Live From Rothbury Day 3

There’s probably not going to be a more appropriate post than this one when it comes to sharing and discussing a such a large amount of physical exhaust from a live concert. Usually, I’m writing about things that are less tangible but this time all my senses were fully engaged and submersed in the discarded waste of live music fans.

In between yawning inducing sets by Ingrid Michaelson and Colbie Caillat, we jumped on a golf cart train and cruised around the back roads with other media folk for a behind the scenes tour of Rothbury’s biodiesel and composting efforts.

At the last stop on the tour, I stood and stared at a massive heap of wafting mush that was the cumulative waste of Rothbury from the last seven days. Empty and crushed food containers, mashed together with other biodegrable waste,with some wrapped in corn-based bags. All of it began to slowly decompose into a Jabba-the-Hut-sized reusable compost heap that when fully decomposed would be sold to compost takers across the country.

This was my first time seeing a compost pile of this size and when I asked some of the volunteers—who were separating the trash into separate piles of compost, recycle and landfill—they all responded with great enthusiasm and pride about being able to contribute to such a good cause. “That’s great,” I said and wondered if other Rothbury festivalgoers would be so eager to dive into a bag of warm trash after two days of nearly non-stop rock n roll. In the last two days, I know I had to stop several times to think in which can I should toss my trash as there were three cans to choose from.

But thankfully, for fans like me, once the trash reaches the back-back-back stage of Rothbury, there were volunteers to pick through and separate the mis-tosses and the items into the right pile. But I still wondered if fans would go home and a make the right toss into the right cans all on their own. I know it’s going to take more than just three days to change my habits.

How about some facts?

While standing in front of the compost heap, Sarah Haynes, Rothbury’s Green Team Chief informed us that Rothbury’s diversion rate was at 73%, which is a high and very successful rate according to Haynes, and basically means that of all the Rothbury waste that is recyclable or compostable 73% is being reconverted into sustainable waste.

As far as biodiesel goes, we passed by several trucks with vats of biodiesel sloshing around in the back while we cruised around the grounds. And then we stopped in front of a row of large tankers that were supplied by Next Diesel, a Michigan-based biodiesel company chosen by the Rothbury Greening Team to convert the waste during the festival. We didn’t get any specific explaination on how the conversion works as Next Diesel’s pointman was unavailable. So I just looked at the tanker in confused wonderment.

It was an informative tour that like the media round table the day before,will be yet another link in the chain to a better understanding of what sustainable means and how a festival becomes more “green.”

I still have much to learn about being eco-friendly and I’ll continue to ask questions so hopefully I can figure out what action I need to take or behaviors I need to change. If I can ask my wife to explain the Dead culture to me and I can understand that then I know I can figure out where stand I some of these green issues.

In terms of balancing, education and entertainment, this was by far one of the most balanced festivals I’ve ever attended. But I didn’t hear a lot coming from the artist during their performances. Most of them seemingly came to rock and roll out, leaving the eco-talk for the Think Tanks and backstage tours.

Well, that’s all from Rothbury. If you were here and witnessed Atmosphere and Brother Ali almost set fire to Sherwood Forest,or saw another great performance or heard a great eco-discussion let drop a comment. And be sure to check out the next post as we’ll be featuring a Rothbury photo gallery by Colleen.

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