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Here for the Earth - The Glasshouse Joins Music Declares Emergency

Posted on 15 November 2021

SG Building


  • Having significantly lowered its emissions over 9 years, The Glasshouse International Centre for Music now looks to help reduce emissions related to travel, the broader music industry and its supply chain
  • The Glasshouse embraces the future of working with international artists to address climate crisis by joining Music Declares Emergency among other efforts
  • The Glasshouse continues to encourage use of public transport by offering free Metro Travel to audiences with purchase of Sage Gateshead concert tickets in a bid to reduce emissions

The Glasshouse, the iconic international music centre in the North East, is exploring how it can continue to connect worldwide artists with its audiences while taking an active role within the music industry to eliminate emissions and transition to a net-zero society.

At a time when the impacts of the climate crisis are being discussed at the highest level at COP26 in Glasgow and felt throughout the world, Sage Gateshead today announced that it has signed up to Music Declares Emergency alongside a programme of actions to reduce emissions across its activities.

Music Declares Emergency is a coalition of musicians, music industry professionals, and organisations who have come together to declare a climate emergency and demand government action to protect all life on Earth. By Joining Music Declares Emergency, the charity’s declaration reads:

The Glasshouse understands the climate crisis is a critical threat to our audiences, artists, region and planet. We will put environmental responsibility at the heart of our venue, working with artists and audiences to reduce emissions and make change.

Sage Gateshead’s first digital mini-festival, Variations, resonates with the immediacy of COP26 and collective attention on climate change. Contemporary artists Anonhi & Yoko Ono, John Grant, Moor Mother, and Tune-Yards each created a new work that expresses love for the world, all species, and the air we breathe. The songs reflect grief and loss when the world we know and love is no longer there, as well as an urgent demand for justice and equality, and an appeal to collaborate, imagine change, and act immediately.

In line with its pledge to the planet, The Glasshouse has been focusing on how to further reduce emissions from travel of both audiences and artists. Welcoming 500,000 people through its doors each year, travel traditionally makes up c. 25% of its total annual emissions. To combat this The Glasshouse has been encouraging active travel for staff by offering the Bike to Work Scheme, whilst encouraging audiences’ use of public transport by offering free travel on the metro with a concert ticket, with thanks to support from Nexus.

The Glasshouse is no stranger to environmental awareness; it has been tracking and reporting its emissions to Julie’s Bicycle* every year since 2013. The venue is one of 30 chosen to be a part of Julie’s Bicycles ‘Spotlight’ programme which delves into energy usage reduction in the building.

The Glasshouse recognises the critical importance of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius and is committed to continue to lower its emissions as rapidly as possible in order to meet this target.

The Glasshouse is a part of the North East England Climate Coalition who aim to make the North East the greenest region, as well as taking part in the award-winning Gateshead District Energy Scheme with plans to make all council run buildings net-zero by 2030.

Wendy Smith, Director of Contemporary Music said “The Glasshouse is responding to the climate crisis artistically by commissioning new music that reflects the world we live and motivates people to collaborate and make change. We also want to link artists to audiences in ways that have less impact on the planet than the usual models of international touring and travel. Our digital mini-festival Variations is four new songs and films on a theme of climate variations that could tip the Earth’s systems into an uninhabitable state. Every new song is a new beginning, that can contain seeds of change.”

Abigail Pogson, Managing Director said “As COP26 draws to a close, it is clearer than ever that everybody and every organisation will have their part to play in addressing the very greatest of threats.  In joining Music Declares Emergency and in producing festivals such as Variations, we able young people; more than 2,000 adults a week took part in music making designed to tackle social isolation.