Already one of the largest and most popular cultural events in the world, Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival also has the goal of being the most sustainable.
In June, 2014, the three-day festival drew a crowd of more than 90,000 to the campgrounds in Manchester, Tennessee, to see and hear some of the brightest icons in the business. With so many people, the greatest concern for event planners is figuring out what to do with the incredible amounts of waste generated in a single weekend. It takes a conscious effort from all parties—staff and crowd, alike—to cause as little damage as possible.
In the past, Bonnaroo has led the charge in enacting sustainable practices, and we'd like to highlight some of the green methods that the festival's supervisors and local organizations have developed over the last few years.
Easing the bottle burden with Refill Revolution
Refill Revolution, one of Bonnaroo's newest waste diversion programs, uses high-quality reusable water bottles and beer cups to minimize the amount of plastic drink containers that are bought, trampled and thrown away throughout the weekend. Attendees can purchase logoed Steelys Drinkware at a number of concessions stands and participating vendors—bottles for $5 and beer cups for $15—and, starting in 2015, they can pre-buy beer cups when they purchase their festival tickets.
Refill Revolution was a huge success in its first year, diverting 400,000 plastic water bottles and 30,000 beers cups from the landfill.
Giving a boost to local providers through BonnaROOTS
Another program implemented in 2014 was BonnaROOTS, a series of communal dinners that joined together the efforts of Oxfam, Eat for Equity and a number of local and organic food providers to give festival-goers an eco-friendly southern meal and a responsible break from the action. Each dinner played host to 100 festival attendees, staff members and non-profit executives and was entirely run by volunteers, and 100% of the dinners' proceeds from ticket sales went to Oxfam and Eat for Equity.
Recognizing sustainable salesmen with vendor badges
One of the simplest yet most impressive things Bonnaroo has done to promote a more eco-friendly weekend is awarding Sustainable Vendor Badges to tents and attractions that either offset their travel to the site or incorporate at least 60% local or organic products.
Honorees utilized a number of sustainable methods, including carpooling, avoiding toxic cleaners and using local foods and hiring local staff. These badges, awarded to 44 food vendors in 2014, are a proud statement to all attendees that the vendors are doing their part to keep Manchester beautiful.
To learn more about the fun and facts of Bonnaroo's green efforts, you can check out the festival's 2nd Annual Sustainability Report. Or check out its sustainability page to see what's in the works for 2015.