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    Vote the Environment on Tour

    029_29_3 Vote the Environment is on the road with Jack Johnson and his All at Once Tour. Two Patagonia employees have been chosen to man the booth and talk to concert goers about the importance of registering to vote, getting informed and voting the environment on November 4th.

    [Folks can share which environmental issues are important to them when they drop by the VTE booth. Photo: Hillary Saxon]

    Hillary Saxon, the assistant manager at Patagonia Chicago, is taking the first leg of the tour. Here's her first report from the road:

    Show #1: Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Noblesville, IN—Friday the 13th, 2008

    Two days after arriving in Indiana and adjusting to life as a rock star, it was finally time for our first Jack Johnson concert and official Vote the Environment booth in the Village Green.

    We started the day at 8am and transferred our belongings from the hotel to the 45-foot tube (aka the tour bus) that we would now call “home.” The night before, I was informed that middle bunks were the most coveted for their ease of maneuvering in and out of. Somehow the stars were aligned and I got a middle bunk, but that still didn’t shake the claustrophobic feeling of sleeping in a burrow-like bed no more than two feet tall, 2.5 feet wide, and 6.5 feet long.

    018_18_2 After we were taught the rules of living on a bus (#1 - only liquids down the toilet, TP goes in the trash can) we turned on our satellite TV to see the weather prediction for Friday the 13th … severe thunderstorms. As we rolled into the venue the rain started. We were lucky that it was light enough for us to begin our setup. We spent the day setting up the 11 Village Green tents and the VTE table in between downpours.

    Common_roots_graphic At 5 o’clock, Jack, his wife Kim, and several other band members came out to greet the national and local non-profits representing his All at Once program. Jack and I chatted about how great the Vote the Environment Common Roots T-shirts look ($5 from the sale of each Common Roots T-shirt will go to HeadCount, a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization devoted to voter registration and increasing participation in democracy. Check it out: men's | women's).

    It was great to have Elissa from the Enviro department (and the August leg tour rep) join me for our first show. We engaged concert goers by talking to them about VTE and asking what environmental issue was most important to them. I was amazed that everyone who stopped by our table had something to say. The only bitterness or negativity we witnessed was from people who knew there was a problem, but didn’t know how to take action and educate those around them. While most people focused on international issues like global warming, recycling, and oil we were able to talk to some people about what was happening in their local environments. We found out about a proposed highway expansion and numerous strip mall projects that would cut through Indiana’s cherished farmland. There was a strong interest in biodiesel and other alternative fuels. The local paper featured an article about Jack Johnson reaching out to local farmers for our meals (which have been amazing!).

    After four hours of talking to Jack’s fans, we broke down our setup and still had time to enjoy Jack’s last number “Better Together” from the front row. Then it was on to the bus for my first night sleeping on the road…

    Show 2: Bonnaroo Music Festival: Manchester, TN

    033_33_2 What a shock to leave the relatively quiet city of Indianapolis one night and wake up the next morning in the parking lot of the Bonnaroo Music Festival. Sadly the All at Once Campaign is not a part of this show, but luckily Bonnaroo has its own greening effort. The morning started with a tour of the fairgrounds for this 80,000-person festival. We took a detour to the composting area, which will eventually contain 10 tons of scraps from this four-day festival. We visited recycling stations and eventually landed at Planet Roo, their eco-friendly vendor area. Our Village Green team met up with Carbon Shredders and for four hours we assisted their efforts by getting hundreds of attendees to commit to reducing their carbon footprint.

    039_39_2 After a Jack and crew BBQ, it was time for Jack to take the stage in front of almost 70,000 people. We learned that our laminates gained us access to premier seating and we were able to watch the show from the stage with the Olsen twins standing by my side. I lived my Almost Famous dream and for a day: I got to be a rock and roll photographer. Eddie Vedder joined Jack on stage for a number. Pearl Jam came on next and we were able to retain our spots for their three-hour show!

    We had a 2am bus call and then we rolled on to Cleveland…

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