This was the subject of yesterday’s “Notes from the Planet” email, but I wanted to reprint the bulk of it here since it sets the foundation for what we’re planning to accomplish at this year’s Telluride Bluegrass Festival..
#1: Getting to the Festival
We’re proud to say that Telluride Bluegrass has been 100% wind-powered since 2003. But, emissions from inside the festival grounds amount to a very small percent of the overall footprint. Close to 95% of the emissions are created by travel to and from Telluride â€“ by our crews, by our artists, and by festivarians like you. We are tackling this problem two ways: by reducing emissions as much as possible through carpooling, biking, or walking to the festival; then purchasing carbon offsets to neutralize the remaining travel emissions that we can’t reduce - say for instance, that flight from Ireland.
Thanks to assistance from our partners â€“ including New Belgium Brewing’s Team Wonderbike, Renewable Choice Energy, and Clif Bar â€“ we are committed to making the 35th Telluride Bluegrass the World’s 2nd 100% carbon-neutral festival â€“ behind last year’s Telluride Bluegrass, which was the first.
Many of you will be camping with us for four or more days. If done properly, camping can be carbon-negative with a very low footprint on the planet - no home air conditioning, no lights powered by the grid. In past years, sustainable festivarians have used solar panels to power blenders, meticulously composted all kitchen materials, or employed a small hydro-turbine to power a rotating disco ball.
In order to these encourage creative, sustainable campsites, we are working with Chaco and Leave No Trace to hold the 1st Annual How Green is Your Grass? Campsite Challenge. You’ll be able to nominate campsites in each of our campgrounds which we’ll be honoring each day, leading up to the selection of a grand prize-winning campsite which will receive our most coveted tickets: Town Park camping passes for the 2009 festival. Join the “green campsite” discussion now at festivarian.com.
We’ll be doing our part by providing compost containers at all our campgrounds this year. We’re thrilled to announce that this compost can now be processed locally in Telluride!
#3: At the Festival
We’ve made great strides in reducing the waste from the festival including compost, recycling, and the requirement that all vendors use only compostable plates and utensils. But there is much more to be done as we herald in the new age of reuse.
- Beginning with water… We’ve been asking ourselves this question: why do we truck in bottled water, manufacture single-use bottles, and dispose of these bottles and boxes, when Telluride’s local water originates from a mountain stream which we can easily filter for all Festivarians to drink? We’ve decided it’s time to address this problem through locally filtered Telluride water and reusable water bottles. This starts with a “bottled water”-free festival stage. To accomplish this, we’ll be giving long-lasting reusable water bottles as gifts to all our artists. With your help we can limit bottled water on the tarps and in the campgrounds - whether through bringing your own reusable bottle from home or purchasing one of ours at the festival. We’ll fill up these bottles for free throughout the festival using filtered water from our water stations.
- Reusable bags have finally found their way into our grocery stores, now it’s time they become the norm at our festivals as well. As a first step, we will no longer be offering plastic bags in our Country Store. Reusable bags will be your only option â€“ again, whether you bring your own or use one of our sturdy reusable bags.
- Bring your own reusable… silverware, napkins, plates, vintage beer cups, water bottles, bags, tarps, etc. Find more packing tips at sustainablefestivation.com.
In addition, with the help of our partners Red Bird and Organic Valley, we’re continuing to move toward more locally-grown organic food inside the festival. This year we expect to source a full 75% of our backstage food from organic suppliers.
#4: Beyond the Festival
Finally, we recognize that sustainable festivation is an ever-evolving movement â€“ one with issues that need to be questioned, investigated, tweaked, and shared. To expand this dialog we are launching our new Sustainable Festivation Blog, where we will provide regular updates about our initiatives â€“ the questions we struggle with, what others are doing, and how we can work together to build the sustainable festivation movement. Check out our frequent posts and share your comments at www.SustainableFestivation.com.
Sustainable Festivation is about minimizing our impact on the planet. But it’s also about deepening the Festivarian community. A central gathering place for this Festivarian community is our Festivarian Forum at www.Festivarian.com. With over 1,750 registered members, this online forum is a friendly group eager to welcome in new Festivarians, share time-tested tips, and coordinate ride-shares. Together, we can make this fun, creative, and rewarding for all of us.
In the coming month leading up to our summer solstice gathering in Telluride, we’ll be including Sustainable Festivation Tips in each of our “Notes from the Planet” newsletters to help you plan, pack, and pass the time in these final days leading up to Festival…