Guest Blog: Success at Bonnaroo

Guest Blogger, Alex Zhu, is a Robertson scholar from New Zealand who is interning with GRN this summer.This past week, I was lucky enough to go with six other GRN staff and volunteers to the tenth annual Bonnaroo Music Festival, a four day music, comedy and craziness extravaganza held in Manchester, Tennessee. With over 90,000 people in attendance and headliners such as Eminem, Arcade Fire, Widespread Panic, Buffalo Springfield and many more, the ten year anniversary of this acclaimed music festival was not to be missed.Braving the sweltering heat and dust, the GRN team worked in Planet-Roo, the non-profit section of the festival, to educate and inform their fellow Bonnarooers about the deadly effects that the BP oil spill has had on the Gulf Coast over one year from the disaster. With a photo gallery showing the damage that the oil is doing to the Coast and a group of dedicated staff and volunteers, we met people from all over who shared our interest in protecting and restoring the Gulf of Mexico.This year, we collected petition signatures to recuperate the 20 billion dollars of Clean Water Act fines that BP paid last year for the Gulf, as well as to push for the creation of a Regional Citizens Advisory Council, which would give local, impacted communities a voice in future energy industry decisions. Visitors were also invited to participate in our “Congress, You’ve Got Oil on Your Hands” petition, where they were able to contribute their own “oily” handprints to send to congress. Almost everyone we met was extremely positive about the issue and more than willing to get their hands a little dirty.With the help of our incredible supporters My Morning Jacket and DeVotchKa, who gave us Twitter shoutouts during the event, and Galactic, who gave us an on-stage shout out during their concert, we managed to smash our goal and collect a whopping 2,158 petition signatures for the Gulf.We also drew three lucky raffle winners in our Voodoo Music Festival Raffle, who won free double passes to Voodoo in New Orleans later this year. So if you signed one of our petitions, make sure to check your emails as we may be sending a double pass your way!Alex Zhu

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