I, Julia Wright, the author had done a great deal of research on why it would be advisable to create sustainable festivals and events. I started to put that research into action in 2009 and continued with this concept of creating a more sustainable art festival the following years at Commonwheel Artists Labor Day Weekend Art Festival.

In the near past, many people have called, or emailed to ask me about how to make their event or festival more sustainable. I found myself advising a variety of people with smaller events and indoor venues about how to make their event or festival more sustainable.

After emailing many pieces of “paper” and trying to gather the information I thought would be helpful to each individual that inquired about this, I realized it would be far easier and more efficient to put this information into a book that could help many smaller organizations everywhere create a sustainable event or festival.

These thoughtful inquiries inspired me to write this book in order to share the many insights I have gained these last few years working with community leaders, our city government, service providers and volunteers to create a more sustainable art festival.

By sharing this information with a larger audience, I believe it will make it apparent to more individuals and organizations to see how they can easily take a step or more towards making their festival or event more sustainable and become better stewards of their immediate environment and the Earth.

There is a lot of information available about creating a sustainable event, but it is scattered on many web sites and books. Or it is focused on very large events that have promoters with huge budgets and/or large corporations as sponsors.

My experience in creating a sustainable festival is based on a medium-sized outdoor art festival with a very small and extremely tight budget.

In 2009 Commonwheel Artists made its first attempt at being a more sustainable, Waste-Wise art festival. Approximately 65% of the waste generated at that art festival was diverted from the landfill.

This change in how we handled waste inspired some of our art patrons to volunteer the next year in order to help educate other attendees and has made each year a bit more sustainably successful.

After five (5) years of educating the art patrons who attended the art festival, it has become much easier for volunteers who sort through the waste collection bins to be sure that the different types of waste are disposed of in their proper containers.

In 2012, Commonwheel Artists’ Arts & Crafts Festival was 80% Waste-Free.

In 2013, the Commonwheel Art Festival had to be relocated in just 3 weeks after the park it had been held in for the past 38 years was flooded on August 9, 2013. This caused many challenges for the organizer and some of them revolved around how to keep this festival as Waste-Wise as possible.

The logistics for where the bins were placed wasn’t perfect, and one mistake by a vendor bringing plastic ware that was not marked as compostable caused almost all of the plastic ware to become trash, rather than being composted.

That said, we still achieved a goal of diverting approximately 75% of the waste from the landfill and look forward to being even more successful as a Waste-Wise festival in the future.

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