I wore many hats this past week at Lollapalooza, both literally and figuratively, as the driver, unofficial photographer, and girlfriend of the bass player of the Brooklyn based rock band Beast Patrol.

While the starstruck, gape-mouthed, giddy side of me was euphoric throughout the entire week, the rational, critical side was constantly bombarding me with reminders of how insanely wasteful these operations can be: the energy, the fossil fuels, the cans, the travel, the disposables, the destruction of the grass beneath the feet of the gyrating populace… the list goes on and on. That being said, measures were taken both by the festival and by me to reduce the overall impact of the amalgam of festivalgoers.

I took some small steps to ensure that my week created as little impact as possible by toting along some  of my what I now call… Music Festival Essentials:

  • Mason Jar
  • Fork, Spoon, Knife
  • Cloth Napkin
  • Wide brim hat
  • Organic snacks in jars
  • A well thought out travel route with smart stops

How did I use these essentials? 

  • I brought a mason jar to use as my drinking vessel throughout the trip. It was perfect for coffee in the morning, water and drinks throughout the day, leftovers from dinner, and ice cream in the evening.
  • I only drank things that did not come in bottles that I could have in my mason jar such as mixed drinks and beer from a tap.
  • I brought a napkin, fork, knife, and spoon every day so I would not have to use plastic eating utensils.
  • I brought jars full of Organic snacks including nuts, dried fruit and granola and brought fresh fruit for the first few days of the trip.
  • I pre-researched places to stop along the route for Organic food.
  • I said NO to giveaways. Traveling with a band, I was offered a variety of giveaways that I neither needed nor wanted. The only two things I came out with were a reusable bag and reusable ear plugs (dating a musician means going to a lot of shows and as the foam earplugs are environmentally unfriendly I needed an eco-friendly alternative).
  • To be fair, I drove to Lollapalooza and it was easily around 2000 miles. A huge amount of fossil fuels that I am not proud of. However, I squeezed myself, the four members of Beast Patrol, all of their gear and clothes in a four door car saving both money and fuel.
  • To reduce other fossil fuels from travel within Chicago I used their bike share program and took the bus, both extremely fast and affordable alternatives to cabs (plus I got to bike along the beach on my way to Lollapalooza and get some exercise and take in the beautiful landscape)!!

Lollapalooza took some great steps to reduce their environmental impact at this year’s festival. They had a Green Street with artists, non-profits, and environmentally friendly programs for festival-goers including…

  • CamelBak filling stations
  • Composting food in the artist and picnic areas
  • Hundreds of recycling bins
  • Using bio-diesel at Lolla for their primary fuel for generators
  • Collaborations with with Green Mountain Energy to track and offset Lolla’s carbon footprint by donating to the Indian Creek Landfill Gas Project in Illinois

I was amazed that sustainability was so thoroughly integrated into this festival and am already getting excited about what they, and I, will do next year!

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