Planet Green's Junior Producer, Rebecca Goodman rocks out at the Virgin Music Festival and brings back the eco-scoop.
At 10:30 a.m., on a recent Saturday morning, I began my journey to the Virgin Music Festival in Balitmore which has Pimlico Race Track rocking out the green way. Leaving from West Falls Church, VA, I elected to take public transportation to get myself to what would turn out to be a green-leaning and totally good time. I started out by taking the metro to Union Station, where I hopped on the regional train to Penn Station in Baltimore. From there, I caught the light rail then another metro to get to my final destination, Pimlico Racetrack, where the festival was being held. The trip took about 2 hours but on the way I met some amazing people who I saw at random intervals over the following two days and more than made up for the travel time of public transportation.
After checking in and, after dropping off my backpack, I headed out to the fields. The two stages and dance tent were positioned in a triangle and were far enough away from each other so that the acts on the different stages and in tent didn't interfere with the sound of the other performers. To get a feel for the setup, I took a quick walk around the fields, which is when I noticed that festival merchandise was made by Edun live, the organic t-shirt company run by Rogan Gregory and Ali Hewson and (yes, that's Mrs. Bono.)
Next, I made my way over to the TRAShed Recycle store, a joint effort among Global Inheritance, Planet Green, and Virgin Mobil. At the Re-store, as it's called, volunteers were handing out bags that had the word "eco-maniac" on them, to encourage festival-goers to listen to music and recycle at the same time. How, you might ask? Easy. All you had to do is pick up bottles and cans and other recyclables for prizes including anything from concert memorabilia to skate decks. The prize going to the concert-goer who recycles the most? A video iPod with the entire Battleground Earth series on it! How cool is that? People were pretty into it to: While in the pit waiting for Lupe Fiasco to come on, I saw a kid walking out picking up plastic bottles and proclaiming, "I am going to win!"
After snagging some pizza and a lemonade, I sat on the lawn for Citizen Cope. When I went to deposit my plate and cup into the trash, there was a kid sitting there who told you which bin to put your trash into — from recycling to composting. Maybe there is hope for the next generation after all! Turns out the guy was a volunteer, a "Green Angel," and that these people got free concert tickets, sponsored by Clean Vibes, which specializes in waste management for festivals and events, just for doing their green duty.
Meanwhile over at the Green Spot, sponsored by Toyota, people were was handing out cold-water soaked bandannas that had the logo "MPG: Miles per good" on them, with a fleet of hybrids parked on the lawn encouraging participants to "picture yourself in a Hybrid." They also had shaded areas where people were relaxing and where a guy named Paul was pedaling a bike that powered speakers. Then Jill Okawa (pictured below), Virgin Mobile's Marketing Manager, hopped on and pedaled away, while Paul rapped about Public Transportation. His rhymes were wicked and the beats were great. He gained a small crowd of festival-goers who were relaxing in the shade of the Green Spot.
Here's the part where my mode of transit to the event really paid off: If you flashed your receipt or your ticket from public transit at the Green Spot, you got a free tote bag. Woot! Carpooling got you a VIP parking ticket and a chance to get upgraded status at the concert. Promoters encouraged concert goers to be more eco-friendly in order to help reduce the carbon-footprint of the two-day music festival. There were other bikes set up at the Green Spot where people could get on and pedal and then enjoy a fruit smoothie that they blended by pedaling. Hungry for carbon-free strawberry-banana delight, anyone?
The artists were awesome and some really great performances were given by Citizen Cope, Wilco, Jack Johnson, Underworld, Hollywood Undead (the audience-voted "Pick-the-Band" contest winner from California), Foo Fighters, Lil Wayne — who had several guests including Kanye West during his remix of "Lollipop." Moby put out an awesome dj set and it was good have to STP out there again giving it their all as well.
Overall, it was an awesome time with amazing performances, awesome artists, and I took home unbelievable memories and made some new, lasting friendships as well. This music festival had it all!
Rebecca Goodman is a DJ and song writer who loves all kinds of music. She plays bass in a metal band named Everlong. She is a junior producer at PlanetGreen.com and lives in Virginia.
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