The Green Chief team diversified for 2012’s Festival Of The Sun with Amie heading up Human Resources for an experienced team of area managers (garnered mainly from Splendour In The Grass) and Madeleine taking on board the Waste & Recycling with a couple of newer team leaders. The event lends itself as a perfect learning environment as physical parameters are confined within the Sundowner Breakwall Caravan Park and the entertainment is spread over two nights, both defined by specific start and an early finish time of 11pm. Madeleine chose to educate her team with a trip to the Cairncross Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), a state of the art MRF which unlike the majority of council run facilities also incorporates an organics reuse area.
Green Chief worked with the event directors and area managers to combat the problem of blocked access routes and cramped camping conditions from previous events, with an increase in ‘no-car camping’ space being deemed necessary. Of course the environmental effects of minimizing patron traffic are obvious in this carbon conscious time but the particular challenge lay in translating our need for less traffic to the patrons and coming up with solutions that provided obvious benefits. Being a relatively compact event patrons were able to be ‘dropped off’ in a specially designated zone, which enabled them to avoid the car pass charge and then were chauffeured via troopy to a prime camping position close to the action and beach.
Another part of the HR manager’s job was to act as a ‘go to’ for any questions that volunteers, caravan park staff or area managers had about the event. An example of how sustainable practices can be organized from this level are: By providing health and wellbeing packages such as bottled water, water cooling towers for refills and a permanent marker for writing names on bottles; printed matter collation and distribution and information files on USB sticks rather than paper which both minimized paper waste; re-use of previous event merchandise screen printed with FOTSUN 2012 on the back to make use of leftover stock.
Festival Of The Sun remain to be an event where Green Chief are involved from a decision-making level with holistic sustainability initiatives that are seen to have both financial and social benefits.
Trekking to NSW next for Festival of the Sun, Green Chief took a detour and went for an excursion to the Cairncross waste management facility just north of Port Macquarie. We felt like kids in Willy Wonka’s factory as we toured through conveyor belts and wind tunnels, watching all the valuable recyclable materials get separated into types and crushed into huge cubes that glittered in the sun of the loading bay. Next door the green waste of the NSW mid-coast is treated and crafted into a commercially available compost. They even had a small chicken run on site, whose specific use is still a mystery due to the limits of our tour. To answer the perennial question – yes, it DOES matter what you put in the recycling bin!
Back on site at Festival of the Sun, the sold-out audience crammed into the campsite like sardines and had one hell of a party. Our bin monitors out in the crowds had a whale of a time, making new friends while making a difference – and at one point making a human pyramid! Who says this job is no fun?
The festivities in the campsites lasted long after the stages closed, and the rubbish they left behind was a testament to the ruckus. The Green Chief Loot Ute and campsite rovers had to work hard to keep the punters on top of the mess in the middle of all the hijinks. Sadly we saw a lot of camping gear abandoned and piles of cans and trash left behind. However, with the directors looking at more permanent infrastructure for next year, our hopes are buoyed.
To continue this years theme it did rain, but just at little, at Festival Of the Sun. We thanked the garbage gods that the Loot Ute could run on bitumen roads which of course made the final clean up day marvellous. This year the Loot Ute team decided to give out awards to the cleanest campsites and shame the messy ones which was an excellent way to reward campers who were proud of their campsites. Lots of interaction with the audience this time around, with bin monitors placed on the bin stations. This must have been one of the cruisiest jobs at the whole festival-stand here, make sure the right thing goes in the right bin, and watch your favourite bands. The ‘Gurge were pretty special I thought and the rest of the team did have a coupe of rock-star moments-we almost lost one of our team leaders to That One Guy who can talk the hind legs of a rabbit apparently! The entire FOTSUN crew were in a remarkably calm state over the weekend, proving that this little festival has finally come of age…a shame that some of the audience didn’t act in such a mature manner, with several branches being broken off trees and some people diving head-first into wheelie bins in the middle of the crowd. These of course were the exception, rather than the rule and inevitably we were rather happy with the state the campsites were left in. Most people had made the effort to black bag everything (aided and abetted by the Sunday Morning Trashbag Bandit) and at least half the sites were spotless. We love Festival Of The Sun!