Which Music Festivals Are Dirtiest?
Gumber, with a sign he made at Sasquatch
Our music feature this week focuses on the environmental impact of music festivals, which tend to be--surprise, surprise--ecologically problematic.
For the piece we talked with Tucker Gumber. Known on his blog as The Festival Guy, he goes to just about every festival imaginable. In fact, he's been to 38 of them since the beginning of 2011, he says, a total of 139 days at events from Southern California to Texas to Delaware.
He's been documenting his experiences, and keeping a close watch on the impact the different events are having on the environment. As he describes it, some are doing a great job, and some are shockingly grimy. Here, in his own words, Gumber breaks down the best and worst:
See also: Overheard at 4Knots Music Festival
Burning Man: Black Rock City, NV This 50,000 person city is built with no trashcans and is the cleanest city you will ever visit. The participants don't let MOOP (that's Burner speak for "Matter Out Of Place") touch the ground.
Outside Lands San Francisco The festival has attendees at each recycling area to ensure the participants place each item in the proper compost/recycle/trash bin. They also have an entire area called EcoLands where you can get rewarded for recycling and learn more ways to be green.
Lightning In A Bottle Temecula, CA The cleanest festival you will ever attend. The crowd is as clean as you could hope for and recycles, composts, and trashes when necessary.
Firefly Dover, DE Firefly does the best job of recycling in the campgrounds by giving the attendees a black trash bag and a blue bag for recycling.
Lollapalooza Chicago This one offers an entire street called Green Street for festivalsgoers learn more about being eco-friendly. Their Rock and Recycle program lets festivalgoers turn in recyclables for prizes.
Austin City Limits Austin, TX Offers the same Rock and Recycle program as Lollapalooza. Attendees like it and actually do it.
Next, the mediocre, the bad and the just plain trashy
Bonnaroo Manchester, TN Offers their Recycle and Win program to encourage attendees to recycle, but it wasn't advertised very well as I didn't notice it all weekend.
South By Southwest Austin, TX The event organizers try to keep the festival clean but it's just too large to contain. The streets are littered with thousands of fliers with bands trying to get to get people to their shows.
Credit: Josh "Curious Josh" Reiss
Sasquatch Quincy, WA The event organizers completely failed at this event. There were not enough trashcans in the fairgrounds, and they only cleaned at the end of the night. The result was a festival completely filled with trash, which was especially disappointing for an event happening in a green state like Washington.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.