Since their inception, outdoor music festivals haven't exactly been known as zero-waste, reduced-consumption models of ecological savvy. Several summer music staples have been trying to change that image, including the leviathan Lollapalooza. Fleeting are the days of bands bussing cross-country in gas-guzzling beaters to entertain crowds that will eat, drink and smoke heavily, leaving a fine layer of trash in their wake. Summer music fests are figuring out how to reduce the waste while keeping the fun intact. Lollapalooza is working to lessen the impact of its offices, its bands and its attendees. Here's how.
For the fans: Green Street
Just south of Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park you'll find Green Street, where festival attendees can stop to pick up some eco-friendly apparel and learn exactly what the green labels on various products mean. Besides environmentally friendly swag, concert-goers are also encouraged to purchase BeGreen Fan Tags: $5 carbon offsets provided by fest partner Green Mountain Energy. Each tag offsets 682 pounds of CO2, or 500 kilowatt-hours of energy. That's the equivalent of 757 miles in a car, 1700 in a plane or the carbon poundage gobbled up by 41 trees, depending on which unit of measure you prefer. After the $200 three-day pass, what's another five bucks to reduce the load of your summer road trip?
The world's biggest music fest is also encouraging rowdy music fans to behave like responsible and thrifty grown-ups: Don't throw your butts on the ground, refill your water bottles at free fountains instead of buying more and separate your recyclables from your trash. The goal: to leave Grant Park more pristine after rocking out than before.
Cleaning up the ops: Eco-Palooza
This year, the whole multi-media shebang will run on biodiesel generators, saving something in the neighborhood of 2,000 gallons of petrol and cutting down on the white noise to boot. All paper, from the posters to the plates to the rolls in the port-a-johns, will be made from recycled materials. Everything you eat off of or drink from will be biodegradable (so be on the lookout for the recycling bins around the grounds) and, best of all, promotional paper hand-outs are banned! No carpeting of flyers blanketing the ground—and no tucking your sweaty hands in your pockets as you pass eager promoters.
With the help of offsets and responsible office policies like ink-cartridge recycling and paper reuse and recycling, the Lollapalooza corporate office is aiming for a 100% carbon-neutral year. The fest is encouraging its vendors and performers to follow suit. Food vendors will offer organic, locally-grown fare. Artists are encouraged to travel on grease and help spread the green gospel to their fans.
To learn more about what you can do after the fest, visit the Quick Tips page of the Green Lolla website, which not only reminds you to change those bulbs to CFLs, but plugs some great local organizations like the Chicago Conservation Corps and the Chicagoland Environmental Network, too.
Want more Lolla? We've got you covered with tons of high-impact content. Become an expert on the fest with our alphabetical primer, get to know the local acts in this year's lineup, then plan out your schedule (and your kids' schedules, too). Still not satisfied? You'll probably be interested in one of these after-parties. And don't forget our music-festival survival guide.