Smells Like Green Spirit

Local music fests—new and old—aren’t afraid to compost.

By Laura Dannen June 16, 2010 Published in the July 2010 issue of Seattle Met

Captain Planet Singer-songwriter Amos Lee headlines at GreenNote.

Image: Amos Lee

ASK A WOODSTOCK ATTENDEE what a “green music festival” is, and you probably won’t hear about composting and biodiesel. Nowadays, the grass is greener—and cleaner—as major music fests acknowledge how much damage 100,000 people can do in a weekend. The UK’s Glastonbury Festival gives tickets to volunteers in exchange for help recycling 2,000 tons of waste. Coachella in California offers the chance to win lifetime tickets to people who carpool. Even Burning Man in Nevada—a bonfire bonanza with its share of emissions—is dedicated to packing out your own garbage.

Seattle’s getting in the game with its brand-new eco-friendly music festival, GreenNote, an all-acoustic event at Seattle Center inspired by Live Earth that boasts organic food and booths on sustainable practices like composting and growing your own garden. All forks, cups, and plates are recyclable, and all proceeds from a benefit concert with headlining singer-songwriter Amos Lee go to area environmental groups. As local acts Ian Moore, Rocky Votolato, and Star Anna warm up the crowd with rollicking Americana at Mural Amphitheatre, you can sprawl across the lawn and revel in your dedication to the planet. “It’s a mellow scene with great local talent—the best of the best,” says event organizer Egan Orion.

The only problem? GreenNote takes place the same weekend as the Capitol Hill Block Party, a rock-heavy riotous blowout that’s essentially the antithesis to a hippie-chill eco-fest. And if you’re like us, you want to go to both; it’s the yin and yang of our music tastes. Do we have to trade organic cotton for studded leather? Choose between feeling good about ourselves, and just plain feeling good? Not necessarily, says Steve Manning, press rep for CHBP. Up on Capitol Hill their cups are compostable, their plastic recycled, and MGMT and Jack White’s Dead Weather bookend Amos Lee on Friday and Sunday. You can have the best of both worlds, and still pour one out for the planet.

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