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Bonnaroo Beat

Published: 2002/06/11
by Dean Budnick

Our Goal Is to Provide Folks with the Tools to Make Ourselves Shine: A Conversation with Clean Vibes Anna Borofsky

Clean Vibes will be at Bonnaroo to handle both waste management and education. The company’s mission is to balance both of these responsibilities in order to inspire “a new generation of responsible stewards.” Like many others at Bonnaroo, Clean Vibes has worked at the Phish festivals (as well as many other fests). Clean Vibes’Anna Borofsky took a few moments to talk about all this.

From your perspective what did you think when you were asked to come on board at Bonnaroo?

It’s all exciting and a little bit nerve-wracking. I thought it was a great idea to bring the whole musical community together. We’ve never experienced something of this scale other than the Phish shows but the potential is there to have an amazing event and we’re really proud to be a part of it.

How would you compare your preparation for an event like Bonnaroo with that of some other festivals that you work on?

Every element from our labor to our supplies to our educational campaign just skyrockets in size both in the planning of it and the execution of it. Whereas at a smaller event we have a solid fulltime crew of 6-10 folks, we’re looking at a crew of 60 for this event.

How do you define your goals for Bonnaroo?

We really see ourselves as providing the tools to allow the fans to do what we hope they would be doing anyways and spread the message about recycling. Both my partner and myself come at Clean Vibes from an environmental education perspective. That’s what we studied in school. It’s not just that we love trash so much (laughs). We appreciate the opportunity to educate a really unique open-minded group of people. Through the raffle and spreading awareness about the amount of waste that’s created in these events our goal is that this can be translated to folks’ daily lives and the amount of waste they produce on a daily basis.

Clean Vibes has been at this for a while now, has it become easier for you over time?

There’s been a definite improvement. Lemonwheel was pretty horrifying to see what was left over, it was just a sea of loose trash. With Oswego it was a sea of bagged trash so fans had taken the step to bag up their own trash. They couldn’t quite find a dumpster but it was a step. And then with the Florida New Year’s show it was truly amazing for us to walk around on January 2nd. It looked like we’d already gone through the campgrounds once. The raffle campaign and spreading awareness that we’re responsible for our own waste really was successful there. In terms of smaller events we’ve created a presence and it’s catching on as fans start to appreciate our efforts and in turn help us out.

Talk about the raffle, what will take place?

We’ll have two raffle booths centrally located in the campground. Every car that comes into the site will receive two trashbags, one for trash and one for recycling and they can get more bags from us at the raffle booth. If they bring us a full bag of either all trash or all recyclables they’ll get a raffle ticket. If they bring us five bags they’ll get a free limited edition event T-shirt. The grand prize for the raffle is tickets to all of Superfly's shows at JazzFest next year and bands are being really great about donating other prizes, including autographed merchandise and things like that. So a fan can enter twenty times or once. As they’re packing up their camp or waking up in the morning with a full bag of trash they can bring it to us and get their raffle ticket.

When will your team arrive on site to prepare?

Four us will be arriving about a week early. Then our supervisors will be travelling in over time doing barrel placement on the site, working with other departments to make sure we’re taking care of their needs in terms of trash and recycling and building some of our equipment. By the Wednesday before the event we’ll have our crew there.

Do you have any parting thoughts or messages you want to convey to festivalgoers?

In general this event more than ever is a test of community, bringing together all sorts of people. We’re forming our own little city and we can either be extremely responsible and be an example to the outside world that we can clean up after ourselves or it can go the other way. We’re really on display with this event. Our goal is to provide folks with the tools to make ourselves shine to the rest of the world.

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