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Warped Tour-Kansas

The following blog is by Erin Gorski, Manager of the Warped Eco Initiative. This summer Tara and Erin are teaming up to bring environmental awareness to the fans, bands, sponsors and stage crews at the VANS Warped Tour. They are doing everything from coordinating recycling at all the venues to hosting acoustic performances at their solar lounge. Check them out at the Warped Eco Initiative tent at any Warped Tour site.

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Formerly known as the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, the Sandstone Amphitheatre in Bonner Springs, KS is one of the greenest venues I have seen on my four years on Warped Tour. Along with their new name comes a new green initiative program headed up by Jesse Jackson. I was able to speak with him about the venues current and future sustainability plans which include targets such as recycling, carpooling, and renewable energy. One of the most admirable and beneficial things that company, or in this case, venue can do when they are serious about developing a more environmentally friendly business model is to hire a sustainability coordinator.

Just since last year, Jackson has developed a recycling program that targets diverting the maximum amount of recyclables by not only placing labeled recycling bins around the venue but also by performing a waste sort at the end of the show to ensure the maximum amount of recyclables are being diverted from the trash stream. Futhermore, they reach out to their local community by employing a local organization from Lawrence, KS to perform the waste sort and in turn keep half of the money earned from the recyclables.

According to their website (http://sandstoneamp.com/green-initiatives), other initiatives include:

- Switching from paper towels to hand dryers in the bathrooms

- Using recycled toilet paper, napkins and plates

- Installing energy efficient lighting

- Setting up paper, plastic and cell phone recycling receptacles

- Planting a garden for caterers to grow veggies

- Allowing fans to park for free if they carpool or drive alternative fuel vehicles

Some of Sandstone’s plans for the future include:

- Installing solar panels and wind turbines

- Installing high efficiency toilets, urinals and faucets

- Attaining LEED Certification, which is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design

In addition to all the changes the venue is making, the Warped Eco Initiative was able to fit right in with their environmental attitude and only further the efforts. Our volunteers ruled, Brandon the videographer from MySpace stopped by to begin filming a segment on WEI, Alesana had a signing, Bidwell performed acoustic from the solar booth, and as usual Matt from Angels and Airwaves popped in to collect recyclables from around the venue.

All in all the day was great! That is, until the hurricane like weather hit around 8:00pm. Luckily, no one was hurt but I definitely saw band merch a few tents get destroyed by the wind and rain.

-erin gorski