Archive for Saturday, June 7, 2008

Wakarusa trying to keep it green, clean

From left, Lacy Ingle, Taurean Smith and Ainsley Burke, all of Lawrence, dance to Mates of State on Friday, June 6, 2008 at the Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival at Clinton Lake.

From left, Lacy Ingle, Taurean Smith and Ainsley Burke, all of Lawrence, dance to Mates of State on Friday, June 6, 2008 at the Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival at Clinton Lake.

June 7, 2008



The Recycalusa organization has taken on composting for the first time at this years Wakarusa Festival. About 130 volunteers are collecting waste from food vendors along with recyclable to help make the effort more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Rylan Ortiz, recycling co-director of the festival, led the composting effort, which is called "Wormarusa." Enlarge video

Past Event
Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival 2008, Day 3

featuring Ben Folds / STS9 / Keller Williams / Leftover Salmon

  • When: Saturday, June 7, 2008, 10 a.m.
  • Where: Clinton State Park, Clinton Lake, Lawrence
  • Cost: $49 - $469
  • More on this event....

2008 Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival

The fifth annual Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival starts on June 5th and runs through June 8th. Organizers are planning on more than 13,500 guests, which would make Clinton State Park the second-largest city in Douglas County until the festival wraps up. See videos, photo galleries, the Wak Talk blog, Best Bets, and more about the Wakarusa Fest.

With his hands full of trash and recyclables at last year's Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival, Rylan Ortiz, 25, dug up a plan to start a composting effort at this year's fifth annual festival.

Dubbed "Wormarusa," the composting program works by having volunteers through Recycalusa, a recycling organization, help food vendors at Clinton State Park compost their waste. After all, those leftover french fries, sandwiches and coffee grounds can really add up.

"I've hauled a lot of bags and I know the weights that are on average generated at a festival like this," said Ortiz, recycling co-director for Wakarusa. "It is a very heavy product, food waste, so it really does help increase our numbers as far as being a 100 percent sustainable, zero waste-generated event if we can collect food waste."

Many of the vendors at the four-day festival have responded well, Ortiz said Friday.

Behind Buzz-Thru Espresso Bar, a coffee vendor based in Loveland, Ohio, sat a plastic bin of coffee grounds, next to boxes of recyclable plastic coffee cups.

"This festival is recycling better than most festivals do," said Bruce Wolff, 65, owner of Buzz-Thru, who travels to numerous festivals throughout the year. "The larger festivals don't do this good a job of sending these people around to recycle. ... I'm glad to see these folks taking care of the festival."

Ortiz learned his composting lesson firsthand as a Hallmark intern. There, Missouri Organic Recycling composts the cafeteria food. Ortiz arranged for the company to contract with Recycalusa for Wakarusa.

"We're starting kind of small this year," Ortiz said. "This being the first time, just like the first year of Recycalusa, it's a challenge just in itself. To me, it's to get a final product that is of high quality and good purity that warrants a contractor to come out here and pick it up."

The process goes something like this: Volunteers go to the vendors twice a day or more and collect their waste in smaller containers. In their motorized carts they haul it to a "roll-off" on the perimeter of the site. Then, on Tuesday, it will be collected by Missouri Organic Recycling.

Add that to the other recycling efforts at the festival, such as the availability of free recycling bags and bins throughout the site, and the organization is helping Wakarusa and the state park keep the area clean.


KEITHMILES05 9 years, 11 months ago

The festival goes could do the environment a hell alot of good if they'd only shower.

classclown 9 years, 11 months ago

An interesting mini documentary about a hippie couple from the 60's and what they're like in the present.

Kontum1972 9 years, 11 months ago

OBTW jack..he does not travel events...he just does this one...he was a student at year he will not be there doing this...he has a he has many other offers rolling in he is going to decide where he wants to go......what do your kids do?This kids who work for him are not from KU..the ones i met ..they are K-Staters....

Toto_the_great 9 years, 11 months ago

Okay true. My experiences on hippies are limited. I hear about how my parents and a few of their friends acted back in the day and now see how they act. I think the back-then version was better (at least they were open to ideas instead of blowing them off because they sound ludicrous). About the vendor issue... I think it is carry over from the Dead Heads (what I want to know is, where do they get all that money to travel with gas $4/gal)? I think this is where times have changed.Now that I think about your hippy-suburban yuppy comment... I see that with today's kids. I am an environmentalist trying to find solutions (I have a farming background but like to study the endangered species no one has heard of). In trying to find a balance between the two groups, I am often scolded by what I call granola-hippies (who I envision living in the 'burbs). These guys don't want to get dirty in the field studying what they think is important to them (because they wash their clothes only once a week and getting stream slim on their clothes would be bad). I was bashed by these guys in school because of my beliefs (pro-hunting and pro-env't), but once push came to shove in order to get something done, they often folded because it would put them out. I was taken back by this fact (now not everyone was like this and I have a good working relationship with a few of them: I can bag some of the hunter people I know too).Circling back to the recycling: I think awareness is good. I have no-recyclers come to my house and see my simple little set up (one can in the house, which is then separated into four in the garage, and then picked up once a week). They are amazed at how easy it is: some people are too lazy to act on this. I have one small HyVee size bag of trash a week (which is diapers). What little table scrapes we have are pitched in the compost pile.

Kontum1972 9 years, 11 months ago

that's my son who organized the clean up out there and he has been doing it since the festival started while he was attending K-State and just earned his degree in electrical/nuclear what the hell are your kids doing....robbing banks or kwik shops....he has a crew that takes care of it all...Bret Mossman has a different opinion of what Rylan and his recruited work force are doing to make it better ...what have u all done lately to make the world a better place environmentally..besides recycling your empty beer cans and wine bottle at wal-martOBTW my son Rylan has been offered a great job in Hayward, California.......and he just graduated a couple of weeks ago....Rylan is making a difference...i spoke with his professors who came to his graduation party and they spoke of how they are going to miss having such a brilliant young man around at K-State...he was also president of the Student Environmental Association for 3 years...he is making a difference....

Toto_the_great 9 years, 11 months ago

Jack, what about making people aware of recycling? Actions speak louder than words. I am not saying every baby-boomer is like this, but I know several that were "hippies" in the 60's only to be uptight "old" people now. Not much has changed (see CNN's article about how '08 and '68 are similar), but those that go against the norm are liberal nut jobs (being called that by some who were liberal nut jobs in the 60's).

alm77 9 years, 11 months ago

So, Jack, it'd be better if they made no effort at all? They're going to show up anyway, why not attempt to minimize the impact? Also, sandwiches and fries? When vermicomposting (with worms), I thought meat and oil were out. How does that work?

Toto_the_great 9 years, 11 months ago

Speaking of going green: of the few things have often puzzled me: when are the env'talist going to try and bring down nascar? That is another topic for another day.Thanks for the post Kontum and congrats to your son.

Kontum1972 9 years, 11 months ago

thx Jack...i am proud of my son..and his brother zach is out there helping him....with his free state i got in your face..but thats my kid...and i am really proud of him....i know bret, yep he is a business man..but at least his club doesnt haul in that crowd of gang-bangers we have seen at the other clubs here in this town with all their auto-matic weapons....i respect Bret and he is a good friend...he is a business man and he gives back to Lawrence, he pays taxes just like the rest of us...i have been out to the festival the past few days and it is run very well...i am proud of my son's...i have live in Lawrence for 16 years..and i love it , again i apoligise for gettin' in your face..but thats my son...

Kontum1972 9 years, 11 months ago

my son has developed some really interesting micro-processors while he was at K-State,,,and he is an Eagle Scout too...guess that's why he got that offer from Hayward, California...and many others from what he is telling me..he is a hot item...Ry, is a doer.

Kontum1972 9 years, 11 months ago

actually i did see a number of people arriving on bicycles out racks on parked vehicles and riding bikes around to venues...

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 11 months ago

"If there was an serious concern about the enviroment the vendor would all be local and the people would have arrived to Lawrence on the train and biked out there."True enough, Jack, but the car/high energy based lifestyle, economy and infrastructure have been built up over many decades. While I agree that taking the train to Lawrence would be a preferable way for most attendees to get here, it's simply not possible for the vast majority. Likewise, riding a bike out there really isn't either-- can you imagine the bitching on this board if ten thousand bikers tried to make their way out there?Changing that will mostly be achieved through countless small steps. This festival is by no means "green" for the very reasons you point out, but the small steps they are taking are still important ones.

Kontum1972 9 years, 11 months ago

Bo, at 12th street recycle has been involved with the project..i met Bo yestrday...he had alot of nice things to say about my son and how he is ramrodding this project and it is a music fest....the Zappa boy is showing up and Emmylou will be there too on least these kids are not shooting someone on Delaware street.....yeah some of these kids have money....but they are spending it here in helps the ecomony,,its been pretty mellow out there and the kids that i met were very nice...they are just having a good time..and there are a number of people out there who are of our it works out...Brett has a good turn out and thats good,,if he didnt think it was beneficial it would not happen..yeah he makes a buck..but the music business is his love...he's a lawrence guy..and not some big outside promoter from new york or california.....his club dosent have the problems like Axis and a few other of those techno clubs that haul in that out of town trash with automatic weapons...the or yellow it does not matter how u label will be here next year...i am not a rich guy....i'm just an average dude..and i love the music scene..i am a musician and so are my two son's and i do have a day job..its all about the music and a few bucks for the city...thx Brett...thats all i have to say about that...!

zzgoeb 9 years, 11 months ago

Jack,Man, you need to take a break!!! What's it like to be perfect? Drive a car? Use electricity? Vegan? It's called the "peanut gallery"...give positive suggestions, or clam up!

tunahelper 9 years, 11 months ago

green dope, green freaks, green LSD, green drugs, oh yeah, wakarusa is really green!

GratefulSistah 9 years, 11 months ago

Actually, there were a couple of stages that were 100% solar powered. There was information about recycling and how to pitch in to keep it as green as possible. Everyone going in was provided with special bags for recycling. In my particular group, we challenged ourselves to pick up AT LEAST 20 pieces of trash a day, and generally did more. We kept our cigarette butts in a ziploc. We drive hybrids. Some of us even live on self-sustaining, off the grid communes. We are not just "speak the word" hippies, we live environmentalism in our daily lives as well. I will never pretend that festivals are 100% environmentally friendly, but I will congratulate any festival that raises awareness. Small steps forward are better than manic idealism.

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