The California Roots Music and Arts Festival delivers top tier reggae and roots music to thousands of fans in Monterey, California each year. The organizers are steadfast in their commitment to creating an environmentally conscious event that benefits the surrounding community, educates and engages the attending fans, and provides a music festival model that is truly sustainable.
An estimated 12,000 stateside and international fans will pass through the Monterey Fairgrounds gates per day for the 7th annual gathering. Co-Producer Dan Sheehan explains, “My family and I live in Monterey, so it is very close to my heart that we preserve this beautiful community for our current neighbors and the next generation. He adds, “We are very lucky to produce our event in a county that already prioritizes and values sustainability, and helps us to create a meaningful, positive impact on our environment and local economy.”
The producers of this festival are committed to leaving the gorgeous fairgrounds just as nice as they found them. Compostable service ware, bike and skate valet, free refillable water stations, local food, and volunteers that direct festival goers to place correct recycle or compost bin all works toward the goal of producing the most environmentally viable gathering possible.
With such a large scale event, Cali Roots strives to be an example to other national and international festivals that struggle with how to successfully implement green, forward thinking measures. Sheehan says, “We want to blaze the path of producing an environmentally sound event, along with festivals like Bonnaroo and Lightning in a Bottle that are enacting similar initiatives.”
The rising number of festivals and the corporatization of many existing events push the organizers to produce an increasingly unique, and specialized gathering. The greening and sustainability measures significantly add to and define the Cali Roots festival experience. Fans witness and engage directly with the sustainability measures, such as the compost and recycling waste centers and use of compostable service ware by each food and beverage vendor, creating invaluable education for each attendee.
Green-centric programs this year include a partnership with REVERB, a nonprofit that works with artists such as Jack Johnson and Dave Matthews Band to create and execute custom greening programs for concert tours and festivals. REVERB will sell reusable water bottles custom designed for Cali Roots at the festival, with partial proceeds going back to other festival affiliated non profits, and will provide free water filling stations throughout the grounds. They estimate they will divert 25,000 single use disposable bottles at the event. Cali Roots is committing to being a Zero Waste event this year, which includes diverting all food vendor and catering organics and recyclables from the landfill as well as composting in public concession areas. To help organize these green efforts and make sure they are implemented successfully into the festival experience, Cali Roots has again partnered with The Offset Project [TOP], a local Monterey nonprofit. TOP works with individuals, municipalities, businesses and special events to establish sound waste policies and implement best practices in environmental stewardship, and measures and analyzes their effectiveness.
“Green initiatives at Cali Roots are amplified each year, embedding a holistic message of sustainability into the unique culture of the event,” says Dani Banionis, TOP’s Environmental Outreach Coordinator. She adds, “These environmental programs have become integrated into the movement that Cali Roots Festival creates.”
As part of the overall waste diversion efforts at California Roots Festival 2016, food waste will be captured directly from food vendors and public eating areas. Volunteers will be positioned at zero waste stations (one recycle, one compost and one trash container with signage) in public eating areas to educate festival-goers how to dispose of their leftover food, compostable food-ware, trash and recycle properly. Throughout the festival the waste collected at zero waste stations is hand-sorted, separating all compostable materials into a 20 yard dumpster that goes to the anaerobic digester at Monterey Regional Waste Management District. The anaerobic digester turns food waste into compost while capturing energy from the methane gas released during decomposition. Last year this program kept 5,000 lbs of food waste out of the landfill while contributing to local, sustainable energy production and creating a rich soil amendment.
TOP will also implement three new initiatives this year. They will coordinate with the Monterey County Food Bank and vendors to donate unused food to the hungry in the local community, spearhead an effort to separate cigarette butts during waste sorting and picking, which is then sent to TerraCycle for upcycling. Also, a bulky item collection aims to collect, then donate, large production materials and props back to the community.
Other conscious efforts include TripZero, a service that addresses and works to correct the carbon footprint created by travel to the festival, and a bicycle and skateboard valet check-in at the grounds.
Headlining 2016’s California Roots Music and Arts Festival will be Slightly Stoopid, Rebelution, Atmosphere, Stephen “Ragga” Marley, Damien “Jr Gong” Marley, and Michael Franti and Spearhead, alongside other top tier reggae and roots acts. The festival will also bring a heavy dose of Caribbean artists this year, including Protege, Raging Fyah, Barrington Levy and Tarrus Riley. Also, the event will feature live DJs for the first time, with sounds provided by artists such as Amp Live, Westafa and Dub Architect.
The 7th Annual California Roots Music and Arts Festival