What makes me come back every year to camp in a field for 4 days? Music, memories, and friendships. That is just a small part of what brings me back every single year to Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee. Another thing that brings me back are the values that Bonnaroo encompasses – specifically their sustainability practices.

One of the most important values that Bonnaroo holds is sustainability. They have created a program called Bonnaroo Works Fund which ensures they leave the Earth (specifically the field) in a better condition than they found it. Their efforts are not just during the festival as they are providing for local families and constantly improving their sustainability efforts year-round.

You can volunteer with Clean Vibes to clean up before, during, and/or after the festival to receive a free 4-day pass in return. Around the festival grounds, there are recycling bins and even trade posts where you can trade bags of trash or recycling you collected for free merchandise. Some of the things you can collect are cigarette buds, cups, water bottles, food left over, and much much more. You see people carrying around bags tied to their hip and continuously picking up trash because it mutually benefits them and our environment. A perfect win-win situation.

Bonnaroo focuses on creating a greener, more energy efficient, and as close to zero waste as possible festival experience. They compost, use solar energy, and educate attendees on how they can maintain a sustainable lifestyle at Bonnaroo and beyond. Almost 50% of all waste is converted to compost, they are the first festival to have a permanent solar array system (installed in 2013), and they have multiple solar phone charging stations. Every night Bonnaroo even has an event called BonnaRoots where they source food from locally owned farms and create meals for attendees to promote community and support grassroots causes..

Bonnaroo has become a leader in green festivals and only continues to grow. There is an entire performance stage that is solar powered, and they are working on implementing more around the farm. Bonnaroo has been carbon neutral since 2008 and received the Outstanding award from the Greener Festival organization.

With all of Bonnaroo’s sustainability efforts they have been investing in long-term sustainability not just the impact it will have in the present. There are many more reasons I attend Bonnaroo, but knowing I am helping create a greener festival experienece is a highlight.

As the Bonnaroovian code says:

“Stay true Roo. Bonnaroo lasts only a few too short days. The rest of your life is forever. Apply what you do on The Farm to improving you and the world beyond ‘Roo.”

Happy Roo!