Mindful Festival Life: Back from Rothbury

Via Rachel Steele
on Jul 9, 2008
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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


About Rachel Steele

Rachel Steele originally hails from Charleston, SC, but schlepped all the way to Boulder to play in the mountains and study at the University of Colorado. She graduated with a degree in in Political Geography in 2008 and then briefly traveled in India and was certified as a yoga teacher in 2009 at Holy Cow Yoga Studio. She has since returned to her mother's ancestral home of Brooklyn, NY and is proud to call the Williamsburg area home. Despite what her mother recently said, she doesn't think she's become a hipster. She does wears many hats, including a fedora with a pin of Lindsey Lohan on it, but the one that is most important to her is that of a feminist filmmaker. She also loves live music, enjoys cooking, and is happiest when rabble rousing. She does miss Colorado, but feels very connected to her college home when writing for elephant. Her personal blog can be found at womanofsteele.tumblr.com and on imdb.


One Response to “Mindful Festival Life: Back from Rothbury”

  1. […] I have already mentioned that while Rothbury was at times about the mindless life instead of the mindful life, but the Think […]