Major concert events are large users of energy from the main stage generators to the lights and concession sales operations. A two-day event can use upwards of 20,000 gallons of diesel fuel and generate tons of waste while meeting the needs of those attending the event.
The potential exists to do better and reduce the footprint of the event. Already several artists have toured the country utilizing biodiesel as their transportation fuel.
For the 2007 Virgin Music Festival in Baltimore, the challenge was how to operate on biodiesel fuel, increase recycling and divert landfill material to the compost facility and provide meaningful education to those in attendance.
I was asked to be on a small team to make the Music Festival as sustainable as possible. My role was to get sustainable biodiesel introduced into the event. I was (after protracted negotiations) able to persuade Caterpillar Entertainment East Coast to allow for the first time the use of B99.9 in all the equipment on site. This was a big step, as prior to this the ceiling with Cat had been B-20 (20% biodiesel). In addition Sunland Equipment rentals also allowed for the use of B99.9.
The biodiesel used at the event was sustainable as it was produced only 40 miles away by a producer in York PA, who only used locally grown oils in manufacturing the fuels. Although not as sustainable as biodiesel made from used cooking oils, the logistics of fuel transportation dictated the fuel selection.
The success of the biodiesel utilization at Virgin, allowed Cat to use B99.9 at the next Farm Aid concert in NYC.
In the final analysis, the "Greening" of the 2007 event was a success, over 20,000 gallons of biodiesel replaced all the petroleum diesel that would normally been used, 85% of the waste generated was either recycled or sent to the composter. Over 100 volunteers staffed the waste collection facilities and educated guests on the waste reduction process.
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Last Update 02-20-2011