A Connector rocks the green

Posted by on Oct 6, 2011
A Connector rocks the green

HY Connectors on the HY-brid marketing team don’t just talk green, they walk it. Heck, sometimes they even rock it.

On September 18, 2011, a group of people passionate about sustainability (and good music) converged on Veteran’s Park to Rock the Green. It was the Midwest’s very first, near-zero-waste sustainable music festival, but you’d never have known it. Despite the weather, the festival ran like a well-oiled biodiesel machine.

  • The lineup included big names like Ben Folds, The Fray, Michelle Branch and Fitz and the Tantrums.
  • All of the food was organic and local.
  • The price of a ticket included a BPA-free, reusable water pouch. There was no bottled water sold at the event. Rather, there were several fresh-water refilling stations.
  • Cyclists generated part of the power for the event. They also used solar panels and 100% B20 biodiesel generators.
  • Concert tees were provided by Goodwill, who in the ultimate act of recycling laundered hundreds of t-shirts from its inventory and printed the Rock the Green over whatever was already on the shirts. (My very-Irish niece received a Kiss Me I’m Irish t-shirt with Rock the Green printed over it.)
  • The proceeds from ticket sales went to support to great local organizations—the Park People of Milwaukee and the Urban Ecology Center.

Every cup, plate, knife, fork and spoon was compostable. I know, because I was right there in the trenches—or rather, at a composting station—explaining to people how to separate their disposables. At times, it was a dirty job, but it was fulfilling and I was glad to be a part of such a well-thought-out experience. A lot of people were there just for the music, but as I explained to them how InSinkErator was grinding all the food waste into slurry that was being transported by Veolia to MMSD to make Milorganite (a locally produced organic fertilizer), you could see the proverbial light bulb (energy efficient, of course) turn on. People weren’t just having fun; they were learning. That was really cool to see.

Unlike other music festivals, people weren’t dropping trash on the ground and flicking cigarette butts everywhere. You could see they were starting to get it, and they were being respectful of the park we were rocking. I’m not going to say there wasn’t ANY litter; let’s be realistic. But it was notably much less. I know, because another part of my job was to use a picker, roam the grounds and clean during the concert. As I was doing this, people would smile and acknowledge me. In fact, one person actually thanked me.

The whole festival just had a great vibe, and I was glad to be a part of it. From helping them on rockthegreen.com by blogging about sponsors and beneficiaries, to actually working the day of the festival, I had the best experience.

An enormous kudos goes out to Rock the Green founder and executive director Lindsey Stevens Gardner and her entire team. This was a tremendous undertaking, and they not only pulled it off, but right out of the gate, managed to create an amazing experience for volunteers, talent, concertgoers and everyone involved.

There’s good news for all who didn’t have the chance to participate or attend; Rock the Green will be back next year. I absolutely can’t wait to see what they have planned for 2012—and I can’t wait to be a part of it.

But that’s just how I spend my free time. By day, I’m part of HY Connect’s HY-brid green marketing team. We help organizations communicate their honest green efforts. Check out some of this great work.