We are in the middle of summer and you can definitely tell! This summer has been a scorcher.  Much like the heat, concert festivals have come to be the standard summer fare.  With huge festivals such as Lollapalooza, Newport Folk Fesival, Coachella, and Bonnaroo happening all summer long, it is clear this is a musical trend.  These concerts, although fun, take a ton of energy to produce from sound and lighting to sanitation and bottled water. It is a wonder how any of these massive productions could ever be sustainable. Some of these musical showcases are making huge efforts with carpooling, recycling, promoting reusable items and green vendors, however, could there really be a truly sustainable festival?

Enter the Montreal International Jazz Festival. As we mentioned a few posts ago, we recently vacationed in Montreal. Our trip was perfect timing as we were there during the Jazz Festival. As we stepped foot into the massively crowded fest, we saw multiple stages, disposable bottles, and lighting every where we turned. We couldn’t help but wonder, how much energy is this festival consuming? But all around the festival signs were highlighting that the Jazz Fest had been “Carbon Neutral” since 2008.  On top of their carbon neutrality, much of the merchandise was produced locally in the US and Canada with organic cotton and recycling bins were readily available.

This certainly was impressive and satisfied my aching conscious enough for me to sit back and enjoy the bands. But when I returned home, I really started thinking about those words: carbon neutral. What exactly did it mean? Were they saying, they were running everything on renewable sources, did they somehow find the perfect eco-friendly energy source, or was this another bit of Greenwashing? The curiosity was getting the better of me and I researched this “carbon neutral” festival.

It turns out the festival is a bit of both; Greenwashing and sustainability. No, the fest did not run on generators powered solely by the sweat of the jazz musicians, but they were purchasing carbon offsets. Carbon offsets may seem like a great solution: essentially you are donating money to projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, however, is the festival really carbon neutral? They are using massive amounts of energy and even if they donate money to say, a tree planting organization. Is that really going to make up for the energy they used to fuel a month-long day and night festival?

The truth is, they are trying to be legitimate about turning Green, even devoting a whole webpage to the explanation of their carbon offsetting program and defining their carbon neutrality as: “calculating total climate-damaging greenhouse gas emissions from an event, organization or business, reducing them where possible, and then balancing the remaining emissions by purchasing high quality carbon offsets.” Their transparency website states how much of their festival they offset (100% from electricity to travel for the musicians) and where the money is going (Planetair, a Montreal based NGO devoted to supplying high quality carbon offsets.

Even though their system may not be the ideal (sweat some more, trumpet players), they are making an effort. In the end, they are bringing to light that these festivals eat up TONS of energy and are not sustainable in their own right. It would be great to see more of the festivals moving in the same direction or even better take a cue from Sasquatch! who runs their festival on a combination of Wind Power and offsets. Either way, we are delighted to see so many of the major players attempting to be serious about their energy use.  Who knows, someday we may have summer festivals running on the readily available solar power.  We certainly have the summer sunshine for it.

-Gina Williams

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Hey all you Autonomie Fans and Supporters, Anne and Matt were interviewed at Lollapalooza Green Street in August of 2008 by the Consumer Trend News! Watch the video below or online to learn more about our company, our Ethletic Sneakers and hear AP talk in person!! Let us know what you think.

We just returned from Chicago and wanted to thank everyone who stopped by our booth at Lollapalooza! We had a great time and enjoyed the music and all the people we met. There was a great response to our products and to other Green and Fair Trade Vendors! We hope to be able to attend more events in the future like this, so keep a look out for us! We wanted to give a special thanks to Rob and Michelle at Bleeding Heart Bakery (the best vegan cupcakes), all their awesome staff, and all the other vendors at Green Street! We hope to see you next year! Here are some highlights of the weekend:

Anne, Gina, Amy, and Matt working the booth Anne, Gina, Amy, and Matt Working the Booth

Green Street Green Street

Anne watching Mates of State Anne watching Mates of State

Autonomie's Booth!Autonomie’s Booth!

Gina Listening to Iron and Wine Gina Listening to Iron and Wine

The End of Lolla!
The End of Lolla

As we mentioned earlier this summer, Autonomie Project has been chosen as a Green Vendor at this years Lollapalooza in Chicago August 1st-3rd! We will have a table set up on Green Street during the entire event.

We just wanted to remind you, if you are going to the concert this year to stop by our booth! Come by and check out our NEW Flip Flops and T Shirts, as well as our Ethletic Sneakers and Purses! Or just stop by to have a chat with us and find out where we are headed next!

So we hope to see you there this year, especially since Lollapalooza has made quite the Green initiative this year! We are off to pack our bags and see you soon Chicago!!!

This year, Autonomie Project has been approved as a vendor for the 2008 Lollapalooza concert event August 1st-3rd in Chicago’s Grant Park. Our booth will be located on the “Green Street” section of the festival, which is going to be filled with like-minded, eco-friendly companies!

We are really honored and psyched to be a part of this year’s festival, especially since they are making a huge effort to lessen their environmental impact through an initiative called Green Lolla. The Green portion of their website explains, “Lollapalooza is committed to lightening our load on the earth, and using our giant ‘microphone’ to communicate the green message.” They have promised to do this by focusing on making the entire production of the event eco-friendly, as well as spreading the ‘go green’ message to fans and engaging the artists who play! Read more about Green Lolla and all of the great eco initiatives at Eco-Palooza.

Along with the Green movement, there will be other fun activities including a Rock the Vote voter registration area and a battle of the bands dubbed Last Band Standing. And, like every year, there are a ton of great artists including: Radiohead, Rage Against the Machine, Mason Jennings, Mates of State, Kanye West, Bloc Party, Broken Social Scene, and Explosions in the Sky, just to name a few. For a full list of the lineup, check the Lollapalooza website frequently as its updated constantly with new artists.

So if you are coming to this year’s festivities, please make sure to stop by the Green Street and check out our booth and make sure to buy your carbon offsets for the trip. Hope to see you there and more updates to come!

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