JERSEY CITY, New Jersey — The much-anticipated All Points West Music & Arts Festival kicked off in New Jersey’s Liberty State Park this weekend with performances by Radiohead, Jack Johnson and the Kings of Leon, among others. But in addition to being the Tri-State area’s first weekend-long multi-band fest in quite some time, APW is also hoping to make a name as the greenest festival around.
“We’re striving to be green,” festival organizer Ken Tesler told MTV News. “There are very few people driving to this festival. It’s a huge mass-transit event, and I think that alone must save a tremendous amount of fuel and help from an emissions standpoint.”
“Gossip Girl” star Jessica Szohr and supermodel Jessica Stam agree. “I think it’s great how transportation by ferry is being so encouraged,” Stam said. “And they made it really hard to get parking passes, so that keeps it green.”
“It was crazy there at the ferry today,” Szohr added. “The line was so long — I was like, ’What is this?’ ”
The festival also kept it green backstage by providing nondisposable materials, at the artists’ request.
“That takes a lot of extra effort and extra money … but the artists were very conscious about not throwing stuff away,” co-festival organizer Mike Donovan said. “We’re not adding tons of plastic and paper plates backstage, but it’s a small thing, and there’s probably a ways to go there.”
But some of the day-two artists said it’s the small things that count. “My girlfriend drives a hybrid, and I quit turning my lights on when I go to the restroom,” Kings of Leon frontman Caleb Followill joked. His bandmate and brother Jared Followill does his part for the environment by shopping with a reusable cotton bag from Whole Foods.
The Virgins are also keeping it green by drinking tap water on the road and refilling plastic water bottles “with water from the clubs,” said bassist Nick Zarin-Ackerman.
The Roots’ ?uestlove encourages his engineer to turn off all the equipment in the studio to save energy. Chromeo would like to tour greener but feel they already do a lot by not taking a fleet of trucks or buses on tour with them.
“I recycle,” P-Thugg added.
“Our music is recycled anyway,” Dave 1 added. “So it’s green.”
According to Donovan, keeping APW green — as other music festivals have been doing in recent years — is a real priority for the artists. Headliners Radiohead actually commissioned a carbon-footprint study of their tour, and Jack Johnson brought an interactive eco-village to the festival in order to educate attendees about the importance of maintaining a green lifestyle.
“These artists are out there not to beat people over the head but to increase awareness of a lot of different issues,” Donovan said.
The festival also featured green elements such as environmental-awareness booths and eco-friendly art. And at the TRASHed Recycling Store, concertgoers exchanged plastic bottles and cans for merchandise like T-shirts and beach balls, among other things.
“One 10-year-old got a skateboard earlier today,” a TRASHed volunteer said. “He had, like, 200 bottles.”
“In a pretty easy way, it creates a little consciousness about what happens when you throw it away,” Donovan said. “Let’s pick it all up, let’s get a little reward for doing so, and it will also keep the grounds looking a lot nicer for everyone throughout the weekend.”
“We got here this morning and it was absolutely clean,” Virgins guitarist Wade Oates said. “We thought it was going to be destroyed. … I guess people are really making a conscious effort.”