Pittsboro, NC – The Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance, held April 21-24, has a new project. It may seem small, but they are hoping to make a big impact. Every festival, without much thought, thousands of people buy water in plastic bottles. Some of them get recycled, some get re-used, and some just get thrown away. This spring, none of the vendors at the festival will be selling water in plastic bottles. The festival itself will be selling collectable metal water bottles at a very affordable price, as well as glass mason jars.
Festival attendees will be able to fill these containers (or their own) with water from the Blue Green Machine, a truck with a natural water filtration system. The Blue Green Machine, sponsored by Kinetico, will be located in prominent spots throughout the festival. The Blue Green Machine’s mission: “To perpetuate GREEN technologies to help eliminate the horrible waste of bottled water that has spread like a disease on our planet.” Their website also states: “The amount of expended energy to produce these plastics for sometimes and inferior quality of water at an exorbitant price, has forced the design of the Blue Green Machine.” The festival is proud to support the same mission.
Here is how it will work. Once a person buys a metal water bottle, they are free to fill it at the machine whenever they would like. He or she can also buy a sticker from the Blue Green Machine for $2, put it on any container from home, and have all-you-can-drink access to water all four days. Festival co-coordinator Sara Waters comments, “We’re really excited about the fact that no plastic containers will be sold on our premises. It just makes everyone feel better about doing their part!” Attendees are also welcome to fill their bottles, jars, whathaveyou at spigots around the festival, which provide clean well water. Festival attendees should remember to bring a container for water, or look for the metal bottles and mason jars available at many of the food vendor booths.
“The folks at Shakori Hills have had a long-standing interest, not only in being sustainable and earth-friendly, but in educating everyone here how to do so as well,” says Waters. The date of the festival was originally chosen because of its proximity to Earth Day, and it is easy to see the connection. Waters continues, “Celebrating the earth isn’t the only priority here, we need to honor our planet by taking care of it and always thinking about the lives of future generations on it.”
Each trash station at the festival has containers for bottles and cans, and many have a place to leave compostable items as well. Food vendors at the festival are encouraged to deposit any grease they use into Piedmont Biofuels containers, Piedmont then uses it to create fuel. The goal is to create as little waste as possible from an event that hosts at least 8,000 people.
Other than elimination of plastic water bottles, composting, recycling, and supporting biofuel generation, the festival has some other great projects that show their dedication to the planet. One is the Solarize Shakori Project, with which the festival hopes to run all of it’s activities on solar power by taking donations of individual solar panels. This way the attendees actually help the festival become more energy efficient. There is also the Earth Day Fair, a festival-long series of forums on sustainability and care for the environment from local businesses and residents, which takes place at the Sustainability Pavilion in the central festival grounds. See the festival website for specific forum details.
For more information on the festival, call 919-542-8142 or visit http://www.shakorihills.org.