11 Eco-Friendly U.S. Music Festivals
The weather is heating up and so is festival season. This summer millions will flock to various parts of the country to see their favorite bands and undiscovered talents. In doing so, a lot of garbage will be created. Just think of all the water bottles, food containers and not to mention the carbon emissions from the travel to get there.
To combat these issues, more festivals are focusing on being green. Many have adopted a “leave no trace” policy and rely on recycling, composting and other means to cut down on their carbon emissions. To celebrate the Earth, as well as live music, here are 11 of the best eco-friendly festivals in the U.S.
1. Grassroots (July 21-24)
Nestled among the Finger Lakes of New York state, this music and dance festival also celebrates the Earth, being honored with a Greener Festival award for its with many environmental initiatives. With areas for recycling and compost, vendors provide compostable tablewear only—forks, knives, plates, etc. The festival urges attendees to bring their own dishware to use and wash to further cut down on waste.
2. Telluride Bluegrass Festival (June 16-19)
Hosted by Planet Bluegrass, this music festival offsets its carbon output by partnering with Renewable Choice Energy. Planet Bluegrass takes into account everything from electricity used by hotels that house festival-goers to artist travel. They purchase renewable energy credits to offset these carbon contributors, investing in wind energy and other renewable energy providers.
3. Outside Lands (Aug. 12-14)
This San Francisco music and art festival hosts acts on its 100% solar-powered Panhandle Stage. Outside Lands also features food from a farmer’s market and local restaurants. Initiatives like a valet for bikes and a beach-clean-up day help to reduce its carbon imprint. The festival website lists all its greening activities.
4. Sweetlife (May 1)
Focusing on sustainability, this music festival provides organic and local concessions and on-site farmers market. Sweetlife also calculates its carbon footprint through a human-energy-activation provided by OPOWER. Check out the full lineup.
5. Coachella (April 15-17)
In past years Coachella has featured a 45-foot-tall wind-powered clock tower, cell-phone charging bikes, 10-for-1 bottle recycling centers, a solar-powered DJ booth and more through their partnership with Global Inheritance. This year the festival will be hosting TRASHed @ Coachella, a competition that has entrants design artistic trashcans for the festival. Coachella keeps attendees involved through other competitions and hands-on events. Check out the website for more details.
6. Lollapalooza (Aug. 5-7)
This Earth-friendly festival features a green art market and farmer’s market. Concert-goers can take part in Rock & Recycle, where they gather recyclable items and then return a bag in exchange for a Lollapalooza t-shirt. Attendees can also choose to purchase a Green Mountain Energy tag for $3 when purchasing their tickets, offsetting their personal carbon contribution.
7. Austin City Limits (Sept. 16-18)
Great minds think alike: ACL also hosts Rock & Recycle, a farmer’s market and has partnered with Green Mountain Energy, allowing attendees to purchase a fan tag. The perfect end to the summer, Austin City Limits gives you a chance to listen to some great music without causing a lot of pollution. Its website also lists ways to travel green.
8. High Sierra (June 30-July 3)
This Californian fest keeps things green by partnering with Clean Vibes, a waste management company dedicated to keeping festivals clean, as well posting a ride-share board on their site to help festival-goers set up carpools.
9. West Beach
No dates have been set for 2011, but usually in late September this festival has a history of being green. In 2009 the West Beach Music Festival received the Greener Festival award for their environmental initiatives. West Beach has partnered with Sustainable Travel International to offset carbon emissions. Along with a commitment to recycling and composting, there is no Styrofoam or one-use plastic bags allowed at the festival.
10. Bonnaroo (June 9-12)
This Tennessee Greener Festival winner, with the help of Clean Vibes, has introduced recycling and compost initiatives, permanent water wells and an on-site garden. Bonnaroo is another festival that sells “green tickets”, allowing attendees to donate an amount of their own choice to offset carbon emissions. For a complete list of their green activities visit their website.
11. Lightning in a Bottle (May 27-30)
Also receiving a Greener Festival award, Lightning in a Bottle is committed to “leave it better, leave it beautiful”, according to their motto. The festival uses biodiesel generators to power the stages and vending areas, as well as renewable energy art installations, and in the past have hosted workshops such as “Solar Composting” and “Composting” so concert-goers can adapt the green habits into their day-to-day life. Visit their website to get the complete list of their green initiatives.