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(Green) music to one's ears



Below a clear, summer sky that stood in stark contrast to what was brewing hundreds of miles south this past Friday, Dave Matthews -- the namesake of the Dave Matthews Band -- had some surprising pleasantries for Hurricane Irene while standing on a stage on Governors Island.

“We’re going to try to welcome this storm that’s coming,” said Matthews a few songs into the set. The performance was originally scheduled to be the first of three shows during the inaugural run of the Dave Matthews Band Caravan from Aug. 26-28, with sets by other well known bands such as O.A.R, Dispatch and The Roots. Unfortunately, Irene had other plans, forcing the festival to postpone Saturday’s and Sunday’s performances. Matthews promised the crowd that they’d back “so we can finish what we start tonight, hopefully.”

On Thursday night (Sept 1.), festival organizers announced three make-up dates and a new venue: Sept. 16-18 at Randall's Island. All original tickets for the Governors Island event will be honored, but additional tickets will go on sale to the general public at 10:00am on Saturday, Sept. 3., at DMBCaravan/tickets.

In addition to an array of eclectic music, what started on Friday was the spreading of messages from local environmental organizations through semicircles of white tents known as the “Reverb Eco-Village.” The Dave Matthews Band, like many other major musical acts, has been tied to green initiatives for several years. On Friday, festival goers could offset their carbon emissions by buying a $5 token or bring and fill their own resuable water bottles as way to cut down on the disposable variety (see photo after the jump).



The band has a long-standing relationship with Reverb, a non-profit organization founded by Adam Gardner from the rock band Guster and his wife in 2004 as way to “green” cross-country tours through such initiatives using biodiesel buses while educating the general public about sustainability issues. Besides DMB, the band has worked with marquee acts such as Maroon 5, Blink 182, Rod Hot Chili Peppers, Jack Johnson, John Mayer, Arcade Fire and Phish.

In each of the festival’s four locations -- Atlantic City, Chicago and Washington State being the other three -- Amy Makowiecki, the group’s social media and community outreach coordinator, contacted about 30 area groups to see if they were interested in setting up a display in the village before extending final invites to approximately 12-16 organizations. “We try to keep the mix varied in the village,” Makowiekci said. “We try to show the whole spectrum of environmental issues.”  



One of the groups to welcomed aboard was Get Dirty NYC!, a Brooklyn-based non-profit organization that helps link potential volunteers with area farms and community gardens. Since its relatively recent founding, the group has already joined forces with approximately 40-50 farms and gardens within the five boroughs, said co-founder Stephanie Corrado. She had her fellow co-founder, Gigi Chew, through the local chapter of the nationally known Sierra Club.

“There’s a lot of urban farms and community gardens that are in need of help and are in need of volunteers, but their ability to advertise for them, the movement is very dispersed,” said Corrado, who added that rooftop arrangements compose about 10 percent of area farms at the moment. “What we wanted to do is to come and bring all that information together in one spot, so people could come onto our website and chose what would interest them most... Ultimately we want to build community bonds. We want to build an understanding of urban agriculture and where your food comes from.”


Amy Corrado, left, Stephanie Corrado and Shikha Dalal of Get Dirty NYC! talk with a prospective volunteer on Aug. 26 at the Dave Matthews Band Caravan on Governors Island.

A stone’s throw in the same village, Kady Ferguson and others from Green City Challenge drummed up support for their group. On one sign-up sheet, guests could pledge their interest in taking part in a day-long event on Oct. 23 in which 10 teams of two members go through a series of obstacles to prove they know how to incorporate a green lifestyle into every facet of their lives by collecting giant jigsaw puzzle pieces in a race around Manhattan. Another sign-up sheet was posted to receive e-newsletters to keep updated on its monthly educational meetups and other planned activities.



Ferguson, a program/volunteer coordinator, joined Green City Challenge a year ago. “I believe in the mission of the organization," she said. "I believe that if people are educated about things that are going on around them they’ll make better lifestyle decisions and choices.”

Did you go to the festival? Did you stop by the Eco-Village? If so, we’d love to hear your thoughts!


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