Thursday, May 22, 2008

posted by Jason @ 8:34 AM
Sometimes blogging gets kind of lonely. I'm here, away from the people who are reading this stuff. And you guys -and gals- are out...there. Somewhere. And while I hope that you're reading this, and that Sarah and I have made it onto your Google Reader page, or even that you just found one post that you liked, we really rarely know.

So anyway, that's a roundabout way of saying that I was delighted to get this piece of mail from Brian Eyster at Planet Bluegrass in response to my post on Colorado festivals. Brian was kind enough to let me reprint, thus filling you guys in on both the behind-the-scenes work at Planet Bluegrass and saving me a bunch of typing. Thanks, Brian! Look for an interview with the Planet Bluegrass gang later this summer.

Hi Jason-

I've been enjoying your green blog at JamBase. It's nice to see someone read through the hype of music festival sustainability and actually look atthe details of what's being done.
Thanks for the mention of Telluride Bluegrass a week ago. Your criticisms of our website (only focusing on waste and energy) were spot-on. We are doing more than that, but we need to be more open about it.

One of our goals for this year is to improve the transparency and openness of everything we're doing - and we're hoping other festivals follow suit (I'm honestly, doubtful about that). We just launched our own SustainableFestivation Blog last week, where we'll begin tackling these issues, especially the controversial ones.

We also just announced our "Sustainable Festivation Manifesto" for this year's Telluride Bluegrass. In addition to making the entire event carbon neutral (including all travel to/from Telluride), doing away with plastic bags, stepping up our use of organic/local food (we expect to source 75% of our backstage food from organic suppliers), and reaching out to our campgrounds to be more creatively sustainable through a green campground challenge.

One particularly interesting issue we're taking on this year is the phasing out of single-use bottled water. We'll be giving away reusable Klean Kanteen water bottles to all our artists and crew to keep bottled water completely out of the backstage (and stage) area. It's not going to be easy, but we think something like this can be best promoted with the help ofthe artists on-stage. In the crowd, we're no longer allowing vendors to sell less than 1 liter bottles (as a first step, this year). We're installing a water treatment station inside the festival where we'll be serving free local water the entire festival.

We've been focused on sustainability for the last five-plus years. Initially we did it not for the marketing benefit, but because it was the next exciting challenge in improving how we put on music festivals. For many festivals, "green practices" have become a marketing item. For us, it's just part of how we evolve our festivals year after year - twenty years as our company, Planet Bluegrass, and thirty-five years as the Telluride Bluegrass Festival.


Brian Eyster
Planet Bluegrass

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