Mud, Music and Mayhem: GRN at Bonnaroo

Fest-goer participating in “Coast:Line” tapestry.Last week, Gulf Restoration Network made its 8th trip to Manchester, Tennessee for a week of advocating and educating music lovers across the nation on the continuing impacts of the BP oil disaster on the Gulf Coast. Amidst the 80,000 attendees and sprawling acreage affectionately known as “The Farm” , Bonnaroo has been committed to sustainability and elevating environmental causes through their nonprofit area dubbed “Planet Roo” located in the center of the main festival area. This year, we found everyone from our team of 7 was born on the Gulf Coast – 2 in Mississippi, 2 in Alabama and 3 in Louisiana! We discovered that each of us possessed a very personal and vested interest in protecting, defending and restoring the coast. Despite a rocky start to the weeklong adventure – beginning with a flat tire at 1 am close to Meridian, Mississippi and a six-hour ordeal entering the vendor campground due to the extremely muddy conditions that left many cars stuck in mud (including ours the following day), we persevered and set up our booth ready to go to advocate for a healthy coast!We launched an exciting participatory art installation at Bonnaroo entitled “Coast:Line,” weaving together a tapestry comprised of strips of recycled plastic bags with positive intentions inscribed by participant artists. Each inch of the tapestry represents one mile of oiled coastline – so that by April 20, 2015 we will have 1,074 inches of intentions from just about 4,000 participants woven together. Fest-goer sharing her message for tapestry: “I want my son to have clean H20″In fact, we had a tremendous response with over 500 participants at Bonnaroo alone! Please keep an eye out for this exciting participatory project at the next GRN event you attend so you can weave in your hope for the coast.Long after the music of Elton John, Lauryn Hill, Janelle Monae, Lionel Richie and countless others have faded, the memories remain. In the end, we hope in some small way the hundreds of music lovers we were able to interact with take home a bit of inspiration and hope to restore our Gulf and help us to hold BP accountable.Jayeesha Dutta coordinates the Gulf Future Coalition.

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