Southern California environment news and trends

Can music festivals like Coachella really offset the environmental impact?

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Charley Gallay/Getty Images

Musician Zach Ernst of Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears performs during the first day of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival 2011 held at the Empire Polo Club on April 15, 2011 in Indio.

With music fans alight over the announcement of the 2012 Coachella line-up, more environmentally conscious concertgoers are still waiting to hear about this year’s sustainable efforts. Granted, it’s not all philanthropic — Coachella promoters Goldenvoice have traditionally made it worth the effort.

The “Carpoolchella” contest has happening every year since 2007. It encourages fans to carpool for the trek to the desert in decorated vehicles. Carpoolers in the winning vehicle (selected by event organizers) win tickets to the festival for life. The 10 For 1 Bottle Exchange is an ingenious way of keeping the polo fields free from empty plastic bottles, and fans hydrated.

Working with non-profit Global Inheritance, for the “TRASHed: Art of Recycling” project, where local artists are commissioned to decorate recycling bins that make up an interactive art-walk on the festival grounds.

But the real question remains: can a music festival that attracts 75,000 people per day to the desert over 6 days possibly offset the environmental impact? Recycling water bottles and carpools are one thing. Considering what it will take to get all of the bands, equipment, fans and more in and out of the area safely, it's a daunting question to say the least.

We’re especially keen to hear what new ideas Goldenvoice have to offset the additional impact of the festival being expanded over two weekends. Any good ideas left in the Comments section will be forwarded to the appropriate parties. Honest!

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