Congrats to the 2016 Campsite Challenge winners: Solar Solstice!

Campsite Challenge

2015 winners: Camp Tiki Bar
2016 winners: Camp Solar Solstice

To extend the spirit of Sustainable Festivation into the campgrounds, Planet Bluegrass encourages you to enter the 8th Annual How Green is your Grass? Campsite Challenge.

Coordinated by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics and Planet Bluegrass, the contest encourages all of us to raise the bar for sustainable and creative camping. All entrants are eligible for random daily prizes, while campsites that excel in achieving the highest levels of the Leave No Trace philosophy could win camping and 4-day passes for the 2017 festival.

2016 Winners

Congratulations to the 2016 Telluride Bluegrass Campsite Challenge winners, the Mary E Ilium campsite "Solar Solstice" from Aspen, CO. For their efforts, they will receive a pair of 4-day passes and camping for the 2017 Telluride Bluegrass. Congratulations also to this year's runners-up: Camp Duk Tape, Bluegrass Bicycle Tour, and Camp Blow It Out.

How Do I Enter?

The contest is open to all campers in any of the Planet Bluegrass-managed campgrounds. To nominate your own campsite or one of your neighbors:

  1. Leave No TraceComplete the 1-page campsite entry form at the Leave No Trace booth inside the festival. (Download a PDF of the entry form now.)
  2. Stop by the Leave No Trace booth each day to view all the campsite entries. Each day we select 2 winners (one chosen by our staff, one chosen at random) for daily prizes.
  3. Planet Bluegrass will select the grand prize winner after the campground pack-out is complete on Monday. The grand prize winner will receive camping and 4-day passes for the 2017 Telluride Bluegrass.

How Do I Win?

We will be judging on three simple criteria:

  1. Cleanliness. Are you repackaging the food you bring? Are you keeping a tidy campsite? Are items secure and not susceptible to wind gusts? Are you safely disposing of cigarette butts?
  2. 2015 winners: Camp Tiki Bar
    2015 winners: Camp Tiki Bar
    Sustainability. Are you separating your recyclables, compostables, and then placing them in the correct bins at the campsite waste stations? Are you reusing products (cups, utensils, water bottles, bags) instead of trashing them? Are you using any alternative energy sources to power your campsite? Did you bike or carpool to the festival; are you offsetting carbon emissions using wind credits or carbon offsets? Will you pack out as much as possible when leaving? Did you do anything to reduce your homes’ energy while attending the festival?
  3. Creativity. Does your campsite have a theme? Did you decorate your campsite with lights, flags, or banners?Are you utilizing any unique and innovative camping techniques? Are you cooking any creative camping recipes? Are you upcycling any items from home?

What Do I Win?

Random winners will be chosen each day to win: New Belgium beer, Kelty gear, Klean Kanteen products, and fun stuff from Planet Bluegrass.

One grand prize winner will be selected after the campground pack-out on Monday. This grand prize winner will receive a pair of 4-day passes and camping (in the campground of your choice) for the 2017 Festival!!

2016 Winners

Congratulations to the 2016 Campsite Challenge winners Camp Solar Solstice in the May E Ilium Campground. They'll be receiving free 4-day passes and camping for the 2017 Festival.

Camp Tiki Bar

Camp Solar Solstice
Mary E Ilium campground
This camp from Aspen, CO inspired us by how they ran their entire camp (and some of their neighbors') off of solar power all weekend, repackaged all food products before leaving home, ate and drank with reusables, ate locally sourced food, recycled, composted, AND they didn't even shower all weekend! They were celebrating their honeymoon at the 2016 Festival, and they've won a pair of 4-day passes and camping to celebrate their 1st anniversary at the 2017 Telluride Bluegrass.

"Not only do we try to camp and do festivals as green as we can.. but also try to incorporate our environmentally friendly habits in everything we do. As for our campsite, our biggest theme for the weekend was that everything we used ran on solar (4 venture 30 goal zero panels, powering a yeti 1250 goal zero battery bank, minus our small propane stove). That included our fridge/freezer (no ice needed), all lights including fun solar changing lanterns, our speaker for music around camp, and even extra power because of the long sunny days for our neighbors and friends recharging needs."
- Taylor and Tanaia McBride, Camp Solar Solstice

Solar Solstice tips for Festivarian campers: "We love what a great time Telluride Bluegrass is, and know that if we all do our best to keep our impact down the chances of it making it another 40 years is much greater!
Thanks to Solar Solstice and the many many other thoughtful, creative, sustainable campers at the 2016 Festival - including runners-up Camp Duk Tape, Bluegrass Bicycle Tour, and Camp Blow It Out. Congratulations to everyone who helped make this possible. Give them a virtual pat on the back over at the Festivarian Forum.

Some Tips from Leave No Trace

  1. Voting at the LNT booth
    Bigfoot at Telluride Bluegrass
    Before you arrive, repackage food into reusable containers. This will limit how much waste you bring to the fest and keep your camp that much cleaner.
  2. Re-use is the name of the game. Bring re-usable cups, plates, napkins, etc. This will reduce the amount of trash you generate.
  3. Good campsites are found, not made. Bring folding tables, chairs, or other amenities to make a comfortable camp. Remember to take everything you brought with you, and leave the area better than you found it.
  4. Establish a clean and green camping community. Work together with other nearby campers to share your resources and strive to Leave No Trace in a fun and festive manner.
  5. Secure your food. Human food is unhealthy for wildlife. Protect the locals and your food by storing all your food, trash, and compost securely in your camp.

For More Information

Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics is an educational, nonprofit organization dedicated to the responsible enjoyment and active stewardship of the outdoors by all people, worldwide. Visit at or call 1-800-332-4100