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What Firefly Festival Can Learn from Bonnaroo
Lifestyle

What Firefly Festival Can Learn from Bonnaroo

Firefly Festival sustainabilityAs Alex mentioned about his green Bonnaroo experience, the ultimate camping & music festival mecca has it all figured out.

As a contrast, I experienced Firefly Festival as a first time participant for both Dover Delaware and any camping festival. Although Firefly marketed itself as green, I was wary of their claims.

Here’s how Firefly Festival can learn from Bonnaroo and (hopefully) improve for 2014.

Firefly Festival Sustainability: Grades

Tickets – B

  • When you purchased your ticket, you could be a ‘green team’ member to get a free refillable water bottle, get a ‘green’ wristband (which is just… waste) and purchase the carbon credit. The carbon offsets are equivalent to 440 pounds of CO2, which is not driving a car 490 miles. Firefly also ‘matches’ the donation until they are completely carbon-neutral.

Recycling – C

  • Firefly Festival advertised and did have recycling bins, but the planning was poor in both ratio and markings. As entrants weave through the gates to get their tickets scans, many campers had ‘roadie’ beverages of aluminum and plastic cup variety. However, there were NO recycling bins at this point – only trash.
  • The recycling bins were concentrated by the food vendors. Instead, Firefly can have a 50/50 ratio for both trash & recycling.
  • Lack of labeling: It appeared that attendees could only recycle cans and bottles at the recycling station.

Composting – F

  • According to their website, Firefly claimed “Firefly uses a streamlined program to process trash of three different varieties: landfill items, recyclables and biodegradable compost materials.”
  • However, Firefly lacked composting bins to the best of my knowledge. This was a huge disappointment considering one of the largest composting facilities is located in Wilmington, Delaware.
  • Same goes for the camp grounds, where we took advantage of the camping atmosphere and prepared eggs, sides and fruit daily.

Solar Panels/Performances – F

  • None that I was aware of or could find on Firefly’s website.

Food – Good & Water – C

  • As a flexitarian/mostly veg, I was thrilled to see many vegan and veggie options at Firefly. Plus, the food was delicious.
  • There were 3 water refill stations in the entire festival, often with hundreds of people in a single line. Although I am unsure if this was not well-planned or motivation to buy water instead, I was disappointed with long lines.
  • You also were supposed to dump water before entering. By the last day, I may have snuck in the water bottle (with water!) when I rationalized with the usher at the front… 

Camping – C

  • Our Firefly organizer Dave also doubles as my fearless kickball captain. Luckily Dave had prepared with tents, grilling supplies, sleeping bags and many other essentials.
  • Unfortunately there was only one spicket nearby, often with a line. We used disposable plates and cutlery (I disappointingly left my reusable bamboo set at home). However, I will rationalize that camping and extreme experiences like these are when disposable products are meant to be used – NOT at the dinner table daily or when hosting friends.
  • When participants arrived (often with much traffic and delays), they were given bags for recycling and trash. However, they were not marked and I can’t verify how much was collected or if improper waste was disposed of in another fashion. Firefly should add more recycle bins in the campgrounds.

Transit – A

  • Firefly Festival did appear to have many websites to coordinate buses, carpools and more.
  • Buses like the Rock-n-bus were options for those traveling from nearby close cities like Philly, DC & NYC.
  • Ride boards were plentiful for participants to bargain prices and transit options.
  • Carpooling: Although there did not seem to be any extra incentives, three of us carpooled going down. Crammed into Dave’s BMW sedan, we managed to fit ourselves and belongings in this space for the weekend.

Summary – C+

Overall, I had an amazing time at Firefly Festival due to my company, the music and atmosphere. However, Firefly should improve their sustainability efforts for 2014.

 

Readers, have you made it to a green music festival this season? How do you think large-scale events are doing with sustainability?

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Julie Hancher
Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher

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