BLOND:ISH: The DJ who wants zero-plastic shows
It was the end of one of the biggest shows of DJ Vivie-Ann Bakos’ life, but she felt like something wasn’t quite right.
“I was playing at Warung in Brazil, one of the most iconic clubs in the world,” Vivie, who performs as BLOND:ISH, tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.
“At the end of the night you get a beautiful sunrise… but I could see cleaners coming out and picking up a mountain of plastic like robots.
“That juxtaposition made me think, ‘I need to do something about this’.”
It was there that her zero-plastic initiative, Bye Bye Plastic was born.
The aim of the scheme is for venues to stop using single-use plastics like straws, cups and bottles.
The first steps include encouraging artists to ask for “eco-riders” at shows and offering promoters a hotline service to get advice on the alternatives to using plastics.
A rider is a list of items musicians and artists ask for backstage at their shows.
Although Vivie-Ann admits “nothing’s going to change overnight” she’s adamant the scheme is realistic.
“Even though it seems like a huge task doesn’t mean it’s an impossible one.
“We’re like the babysitter of the music industry. We’ve done a lot of the research for venues and can help hold their hands through the process.
“Through small, actionable steps we can change this… it’s a lot less overwhelming than it might seem to those on the outside.
“When I’m not doing music I’m talking about waste now – I had no idea this was my future.”
Speaking ahead of a panel on dance music’s impact on the environment hosted by Newsbeat at the Brighton Music Conference, Vivie-Ann explains her recent performance at Coachella spurred her on.
“Unless I was bringing it up I don’t think a lot of people were talking about the plastic issue backstage.
“But when I did bring it up – agents, managers and DJs were super-excited to get on board and adopt the idea.
“I don’t know all the answers but I’m actively asking everyone about the topic.”
The DJ reminds promoters about the scheme “every time” she’s booked for a show, no matter how big or small.
It’s all part of her outlook that a “generational shift” is needed around attitudes towards plastics at shows so that future headliners and event organisers can help “solve the issue”.
“It’s not easy to enforce… I wouldn’t go as far to refuse a gig because I like to come with the advocate over activist approach.
“This is a relevant conversation to be had and any time I’ve spoken about it, the conversation goes in a positive way.
“Millennials want to be attached to causes and purpose-driven missions and this is one they can do that with.”