Montreal Jazz Fest Preview / by Jason

I'm leaving tonight for a long weekend in Montreal for Jazz Fest. Luckily for me, I have family living right in the city, so I have a place to stay and people who can show me around. Since this is a family trip, I won't do any live-blogging or interviewing at the festival, but I will have my camera and I'll be taking lots of notes for a review of all things musically green when I return.

Poking around the website, I couldn't find much info on the green-ness of the festival, but thanks to Google I found out a bit more. It looks like the festival, now in its 29th year, has been recycling for 21 of those years. This year's event should have over 150 recycling bins, and they claim that they average about 20 metric tonnes per year of diverted waste. What they don't say is what that is as a percent of the total waste generated. About the only other thing I could find was this PDF press release from the 2007 event providing more detail about the waste reduction part of their greening campaign.

On the transportation side, the festival's location downtown near several major transit options with extremely tight parking virtually forces everyone to use public transit, at least for the last few miles. That's a very good thing. The festival's sponsor, Rio Tinto Alcan, in what some will undoubtedly argue is a bit of greenwashing, is offsetting all of the festival's emissions through 2010.

Other than the recylcing and offsetting, it doesn't look like the greenest of events. I couldn't easily find any info about composting, the extent of the offsets, local or organic food from the region's many farms, green hotels in Montreal, free public water, reusable or compostable food ware, or any of the other items that are quickly becoming de rigeur for a green festival. On the other hand, the location alone gives it green credibility, and it looks like they have a pretty good handle on their recycling program, so that puts it head and shoulders above many other festivals, especially city-run festivals, that I can think of.

But enough green talk--I'm mostly excited about the lineup. I'm going to miss McCoy Tyner and Dave Brubeck, sadly, but if I'm lucky I'll catch one of three Brad Mehldau performances, one of two Charlie Walker sets, and any number of lesser-known bands. And the best part is, almost all of them are free!

Here's some Brad for ya: