I just got back from Rothbury, the Sustainable Camping Festival Revolution Celebrating Music, Art and Action (say that five times fast). I took the above picture during Yonder Mountain String Band’s set and if you look close you can see three rubbish bins, one for compost, one for recycle, and one marked landfill. Perhaps it was just me, but labeling a bin with “landfill” instead of trash had a little more effect on my psyche, making me feel pretty guilty when I had to throw something in there (Once actually. For gum. Sugar free gum, however, is compostable- who woulda thunk it?). It was definitely an ambitious recycling program for a festival, and volunteers, known as the Green Team, were always on hand, manning stations to make sure no trash got in the compost and vice versa.
But I suppose the big question remains…was Rothbury mindful or mindless? Well, a little bit of both if I am going to be honest. Concert grounds were still covered in trash at the end of the day; and there were plenty of kids who cared more about drinks and drugs than sustainability, but I am feeling optimistic. Whether it was Mike Gordon, the Phish bassist, reminding the crowd on July 5th that it was the Dali Lama’s birthday and that we needed to love each other and the planet, or the dedicated volunteers who cleaned up the concert grounds late at night and early each morning, recycling for their inebriated fellow concert goers, I saw and met many people dedicated to change. I will be blogging about some of them over the next day or so, but for now, in closing, I’ll leave you with Slug of Atmosphere‘s parting words after his energy packed Sunday set with Brother Ali, words that summed up the juxtaposition of do gooders and drug users, activists and inactivists: “Y’all are some green mother f***ers!” he screamed to the crowd, which elicited a rowdy approving cheer. Maybe not the most mindful language, but it’s the mindful message that counts.
Slug during Atmosphere and Brother Ali’s performance