Ahhhhh, Lolla. Lollapalooza is not only my favorite summer festival here in Chicago, it is also working its way up to being my favorite summer festival, well, pretty much anywhere. My body is a little tired, my brain feels a little fried, my back is a little sunburned, and as adorable as I thought my favorite metallic flats looked with my bright yellow vintage dress on Saturday, my feet feel like they could, at any time, completely fall off my legs. Thanks for the blisters, favorite flats. Despite the fact that my body doesn't seem to bounce back from the Lolla-experience like it did when I attended the traveling version of the festival way back in my high school days, the glow of the event is still surrounding me, with the phenomenal performances (um, wow, MGMT, I didn't think I could possibly have even more of a music-crush on you until this weekend), impromptu dance parties with my best friends, and sustainability galore still dancing in my head. Did I really just list sustainability as one of the best parts of an urban music festival? Why yes, I did. Read on for more.
We all know that everyone and their granny has jumped on the eco-bandwagon these days, and as exciting as it is to find those companies/organizations/brands/events (like music festivals) out there who truly care about making a change in the state of the earth, let's face it - for as many who truly give a crap, there are three times as many who call themselves "green" for no real reason other than marketing schemes to increase sales. I have always been a live music lover (I even spent months at a time on Grateful Dead tour in my late teens - true story). Combine that with Mountains of the Moon's experience exhibiting at music festivals for many years, and mix in the fact that my boyfriend is the stage manager for a touring band, and I am fortunate (and sometimes not-so-fortunate) enough to see the in's and out's, backstages and frontstages, paperwork and production plans of almost every major music festival that goes on in the U.S. Because of that, I have been witness to quite a few nameless festivals who advertise themselves as "green" and fall very, very short. Lollapalooza, my friends, was the real deal.
Take the biodiesel that the festival used to run the generators, the fact that styrofoam was banned (compostable and recycled plates only), the volunteer tees that were 100% organic and the merch tent that used only biodegradable bags, the fact that every ounce of paper used was recycled (including toilet paper in the in the porta-potties) and that there was a ban of any kind of paper fliers/handouts, and combine it with the Be Green Fan Tag, which you could purchase for a measly $5 to offset the festival carbon emissions, and I was pretty eco-impressed.
I am a major skeptic when it comes to anyone - whether an individual, a business, or a major event like this - who blatantly advertises themselves as being eco-friendly. But I did my research, in person, at Lollapalooza this year, and walked away with more than memories of friends and musical bliss, blistered heels and a major need for a full night sleep. I also, dear readers, walked away feeling satisfied, rather than disappointed, with the festival's efforts to truly walk the eco-walk and not just talk the (I can make lots of money by claiming to be sustainable) talk. Recycled paper ain't enough, big music festivals, to throw around around words like "sustainable" and "eco-friendly," mmmkay?
Hopefully some of the other major music events out there will take serious notice of the success of Lolla's green efforts, and perhaps in the future, concerts and festivals will no longer have to advertise themselves as eco-friendly at all - it will just be a given.
Hurry up, Lolla '09!