Each year, I head to Coachella and see a barrage of water bottles and cans trashed all over the sacred campgrounds. Each year, I wonder what they’re doing to minimize littering and plastic waste and maximize protecting our ecosystem as a whole. This year, I’ve noticed a huge improvement.
That’s partly down to Sam Feldt, who’s here to bridge the gap between music and sustainability. People may recognize the Dutch DJ/producer for his breakout single “Show Me Love” when they gather at the Sahara Tent for the BearTraxx back-to-back set with a “special guest” at 1:35 p.m.
The Dutch 25-year-old describes his music as a “feel-good start to getting into that Coachella vibe.” Translation: melodic, uplifting, energetic dance music to put you in a great mood. Simultaneously, he brings that positive energy by being among the first in the music industry to make strides in improving sustainability.
L.A. WEEKLY: How was your set here at Coachella?
SAM FELDT: It was good. It was a collaboration with BearTraxx and an organization called Global Inheritance. They wanted to do something against climate change. Me, I started my own Heartfeldt Foundation last October during Amsterdam Dance event, so it was a good match. Do something for charity, play Coachella, of course!
Can you talk about your work in sustainability?
It started about two years ago. I’m traveling all across the world and saw what’s happening to the planet. For example in Asia, when you land in China, some cities you can’t even see out the window because of all the smog. I was like, “OK, this is pretty confronting.”
I also know that I’m part of the problem because I take so many flights. I asked myself, “What can I do to minimize my impact, and make sure I inspire artists to make a positive change?” We started the Heartfeldt Foundation, my own nonprofit, which serves as a platform for influencers and other artists to use their reach for good.
I noticed the painted recycling bins out there.
It shows me that people at festivals like Coachella are actually thinking about it. Wherever the problem, they want to do what they can. Recycling stands everywhere, you can win prizes, they’re doing a lot around sustainability. You’re seeing it more and more at other festivals as well. That’s great, that’s what I’m trying to do as an artist. Other DJs haven’t showed a lot of interest or exposure when it comes to sustainability issues, I want to be that first guy who really helps to start a movement.
How’d it help with your set?
It’s just about reach. We had an early set but we had a good crowd. We had beautiful visuals from BBC that showed everything nature had to offer. We got the bears onstage. Hopefully it got people thinking, “What the hell is happening here?” They’re gonna look it up and we’ll reach more people with our message.
Were you nervous at all?
I don’t really get nervous anymore. The only thing that can really go wrong is technical stuff and that’s out of my hands anyway.
Who else are you most excited for here at Coachella?
My girlfriend is dragging me to Billie Eilish tonight, it’s gonna be cool. Ariana Grande as well. I’m excited to see the house-y, techno acts.