Rainbow Serpent 2011
The behemoth that is Rainbow Serpent Festival has been and gone and left an incredible mark on our souls. The best Rainbow yet in terms of teamwork, recycling rates and final clean up time. This time Green Chief had an awesome team of 4 Shift Supervisors, 2 team leaders and 1 Green ops specialist making up the core crew. We also had around 8 local crew taking care of the morning emu picks around the arena and the Loot Ute collection service for the markets and the campsites, who worked on a daily shift pattern. Complimenting this were over 60 volunteers throughout the weekend, these guys and gals spent most of their time in the Recycling Centre sorting and processing the recycling and organics. Occasionally, if they were very good, we’d release them onto the dancefloor to make clean areas for dancing feet. Overall it took 2 1/2 days to clean 90% of the entire site, which left the small pick crew from Talbot Football club 6 hours work when collecting bottle caps and cigarette butts.
There were many initiatives over the weekend, two of which had been allocated funds from the Rainbow Serpent Arts Grant. Our Can Collection device this year was named Vol-CAN-o and situated by the Rainbow Spoon Gateway to the south of the main arena. Not as popular as last year’s Canaconda-although it did re-use much of the new materials from last year’s structure and was made from 92% reclaimed/upcycled materials-it proved mostly popular with the festival kids who could be found scaling the mountainous top and crawling inside to see just how it worked.
The roaming theatrical pursuits of The Varishard hit Rainbow for the first time and made quite an impression. With 5 performances spread over Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of the festival a story was developed over time which included; The rapid growth of the Trash Monster (a holy mess of trash walking on stilted legs), regular sightings by David Fat-and-through and his TV crew-who would commentate on the growth of this being, the two Garbage Grannies and finally our very own Trash Bag Sheriff (who managed to find time to act as Shift Supervisor, Recycling Centre Manager and set-up and pack down crew. This girl is magic!)The hot and sweaty work put in by this troupe of 5 amateur and professional performers is believed to have contributed untold amounts to the reduction in the final clean up time. Did we mention it was just 2 1/2 days? Rock on.
A change to regular staffing meant that our very own Green Ops were on hand to rig lighting, repair/build/re-build bin stations, back trailers, borrow equipment and fill holes left by bogged waste trucks. Unfortunately we cannot name these individuals as this would compromise their positions…we’ve said too much already. General awesomeness was also found in our very own Market Waste & Recycling Co-ordinator ( aka M-dog) who did a stirling job settling the Food Market Stallholders, inducting them to the collection process, holding a welcome meeting and collecting feedback at the end of the event. Emma was responsible for the set up and running of the Bag Deposit system-a mammoth task which lasts all weekend and means multiple trips to the front gate either by bike or by commandeering a golf buggy. Not an easy task in its self. Around 80% of all those partaking in the scheme returned their bags and got their refund which again was super successful. And finally, our Ute Loot team. The boys in the utes did good-flat out manic on the Tuesday and Wednesday after the event taking down tents and ferrying all manner of items to the recycling centre. Extra hours were required of these guys who also rescued equipment from the ultra-boggy Shine On site, serviced the bins in the main arena as well as the Market Stalls and rose magnificently to the challenge. Every single day. Kudos.
But what about fun I hear you cry? Yeah, we managed to have a bit of fun over the 18 days Green Chief were on site. All of the Shift Supervisors managed a whole day off each, in which to run riot. The obvious benefits of such rostering were relaxation (sleep) and rejuvenation(beer) but it also allowed the team to see, from a punters perspective what was working and what wasn’t. For example, with the Rainbow site being so huge it was obvious that more bin stations were needed and those that were placed well should have been lit at night with an obvious sign or marker. Many improvements were suggested at the debrief meeting, but generally the team left the site feeling that they had finally cracked it. Although the jury is still out on exactly how much of the total waste was recycled, you’ll hear about it, and the upcoming initiatives for next years Rainbow here first!