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Virgin Mobile Festival helps attendees go green

Virgin Mobile USA's two-day festival in Baltimore aims to minimize its impact on the environment while educating attendees about being more eco-friendly.

Virgin Mobile USA and concert producer I.M.P. partnered withToyota, Kyocera Wireless and Clean Vibes to help Virgin Mobile Festival attendees find their 'G'reen Spot. Virgin Mobile USA has put incentives in place to get concert-goers to the venue in an environmentally friendly manner.

"The Virgin Mobile Festival is all about people reconnecting with our brand through music," said Jill Okawa, manager of pro-social initiatives for Virgin Mobile USA, Warren, NJ. "People associate Virgin with rock 'n' roll, since Virgin Records is part of our heritage, so we're trying to create a unique on-site experience that's reflective of our brand."

Virgin Mobile USA festival-attendees range from 16-40 years old. But the primary demographic is 18-34 year olds, 50 percent male and music-lifestyle-oriented.

"That's pretty dead-on as far as Virgin Mobile USA's target demographic," Ms. Okawa said.

Virgin Mobile USA's text-to-vote Book the Band competition has come to a close with rock band Hollywood Undead declared the winner, earning a spot in the festival lineup (see story).

A Virgin Mobile Festival carpooling initiative organized by I.M.P. allows attendees who purchase four tickets together to enter the promotional code CARPOOL upon checkout and receive a free parking ticket worth $25.

Carpoolers can also go to to print out a carpool voucher for a chance to win VIP upgrades, festival t-shirts and posters through the Virgin Mobile Carpool Sweepstakes powered by Toyota.

A fleet of 10 Toyota hybrid vehicles, along with other MTA shuttles, will be available to pick festival-goers up from local MTA stations and shuttle them to the front gate.

Toyota hybrid and fuel-efficient vehicles will also be on display at the festival grounds.

The festival takes place August 9-10 with performers such as Bob Dylan, Nine Inch Nails, Foo Fighters, Jack Johnson, Stone Temple Pilots, Kanye West and top deejays.

The PickUpPal service will help people find others in their area interested in carpooling and giving those who take public transportation a free organic sustainable cotton Green Spot tote bag with the festival logo when they show their Metrocard or receipt at the Green Spot tent.

I.M.P. deployed solar energy to power the East Coast concert venue Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD, and will do the same for the Virgin Mobile Festival.

A team of 100 volunteer Green Angels will be onsite throughout the Festival to monitor waste diversion efforts and provide consumer information courtesy of Clean Vibes, which specialize in responsible waste management at outdoor festivals and events.

"We want to surprise and delight festival-goers with things they would never expect," Ms. Okawa said. "When you come on site you'll be greeted by the Virgin Mobile Festival's Green Angels and receive a card for a random act of kindness such as a free tube of organic sunscreen."

Many green initiatives are planned for the Virgin Mobile Festival with the help of handset sponsor Kyocera Wireless.

"We're continuing the green initiatives from last year's festival and we're adding on to them," Ms. Okawa said. "We learned a lot last year about reducing our waste and our carbon footprint as much as possible."

Items that usually become trash at concerts are being replaced with compostable products made from renewable sources.

Examples include plates made of sugarcane called Bagasse, cups made of corn called Bioplastic, utensils made of wheat and potato and straws made from plants instead of petroleum.

The Virgin Mobile Festival team is partnering with local experts and a nearby facility for the handling and transport of compost.

Festival-goers are encouraged to bring two factory-sealed water bottles with them to the festival that can be filled at one of several water-refilling stations.

Thirty waste-reclamation stations such stations will be located throughout the event grounds. All food and food-service waste will be recycled. Each station will be staffed by a Green Angel volunteer trained by Clean Vibes.

Nearly all paper items are being replaced with 100 percent recycled paper products including posters and toilet paper.

Virgin Mobile USA and I.M.P. have partnered with Edun Live, the sister brand of Edun Apparel founded by Ali Hewson and Bono, to provide 100 percent organic t-shirts for the official Virgin Mobile Festival merchandise.

In addition, Edun Live has donated 300 organic t-shirts to the Green Angels staff and hosted a contest on in search of a limited edition green t-Shirt design to be printed and sold onsite. Ten percent of proceeds from the green t-shirt will go to the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Wherever possible, the festival will use clean energy such as biodiesel and solar power are being. All on-site power, generators and light towers will run on B99 biodiesel, which is 99 percent biodiesel.

Recharging stations for mobile phones and other devices will be run on pedal-powered bicycles courtesy of Kyocera Wireless.

Where clean energy cannot be supported, such as production and flights, Virgin Mobile Festival will seek to offset its carbon footprint by purchasing green tags through Bonneville Environmental Foundation and donating clean energy to the local Baltimore community.

Virgin Mobile Festival props and buildings will be constructed from sustainable materials wherever possible, including bamboo, FSC-certified lumber, organic cotton and recycled materials. Nearly all materials will be reused, recycled or donated to the local community.

In addition, bamboo furniture for chilling out in the Refresh dome is being repurposed from last year's festival.

A number of unique art installations offering interactive eco-educational experiences will also be featured in the Green Spot tent, where people will be able to hop on the Bike Blender to make a pedal-powered açaí fruit smoothie, ride the Light Bike to understand the power consumption of a CFL versus an incandescent bulb and test out the Phantom Power Meter.

Tickets for Virgin Mobile Festival are on sale through Ticketmaster. More information on the Festival and other Green initiatives being implemented can be found at

Virgin Mobile USA offers monthly Plans Without Annual Contracts, with national coverage powered by the Sprint PCS network.

Virgin Mobile USA's handsets will be sold onsite at the festival, including the Wild Card, Slash and Flare. These are also available at about 40,000 retailers nationwide and online at, with Top-Up cards available at more than 140,000 locations.

Customers who buy a Virgin Mobile Festival Special Edition Kyocera Wild Card messaging handset at a Best Buy store will get access to the Virgin Mobile Guest Lounge at the festival, 50 free eMusic downloads and a free one-year subscription to Spin Magazine.

Text and Pix to Screen applications will create attendee interaction with Virgin Mobile products and services. Trained brand ambassadors will teach the public how to send text messages to the festival's main stage screens and ticker tapes using Virgin Mobile products.

Dedicated lounge areas will feature screens with festival text chatter.

Virgin Mobile phones are available to the public to text their friends using the mobile application Buzz'd. Users who sign up and use the application will be entered for a chance to win special prizes and giveaways from festival partners.

Virgin Mobile USA contributes a portion of profits from downloadable content to The RE*Generation, its pro-social initiative to help homeless youth.

People can submit videos showcasing their unique talents to and Virgin Mobile USA will donate one item of clothing for every submission and for every five online views. has the call to action "Text the word KARMA to 68405." Virgin will donate one item of clothing for every text received.

The company's customers can earn free minutes in exchange for viewing advertising content online through the innovative Sugar Mama program.

"The Virgin Mobile Festival's green initiatives fit in with Sir Richard Branson's efforts to take a hard look at how corporations are contributing to global warming and make a positive impact," Ms. Okawa said. "This festival is good way for us to experiment with ways to reduce our carbon footprint and educate festival-goers and the vendors that we work with to be more eco-friendly."