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Greening Bonnaroo


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Presentation of research into the sustainability of the Bonnaroo festival, based on micro-ethnographic research. Presented at the Global Events Congress IV

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Greening Bonnaroo

  1. 1. GREENING BONNAROO: EXPLORING THE RHETORIC AND REALITY OF A SUSTAINABLE FESTIVAL THROUGH MICRO-ETHNOGRAPHIC METHODS<br />James Kennell & RebekahSitz<br />Department of Marketing, Events and Tourism<br />University of Greenwich<br />
  2. 2. THE BONNAROO MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL<br />4 day, multi-stage camping festival held in Manchester Tennessee<br />70-80,000 attendees<br />“The American music festival to end all festivals” Rolling Stone Magazine<br />
  3. 3. BONNAROO AND SUSTAINABILITY<br />“Bonnaroo is committed to investing the extensive time and resources necessary to be a leader in creating a sustainable festival. From our inception, the festival has strived to make the most sustainable choices while maintaining the ultimate experience for the fan, setting the standard in sustainability and greening practices for North American festivals.”<br />
  4. 4. GREEN EVENTS AND THE EVENT EXPERIENCE<br />A green event is a kind of event that <br />“has a sustainability policy or incorporates sustainable <br />practices into its management and operations.” <br />(Laing & Frost 2010: 262)<br />Experiences at these events are under-researched <br />At Bonnaroo, the attendee is in a position of<br />co-makership (Richards & Wilson 2007) in greening the event<br />The event experience at Bonnaroo provides a prism through which to critique these greening policies<br />
  5. 5. ETHNOGRAPHIC METHODS IN EVENTS RESEARCH<br />Tendency to focus on ‘othered’ events<br />Has become part of the social sciences toolkit over 30 years in the UK and US<br />Events research dominated by positivistic and quantitative approaches (Holloway et al 2010)<br />As the discipline ‘beds in’ more eclectic methodological choices are being made<br />e.g. <br />Participant observation<br />Photography<br />Auto-photography<br />Auto-ethnography<br />Netnography<br />
  6. 6. MICRO-ETHNOGRAPHY<br />Makes no claims to total immersion or privileged knowledge<br />“the study of a smaller experience or a slice of everyday reality.” (Smith 1978 in Stokrocki, 1997: 35) <br />Uses the toolkit of ethnography under acknowledged limitations<br />A set of tools that can be applied within brief time frames and at low cost<br />Aims to access experiences from an ‘insider’ perspective<br />
  8. 8. DOING ETHNOGRAPHY AT BONNAROO<br />Working with the Planet-Roo coordinator on vendor management, artist liaison and stage production<br />Rebekah volunteered as a ‘Planet Roo’ ambassador and was upgraded to an internship<br />Camped at the festival and spent time working alongside volunteers, enjoying the event and carrying out research<br />
  11. 11. FINDINGS: 3 – GREEN VALUES VS. EVENT VALUES<br />“Yeah, I’d like to see more going on outside the concert areas and um, definitely more organisation around more um, a community sense out there with…with focus on…I mean, I don’t if you were there when everyone leaves, the place is destroyed and it’s just Trashed and while Clean Vibes does an amazing job of cleaning up after everyone…people should clean up after themselves.” (Event manager)<br />
  12. 12. CONCLUSIONS<br />“I’d like to see, almost that we work towards a goal that we don’t even need a Planet Roo anymore because it’s soooo well known, people know so much about what we do, that it’s integrated so that every decision we make for the festival, that they just, all they need to do is know that they’re showing up and it’s integrated into every decision that we make instead of it being relegated into an eco-village area.” (Bonnaroo manager)<br />