Back to all

Dessa, an EnviroRider and a greener Orchestra Hall

Dessa, an EnviroRider and a greener Orchestra Hall

Minnesota-based rapper-singer-essayist Dessa is known for her incredible performances onstage and in recordings, including her recent single on the Billboard chart-topping Hamilton Mixtape released last fall. On or off the stage, though, Dessa is also a passionate advocate for our planet, encouraging all of her partners (including the Minnesota Orchestra!) to be as environmentally conscious as possible. 

Watch: Dessa talks about her commitment to sustainable agriculture.

Green Notes | In Focus: Dessa from GoGreenNotes on Vimeo.

Over the last year she has worked with Minnesota Orchestra staff and musicians to prepare for her Orchestra Hall debut with the Minnesota Orchestra in two sold-out concerts on April 14 and 15. While planning for the upcoming concerts, Dessa shared with us an EnviroRider developed by the Minneapolis-based Effect Partners and championed by its founder and CEO Michael Martin. The EnviroRider suggests a wide range of actions that musicians, staff and audiences can undertake to give back to the environment during, and following, the performances.

The Minnesota Orchestra and its new Environmental Sustainability Committee have welcomed Dessa’s suggestions, taking on initiatives which include reducing CO2 emissions, decreasing food waste, supporting local sustainable agriculture and generally reducing the music industry’s environmental impact.

If you are attending the concerts with Dessa on April 14 and 15, you can be part of the effort! Here are some of the things happening at Orchestra Hall that weekend:

CO2 Emissions Offset

Native Energy, a Vermont-based climate solutions company, has worked with our staff to calculate the total estimated cost of emissions for energy use at the Minnesota Orchestra concerts with Dessa. In return, Minnesota Orchestra will donate that amount to the Improved Cookstoves Project in Peru, an initiative selected by the Orchestra staff and Dessa. The Improved Cookstoves Project helps families in rural regions of Peru gain access to energy and cooking solutions that are healthier, less expensive and more efficient. More:

Metro Transit FREE Rides

Metro Transit has teamed up with the Minnesota Orchestra and Dessa to offer FREE rides on public transit for guests attending the concerts. Passes are available online for each individual concert now (April 14 and April 15). Print the pass to enjoy a free round-trip ride to the concert. FREE rides are valid from 5 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on both April 14 and 15.

Bike to Orchestra Hall

Bike to Orchestra Hall

Beginning at the Dessa concerts and continuing through Sommerfest (April 14 to August 5), all guests who bike to Orchestra Hall and show their bike gear at the Box Office will have their name entered into a drawing to win prizes including a Golden Wrench Overhaul from Freewheel Bike ($240 value), tune-ups and gift cards up to $100 in value from local bike shops such as One on One Bicycle Studio, Erik’s Bike Shop and Penn Cycle, and more. For multiple chances to win, guests may enter the drawing at each concert they attend through the summer season! As part of this effort, additional bike racks will be installed outside Orchestra Hall for guests to use. More:

Not sure about biking at night? Bike to the concert and take advantage of Metro Transit FREE Rides to get home safely (April 14 and 15 only). All buses and trains have space for storing bikes.

Move Minneapolis

Move Minneapolis

Visit the Move Minneapolis table in the Orchestra Hall lobby to learn about bike and pedestrian safety in the Twin Cities. More:

Bicycle Benefits

Bicycle Benefits

Bicycle Benefits is organizing a group ride in conjunction with the Dessa concerts, so that the biking community can enjoy all of the concert activities and participate in Bike to Orchestra Hall discounts and drawings. Visit their table in the Orchestra Hall lobby for information about biking downtown, upcoming bike events and fun giveaways. More info:

Sierra Club

Visit Sierra Club’s table in the lobby of Orchestra Hall to learn more about America’s oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization. Find out how you can participate in their efforts to advocate for clean, renewable energy, conservation and efficiency, and clean energy jobs. More:

Composting at Orchestra Hall

Waste bins in the Orchestra Hall restrooms will be appropriately labeled and composted following the Dessa concerts. Composting bins have also been added to our catering and office kitchens, and throughout backstage. These efforts build on a plan that already features numerous recycling opportunities throughout Orchestra Hall.

Please join us in recognizing Dessa, and all of these contributing organizations and individuals, for leading the way to make Orchestra Hall a greener space. Watch for more news as the Minnesota Orchestra continues to explore ways to reduce our environmental footprint, while offering world-class performances in Minneapolis and throughout Minnesota.

Photo, top © Betsy Wall 


  • This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
    This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
  • Official Airline of the Minnesota Orchestra
    Official Airline of the Minnesota Orchestra