pledged not to tour until they could do so in a more sustainable way.

Singer Chris Martin told the BBC in his first interview about the plans that fans will be on “kinetic flooring”.

“When they move, they power the concert,” he said.

“And we have bicycles too that do the same thing,” Martin told BBC entertainment correspondent Colin Paterson.

Coldplay on stage in New York in June

“The more people move, the more they’re helping. You know when the frontman says, ‘We need you to jump up and down’?

“When I say that, I literally really need you to jump up and down. Because if you don’t, then the lights go out.”

‘I don’t mind backlash’

Coldplay will also plant a tree for every ticket sold. On their last tour in 2016-17, they played to 5.4 million people. That made it one of the biggest tours of all time, earning more than $500m (£380m).

The singer said he accepted there would be a backlash about some of their activities, such as continuing to fly on private jets.

“I don’t mind any backlash at all,” he said. “We’re trying our best, and we haven’t got it perfect. Absolutely. We always have backlash for everything.

“And the people that give us backlash for that kind of thing, for flying, they’re right. So we don’t have any argument against that.”

He admitted there was always the question of “why tour at all?”, saying: “And that’s where we don’t really have any comeback except, we would really like to.

“We could stay at home and that may be better. But we want to tour and we want to meet people and connect with people – so try and do it in the cleanest way possible.”

Martin said their goal for a few years’ time is that they will have “slightly shifted the status quo of how a tour works”.

Chris Martin and Guy Berryman of Coldplay on stage in London in October 2021

The British group announced a world tour on Thursday, starting in March in Costa Rica, which has one of the highest rates of renewable energy generation in the world.

The concerts will use electricity from batteries fuelled by fan power as well as solar energy, recycled cooking oil from local restaurants, and mains power from 100% renewable sources where available, like in Costa Rica.

But the singer admitted they had not figured out how to cut the environmental impact of some parts of touring.

“In some areas, there’s still not enough possible, like how do you get people to a venue without consuming any power? That’s still really hard,” he said.

“Or flying – there’s still a lot of offsetting we have to do because even sustainable aviation fuel isn’t good enough yet.

“So we know where we still have a long way to go. But in terms of the show itself, the whole show is powered by renewable energy, which is amazing.”

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