Rock the Green to become even greener

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:45 am

Rock the Green music festival will implement a number of changes to its second annual show to produce less waste without reducing the quality of the event.

The outdoor music celebration, presented by Veolia Environmental Services, merges world-class music acts with the message of living an ecofriendly lifestyle.

“The whole purpose of Rock the Green is to positively impact the environment by educating and empowering communities and individuals to adopt sustainable lifestyle habits,” said Lindsay Stevens Gardner, founder and executive director of Rock the Green, a nonprofit organization.
This year’s festival, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 15 from 2-9 p.m. at Milwaukee’s Veterans Park, is making a move toward paperless tickets. When smartphone users buy their tickets online, they can download an app that goes with their ticket and simply present their smartphone at the ticket gate. Patrons without smartphones can still print the PDF version of their ticket at home.

Unlike last year’s celebration, Rock the Green will run past evening hours this year. To light the grounds, Stevens Gardner said the organization is partnering with Madison-based Rayovac and will employ LED lighting, which is more energy efficient. Rayovac will provide onsite LED lanterns for the park as well as LED flashlights and headlamps for staff and security members.

The one-day event will add a second stage featuring local talent. To generate power for the lights and the sound, the stage will rely on bicycle pedal power. A local cycling team will take charge of the pedaling. Cyclers helped generate power for part of the festival last year, but this is the first year they will power a stage.

The nonprofit has also set up Zimride for music lovers traveling longer distances to the festival., an online carpool and rideshare community, will allow people from cities like Madison and Chicago to find others in their area attending the festival so that they can make the trip together and use less gas.

“We’ve created the greenest music festival to date at Rock the Green because of the lengths we go with our near-zero waste efforts,” Stevens Gardner said.

In hopes of exceeding last year’s attendance of 7,300 people, the nonprofit shifted the event from a Sunday to a Saturday to avoid having to compete against a Packer game. Stevens Gardner would like to see a turnout of at least 10,000.

The festival will maintain all its green efforts from last year, including composting, recycling, converting food waste into organic fertilizer, handing out free water bottles to be filled at freshwater stations, and using generators that create biodiesel to power the main stage. Those who carpool with four or more people will pay $5 for parking instead of $15. Cyclists can check their bicycles into a free valet and will be given a free bicycle tune-up during the show.
According to Stevens Gardner, the magnitude of last year’s festival should have generated 3.5 tons of garbage, but it only generated 10 garbage bins.
Stevens Gardner encourages the public to come to the event, no matter how ecofriendly of lifestyles that individuals live.

“With rock the green, we celebrate all shades of green from light green to dark green and everything in between,” she said.

This year’s performers at the main stage include headliner Third Eye Blind plus Metric, Switchfoot, Imagine Dragons, Morning Parade, and Atlas Genius. Milwaukee-area side stage performers include Evan Christian, I’m Not a Pilot, Ikarus Down, Crooked Keys, and Fever Marlene. Tickets run $30 for general admission and $85 for VIP admission. An early bird special of $25 is available until Aug. 12. For more information about Rock the Green nonprofit and music festival, visit

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