Innovation At the Forefront of Concert Festival: They Create Low Impact, Sustainable Music Festival That Is Changing the Game! See How...
Everyone looks forward to outdoor music festivals, but most large scale gatherings contribute a staggering amount of waste. That’s why every year Happy Valley, Oregon hosts The Pickathon Music Festival, one of the world’s most sustainable concert events.
Pickathon has taken the waste-free concept very seriously; building stages from recycled or recyclable materials, eliminating bottled water and plastic utensils, and providing an EcoShuttle service to and from the grounds.
Partnering with The Diversion Design/Build Studio at Portland State University’s School of Architecture, Pickathon’s student-led experiment explores a new wave of sustainable design: Diversion Architecture. The concept shows that collective gatherings need not require an enormous carbon footprint; it just requires thoughtful design.
It is important to note that the goals of Pickathon should not be primarily understood as the desire to design a sustainable music festival, but as the desire to design a relevant, responsible and thrilling community experience of contemporary music.
The founders of Pickathon, now in its 16th year, continue to insist upon a creative agenda in all aspects of the event. As they state:
Since day one, the idea behind Pickathon has always been pretty simple: what does it take to be the best weekend festival of the year for music lovers? …Innovation has always been at the center of this process and through the years many important elements have come together; collaborating widely on yearly, diverse lineups that are built on the idea of great music being the sole criteria; refining six unique performance venues designed to create juxtaposing alternate realities; ….maintaining a low crowd density; becoming the only large music festival to eliminate plastic and minimize single use items; recruiting the finest food and drink purveyors in the land; focusing constantly on eliminating “normal” festival hassles; enabling families to thrive.
With these innovations to the typical music festival already churning away, Pickathon approached the PSU School of Architecture with the challenge to design and implement a 1,000-person performance area as an addition to the existing festival infrastructure. This new performance space, named the Tree-Line Stage, had four primary design criteria:
• To continue Pickathon’s philosophy of high-experiential impact coupled with low-environmental impact.
• The site was to be returned to its found condition, an idyllic meadow leaning gently towards the horizon of the Cascades.
• Costs to be kept to an absolute minimum.
• The performance area needed to be a completely new design, every year, in order to keep the concepts of low-impact design at the front of the community’s mind.