Mile High Music Festival gets down with carpooling / by Jason

The good folks at Madison House and AEG never take days off, apparently. While I'm still recovering from Rothbury, they're already putting on their next festival, also a first-year effort. The Mile High Music Festival is a decidedly calmer effort, though, with a 2-day, 11 hour per day lineup featuring Tom Petty, Dave Matthews, John Mayer, and the ubiquitous Michael Franti. This one is closer to home for the Madison House crew, being held within driving distance of their Boulder offices at Denver's charmingly named Dick's Sporting Goods Arena.

AEG seems to have taken the green lessons it learned at Rothbury to heart, and several of the same items are on the agenda, although this doesn't have the full green focus of Rothbury. Unfortunately, not everything is particularly well-explained on the website, which says:

A Green Event

  • Carpool Discounted Tickets and preferred parking
  • Bicycle parking
  • Single Stream Recycling
  • Hybrid Taxi Service
  • Solar Powered VIP area
  • Public Transportation – RTD access
The transportation options are well explained, especially the carpooling, which is encouraging. In fact, it looks like they did more to encourage carpooling at Mile High than they did at Rothbury in some ways, what with the discounted tickets and preferred parking with special route to the festival.

The bike parking is a nice touch--this is still a sad rarity in the US, but it's also something so easy that we'll hopefully see much more of it soon. And of course, it's fantastic to see that this event is accessible by public transit, even from the airport, although I'm not sure how good the RTD in Denver is. It's also a 3-block walk from the nearest stop to the festival grounds--a shame they couldn't have partnered with RTD to move the bus route for the duration of the festival. Likewise, I wonder if RTD made allowances to have extra buses on hand when tens of thousands of people leave the festival at midnight each night.

As for a solar-powered VIP area, there's no explanation of what that actually means, so I can't comment. And Hybrid Taxis are nice, but as explained here, the economics of gas at $4 a gallon should soon push the entire Metro Taxi fleet into hybrids, so I'm unclear of what impact the festival is having by using these.

Single stream recycling means mixing all the recyclables -- paper, cardboard, glass, metals, and plastics -- in one container. It's not generally viewed as the best option, but it's the easiest for consumers and the cheapest in some instances. It's also pretty much standard practice at festivals to recycle this way. Notably, there is no composting mentioned, which is unfortunate, since I'm guessing it means they didn't use compostable cups and plates.

Overall, this is a mixed bag--the emphasis on recycling, biking, and public transit is fantastic, but there's not much else there qualifies this as a truly green festival. But it's a start, and I expect that we will see much more of the stuff from Rothbury trickling in to this and other AEG events as they get more time to incorporate the lessons they learned. And hopefully, this will inspire the Dick's Sporting Goods Arena to at least match this effort in their other events.

The New Mastersounds are playing on Sunday. If you're going, don't miss them! Here's an untitled track for you to enjoy.