Sustaining the Environment at the High Sierra Music Festival

Music-FestivalQuincy, California will host the upcoming High Sierra Music Festival, a four day celebration of music and positive community approach to keeping the world clean. The High Sierra Music Festival will take place on June 30, 2011, and run until July 3, 2011. Music lovers from all parts of California and the country will gather in Quincy to take in melodic tunes from some favorite bands and experience the energy of the outdoor festivity. 

This year marks the 20th anniversary since the start of the Sierra Music Festival. Originally started with one main stage and just 20 bands jamming out, the festival has grown to accommodate over 10,000 spectators. With an outstanding lineup of 50 musicians ready to perform, the outdoor concert is a perfect summer opportunity for people to get out and enjoy some quality music. Bands and musicians performing include My Morning Jacket, ALO, Gillian Welch, Warren Haynes Band, and Maceo Parker. With the responsibility of providing a safe environment for all who attend, the people behind the festival make sure that the environment they use remains safe as well.

The High Sierra Music Festival has partnered up with Clean Vibes, an organization that directly works to sustainably clean outdoor festivals. Not only does Clean Vibes create eco friendly ways to deal with the large amount of garbage and waste at these festivals, it also promotes their ideas to concert goers. Education comes into play as a key component in the mission of Clean Vibes, believing that one of the best ways to motivate others is to show them first hand how simple it can be to clean the environment. Clean Vibes takes measures to make sure waste can be recycled or reused in creative ways. This decreases the amount of garbage sent to landfills, creating a more positive, purer atmosphere. 

Anybody who attends the festival is encouraged to volunteer with Clean Vibes. The organization is continuously promoting their overall mission and hoping to find energetic individuals who will help keep the festival clean. Volunteers will spend time both during and after the festival to ensure the grounds are kept litter free. During the concert, volunteers will be involved in the recycling process and keeping the area clean. After the concert series if over, volunteers will stay an extra one or two days to continue the clean up process and make sure the grounds are in healthy condition.

A large appeal of the High Sierra Music Festival is the fun opportunity for attendees to camp directly at the site. Thousands of people will be attending and pitching their own tents right in front of the musical stages, with on going access to the festivities and atmosphere of the concert. The High Sierra Music Festival strongly believes that campers should take positive initiatives to make sure the campgrounds remain unharmed during the four day event. The festival’s “Leave No Trace” competition brings a green campaign to the forefront of camping and encourages people to create the ultimate green campsite. 

The promotion of “Leave No Trace” ushers in ideas of how to make a campsite eco friendly. Ideas range from biking to the festival, disposing of trash in the correct fashion, and making sure natural vegetation are not damaged by camping gear. The more creative the campsite the better, as the competition requires people to take a photo of their original green campsite. The finalists will be selected and awarded a variety of High Sierra Music Festival gear, a membership to “Leave No Trace”, and late night tickets for the concert. The grand prize winner of the green competition will win useful camping gear from Coleman, which includes tents and sleeping bags.

Recycling is a huge component of sustainability at outdoor festivals. The High Sierra Music Festival takes recycling very seriously. Working alongside of Clean Vibes, concert goers will be urged to recycle throughout the duration of the festival. Clean Vibes will be handing out bags designated for recyclable products, making it easy for anyone to recycle. With the combination efforts of Clean Vibes and individuals at the festival, it is projected that thousands of pounds of garbage will avoid ending up in landfills and instead be recycled. The effects of this single measure towards productive cleaning will significantly help make the area a much cleaner place. 

The High Sierra Music Festival also encourages people to use sustainable means of transportation to get to the concert. The festival supports a ride share program, where participants can find local carpools or share rides with others traveling to the site. This reduces the amount of cars on the road and the declines the pollution in the air. Other means of transportation, including riding bicycles, are widely used and well liked. While eating and staying at the concert, it is suggested that people use reusable plates, cups, and utensils. Eating locally sourced food from farmer’s markets are a great way to eat fresh food during the musical performances. Giving back to the community is high priority at the High Sierra Music Festival, and there is no such thing as too small of an effort. Most importantly, being kind to the community, to neighbors, and to the environment is something the music festival takes pride in. Because without the beautiful outdoor space to enjoy, the High Sierra Music Festival just wouldn’t be the same.

Photo credit:

Everlasting Music with Sustainable Instruments

Guitar-MusicMusic is a universal element that is present across all cultures. It is one of the oldest forms of creative expression and is often a large part of customs and traditions. For centuries, people have been singing and using a variety of instruments, including anything from the piano, violin, flute, to guitar. These instruments are often hand crafted and made from materials that are easily accessible. In the recent years, instruments like the guitar, have not lost any of their popularity. Instead, they have gained a new, eco friendly way of production.

The guitar has been part of musical history throughout the world. There are two types of guitars, acoustic and electric. The acoustic guitar is made out of wood, and descends from the Roman ear. Many similar variations of the modern day guitar have been present in areas of Europe, India, and Central Asia. The guitar is one of the most well known instruments and has transpired over time and location. 

The acoustic guitar is made from wood and has either nylon or steel strings. The body of an acoustic guitar can typically be made out of a variety of different woods. One such material is the basswood which has a soft wood texture. This type of wood makes for a light weight guitar and great acoustics. Other woods that are used to create acoustic guitars are walnut, koa, and Alder wood. Each wood gives the guitar its own distinct sound. Although all these options have been popular in the production of guitars, environmentally conscious people have turned their focus on making guitars that are sustainable and good for the planet. 

Bamboo is often synonymous with being an eco friendly material. Bamboo has been used as an alternative to flooring and household building materials. Bamboo has now jumped into the music industry by being made into green acoustic guitars. Bamboo guitars are a reliable instrument because of its resilience. It is an inexpensive material to work with, and produces its own unique acoustics. Yamaha has jumped on the green bandwagon by producing a line of bamboo acoustic guitars. Bamboo has become a green option for making guitars because of its high rate of growth. It can grow extremely quick at about 100 feet tall in just 60 days. There are also over 1200 species of bamboo available, which makes it a greener alternative to other exotic woods.

Flaxwood is another material being used to create guitars. Flaxwood, which is also the name of the company, blends wood grains with polymer into molds to shape guitars. Flaxwood has come up with its Hybrid series of guitars that use their famous Flaxwood neck in combination with the European Alder body. This creates a sustainable product to play and enjoy music on.

Recycled products, which can be anything from coffee cups, CDs, pipes, and plastic bottles, have been used as part of Simon Lee’s Cyclotron guitars. These guitars are made from 100% recycled items and become part of musical creativity. The physical look of these recycled guitars are one of a kind because of the random colors used in the recycled materials. 

The music industry has shown its dedication to promoting a green lifestyle through the manufacturing of guitars. Big named brands in the guitar world, including Yamaha, Gibson, and Fender, have taken positive strides in protecting the current deforestation problem. Exotic woods are often highly searched and become expensive products, but the industry wants to make the change towards using only woods that have been designated safe by the Forestry Stewardship Council. Created to protect the environment, the music industry’s continued collaboration with FSC will help ensure the protection of trees while still producing guitars. With these new advances, environmentalists and musicians can live together in harmony.

Photo credit:

Jack Johnson to Play Free Gig for Beach Cleanup Volunteers

Widely known for his commitment to the environment, singer Jack Johnson has come up with a unique way to encourage his fans to partake in environmental activism. On Monday, May 24, Johnson will be performing a free concert at the Santa Monica Pier and has reserved the bulk of the 3,000 available tickets for volunteers who participate in a two-hour beach cleanup on the Saturday preceding the show. The beach cleanup is being led by the Santa Monica based environmental nonprofit Heal the Bay.

Flyer for Jack Johnson beach cleanup concert.

Johnson is also promoting the release of his upcoming “To the Sea” album and tour. Next week’s collaboration with Heal the Bay is just another in a long line of environmental causes that Johnson has championed with his performances. His 2008 tour was a model of sustainability. That tour used 14,000 gallons of biodiesel to power the buses, trucks, and generators, it diverted 65 tons of waste from landfills through recycling and composting, and over 1,400 metric tons of carbon were offset. This year’s tour will take similar measures, and like 2008, Johnson will donate 100% of the tour’s profits to a charity supporting environmental, art and music education.

For those looking to score a free ticket to next Monday’s pier concert, they will need to pre-register online for the Heal the Bay beach cleanup. According to Heal the Bay, volunteers will receive their tickets once the beach cleanup is complete.

Crowds gather on the beach south of the pier for a past concert.

The good news for fans who cannot attend the beach cleanup is that the City of Santa Monica allows concert-goers to hang out in the sand on the south side of the pier, where the music from the stage can still be heard. However, to make sure the fans on the beach don’t undo the hard work of the volunteers, Heal the Bay and Jack Johnson are urging fans that “whatever they bring, they take home, recycle, or dispose of in the proper containers.”