Going Green at a Music Festival?

First off let me start with answering the question in this blogs heading...YES they can!! I am a trusted source since I have seen it first hand at this years Bottlerock.

Just this past Memorial Day weekend I attended the 3rd Annual Bottlerock Music Festival in Napa, CA. This annual festival boasts 30 wineries for wine tasting, 81 gourmet food vendors, 26 local breweries and about 25 performers per day. Some of the headliners of the festival in the past have been Outkast, No Doubt, Florence & the Time Machine as well as the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The festival continues to grow year to year thanks to its evolving music line-up. Over the last four years attendance at Bottlerock has grown from a mere 30,000 to a whopping 120,000.  With growing attendance comes growing environmental issues. When you are talking about quadrupling your attendance you need to look at ways you can minimize your impact on the community and surrounding area.

Napa Valley and surrounding cities are very environmentally conscious when it comes to waste, trash and emissions. If you were to walk from restaurant to tasting room, depending on rathers, you would see how items are farm to table whether that be your wine or chicken sandwich. So why wouldn't a music festival follow suit?

When Bottlerock first originated  in 2013 the event planners were focused on having a successful music festival with environmental issues not top of mind. As the music festival has evolved over the years so has the thinking of environmental actions. The festival has tried to tackle waste, trash and emissions in every way possible. They have even gone so far as to create a "Green Team of Volunteers" for the three day weekend of festivities. These green team volunteers are there to help attendees dispose of items in their respective bins in case the illustrations on the bins, see picture to left, are not enough. A lot of people get hung up on what waste items go where. Having someone help guide you to the right bins helps to make sure items are disposed of correctly. Outside organizations such as Sustainable Napa County, Napa Recycling & Waste Services, and Napa Valley Expo joined forces to put a plan in place for the vendors of the event. The group put together guidelines for food and beverage vendors so that items used for eating and drinking were either reusable, recyclable or compostable. The main goal for this years event was to divert 65% of waste compare to the 2015 event so that 2/3 of materials created from the attendees of the event are either recycled or composted.

Just like any other large festival traffic is an issue at Bottlerock. Though many attendees are from  the Napa area a vast majority of attendees of the festival are out of towners, just like me. With that being said the festival promoters tried to cover all of the bases when it came to smooth sailing of traffic as well as curbing GHG emissions. On their website they cover opportunities for bus transportation, carpooling, ridesharing, bike parking as well as flying.

Bus transportation was offered for free for those within the Napa Valley area and if you resided within the surrounding 9 cities there were charter buses available for a low price. If you were to carpool with more than 4 people in a car you were automatically entered into a drawing to become VIP for the day. As for ridesharing, Uber and Lyft were lined up and ready to take riders. The ridesharing companies also offered discounts and coupons to those that entered in a Bottlerock discount code. As for bike parking it is as simple as it sounds. You would just ride your bike to the event and lock up your bike while security watched over them. Sadly I do not have the number of GHG emissions that were diverted by the actions of the festival promoters, but any little bit that was saved means it was a success.

With Bottlerock implementing sustainable measures into the foundation of the annual music festival and showing how easy it can be I have to ask will others follow suit? Sure Coachella does implement similar items into its annual festival but not to the same extent. Bottlerock is paving the way to sustainable music festivals that make humans and the earth happy.