There were great green moments to the weekend, but overall, people are still a long way from being green as a whole. When The Wailers closed out Festival, we walked through an emptying Parc International and there was a sea of leftover cans, plastic utensils, foam cups and an umbrella. It was a sad sight to behold, with recycling bins located all over the place. (Of course, it was comically sardine-packed in there, but people were still uncaring enough to just drop their trash at their feet.)
Our first volunteering experience was mixed as well. We dragged ourselves out of bed Sunday morning and headed down to check in for our shift. We first went with a guy to one area, where he told us we'd simply be picking up all the trash left on the ground from the night before. And when I asked if we were doing trash or recycling or both, he said that it was all trash at that point. Not what I signed up for. He left us anyway, so I stuck to putting bottles and paper in the recycling bins and trash in the trash bins (including a half-eaten cheeseburger). After we finished that and went back to our check-in spot, we were then sent out with a golf cart and our job was to empty the bins of cardboard at each beer station. And that's how you realize just how much Cajuns and Cajun visitors can drink. Cardboard beer boxes for hours! It was far from a glamorous volunteer shift, but it was amazing to see how much recycling we racked up in two hours, and know it was a small portion of the overall amount. So by the end, I was happier with how we ended up contributing to Festival.
Following my own Guide to a Green Festival, we biked three of the four days we attended. Our goal was all four, but by Sunday morning we were exhausted and didn't want to rush to make it to our shift on time, and there was a large threat of rain.
My insulated Klean Kanteen held: a White Russian daiquiri, water, an iced latte and two Abita Strawberries. Plenty of plastic saved, but still not as much as I'd hoped for. We did save our good plastic cups for future use, though.
I brought cloth napkins with me and used them.
We smartly packed sunscreen and hand sanitizer, and extra toilet paper for any necessary uses.
I tried to exhibit self-control in the shops, and the few things I did purchase were eco-friendly. One necklace with a small piece of wood under a tree charm and a pair of earrings made from watch insides.
I let my naturally curly hair run free all weekend, and it was honestly great to not worry about styling it. A few bobby pins and ponytail holders and done! No electricity needed.
We had a blast, ate too much good food, walked a million steps (or approximately 48,000/almost 20 miles), saw many great bands, ran into a lot of people we knew, and savored the culture that's so unique to Lafayette.
Until next year!