Outside Lands: Green Music Festival Rocks the City by the Bay

outside lands photo

This past weekend, around 150,000 happy people danced and swayed to sixty four bands ranging in style from rap to indie rock in the first ever Outside Lands music festival in San Francisco. Outside Lands not only blessed the hallowed stomping ground of the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin with Golden Gate Park's first night concert in history (environmentally conscious Radiohead did the honors), it also celebrated San Francisco's eco-loving energy in a serious way.

Festivals are not always the most green friendly places. Any compulsive recycler would go crazy at most of them. Music lovers rush off to catch the shows they love, often leaving behind a sea of cups across the lawn (bad news even if they're these reusable festival cups). Then there's the carbon footprint of all the people getting to the event. And as one artist said in a press conference at the festival, "it's crazy how much [musicians] pollute we travel all the time."

More on how the organizers kept the festival clean after the jump...

outside lands bike valet photo
The bike valet was ultra efficient.

Outside Lands did an amazing job working to clean up the festival scene, starting the moment concert goers bought their tickets. At the end of the purchase they could donate to help offset the event's carbon footprint. This money then went to reforestation and manure management projects. Bike riders felt swanky about their eco-friendly transportation choice, dropping their bikes off at the festival's ultra efficient bike valet. Once in the concert space, bins labeled "compost," "recycling" and "landfill" abounded and it was clear there was more space made for the first two. All of the food was served on compostable plates with eco-friendly utensils that stayed out of the trash.

outside lands recycling bins photo
Festival-goers had easy-to-use bins for recycling, composting and landfill.

The green vibe wove way beyond the usual concert basics. If festival goers' cell phone batteries were dead from too many calls searching for friends, they could hop by the Ecolands space to charge them with solar and wind power. Also in Ecolands was a farmer's market featuring locally grown produce, a rockin' solar powered stage and even composting demos. If people did find any of those cups decorating the beautiful park, they could bring them to the TRASHed Recycling store, co-hosted by Planet Green, to exchange them for cool new gear. Oh and did I mention any generators at the event were running on 20% biodiesel?

Even many of the musicians featured at Outside Lands were green. Wilco recently launched a tool to get their fans carpooling to their shows. Jack Johnson loves the Earth and goes green by driving on biodiesel, greening his tour and saving the ocean. Ben Harper is all about green education. And of course, Thom Yorke, who with Radiohead hypnotized a monstrous audience with their Friday night sounds, takes on the political side of going green.

As Les Claypool said in a press conference Saturday, San Francisco "is one of the places that helps spawn something different [than the status quo]." Let's hope the city's Outside Lands does just this, inspiring a green change in historically eco-unfriendly festivals everywhere.

More on Eco-Friendly Music Festivals
Rothbury Music Festival Showcases Next Generation Carbon Offsetting
Live Earth: "Largest Global Entertainment Event in History"
Bob Geldof Slams Live Earth
Bonnaroo Music Festival Goes Green for 2006
TreeHuggerTV: NRDC Does Bonnaroo

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