A Festival Stage Without Bottled Water: 35th Telluride Bluegrass Festival

Building on their efforts to make last year’s Telluride Bluegrass America’s first 100% carbon neutral music festival, Planet Bluegrass announces their Sustainable Festivation Manifesto for the 35th Anniversary Festival (June 19-22.)

Lyons, CO, May 22, 2008 --(PR.com)-- Gone are the days of concert stages littered with cases of bottled water – at least at the 35th Annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival (June 19-22) in Colorado. In its “Sustainable Festivation Manifesto,” the festival’s organizer, Planet Bluegrass, has announced that bottled water will not be allowed in the backstage or on stage and it will be restricted in the audience and food vendor areas. This new policy will eliminate the waste of disposable plastic bottles, along with the energy required to manufacture and transport the single-use bottles across the country. In addition, the Manifesto commits to local water, extreme reuse, carbon neutrality, increased compost, and sourcing 75% of the backstage food from organic suppliers.

To accomplish this severe reduction of bottled water, the festival is installing several water stations which use local Telluride tap water run through a system of filters. All artists and their crews will receive a stainless steel reusable water bottle as a gift of the festival. The 10,000 audience members, known to each other as “festivarians,” will be encouraged to bring their own reusable bottles from home or purchase reusable bottles at the festival. Food vendors will still be allowed to sell bottled water for this transitional year, but these bottles must be at least 1-liter.

Beyond the water issue, Planet Bluegrass will again be offsetting the event’s entire carbon footprint. The 35th Telluride Bluegrass will be America’s 2nd 100% carbon neutral festival – behind the 34th Annual Telluride Bluegrass, which was the first. While the festival grounds have been wind-powered since 2003, audits have shown that 95% of the festival’s emissions occur not inside the grounds, but from the air, car, bus, and train travel to Telluride from around the world. Planet Bluegrass actively encourages carpooling (through an online ride-share forum) and biking to the festival (in conjunction with New Belgium Brewing’s Team Wonderbike). But some travel emissions cannot be reduced, and those are offset using carbon offsets provided by Renewable Choice Energy.

Creative approaches to sustainability in the campgrounds will be highlighted this year thanks to a daily Green Campsite Challenge, a collaboration with Leave No Trace, where winning campsites receive camping passes for the 2009 festival. Nearly half of the festival attendees camp at one of the four official campgrounds around Telluride. These elaborate campsites often incorporate solar panels and water turbines to power camp necessities like blenders and rotating disco balls.

In an effort to openly discuss the complicated issues surrounding the festival’s sustainability efforts, Planet Bluegrass has launched a new blog at www.sustainablefestivation.com. In addition, lively discussions about the campsite challenge are taking place at the Festivarian Forum at www.festivarian.com.

Long a leader in the green festival movement, Planet Bluegrass was recognized by Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, jr. last year with the proclamation of Colorado Bluegrass Day for "using renewable energy to help protect our environment while producing a world-class festival." Planet Bluegrass’s green efforts have been featured on American Public Media's “Weekend America,” the Rocky Mountain News, Colorado Public Radio’s “Colorado Matters,” and as panelists at the Americana Music Conference and the Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee’s Green Workshop.

The 35th anniversary Telluride Bluegrass Festival welcomes festivarians from around the world to the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado, including headliners Ryan Adams & the Cardinals, Paolo Nutini, The Swell Season (Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova from the film Once), Ani DiFranco Band, Arlo Guthrie, Yonder Mountain String Band, Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby, The Frames, and a festival closing set from the Telluride House Band (Sam Bush, Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Edgar Meyer, Bryan Sutton, and Luke Bulla).

Planet Bluegrass
Brian Eyster