You may not have heard of Kelly Maresh aka Void Puppy, but you may recognize her image (left) that went viral after Euphoria Music Festival a few weeks back. From EDM.com to Thump.com her image made headlines. Fresh Music Freaks felt that this is part of the culture that gets over looked a lot.
(Update): For those that don’t know the Ecophoria – Euphoria’s Green Initiative goes far beyond cleaning up trash.
Let’s clean up, green up, and give back via Ecophoria: our green initiative is filled with ways that can help us preserve our beautiful home at Carson Creek Ranch, reduce the festival’s impact and learn as a community to live more sustainable lives.
The Green Team: Chad Rittenberry, Clay Cole Young and Erin Kaiser managed the infrastructure efforts and put together a team of supervisors including Coleman Brown, Katrina Decker, Brently Donnell, Jennifer Ayers, Phillip Crow, Patrick Brown, David Pillar and Becca Strong.
We decided to reach out to Kelly and speak to her about the “Leave No Trace” efforts and what she has planned for MiddleLands at this years debut one of a kind festival, put on by C3 and Insomniac, May 5–7, 2017 in Todd Mission, TX
Listening to my family pass down stories of Texas Ren Fest was basically a family tradition, and I took my first journey to the Fairgrounds in 2013. As soon as I walked in, I felt right at home in that fantastic, awe-inspiring kingdom.
The Renaissance Theme Festival takes place at a very special place from her memory, we started there.
Why are the Texas Renaissance Festival Grounds important to you?
When I was little my mother told me stories about Texas RenFest, her cousin reigned proudly as King of the Fair for many seasons. He was a bit of a black sheep of the family, so that was something I related to. Unfortunately, he passed away before I was born. I feel a deep connection to this magical place, because his ashes were spread throughout the Fairgrounds. It’s near and dear to my heart and our family’s legacy. Listening to my family pass down stories of Texas Ren Fest was basically a family tradition, and I took my first journey to the Fairgrounds in 2013. As soon as I walked in, I felt right at home in that fantastic, awe-inspiring kingdom.
Tell us about your experience at other festivals regarding cleanups and attendees’ treatment of the grounds.
I’ve been going to Euphoria Music and Camping Festival in Austin, TX for 3 years now – and the “Leave No Trace” culture is huge there. The festival works WITH organized groups of paying attendees, to stay 15-30 mins after the final set and remove every last trace of garbage. Other fests can be a little standoffish to patrons staying after and cleaning up. We have the best intentions in mind, but I remember trying to clean up after UME last year only to be yelled at “MOVE ALONG, Please exit the gates NOW!”. It is always disheartening when you try and do something good, only to be told to give up and move on…especially when you come back the next day and you still see the trash on the ground.
When you have a large-scale event like these festivals, there will always be mountains of trash, that’s just life man. The whole idea behind organized cleanup efforts, is we all do our part to clean up after ourselves and others. We want Texas RenFest to welcome us back after all. Spreading this idea to other festivals, and changing the culture for the better is our goal.
How does the cleanup work?
Typically, the major clean-up efforts begin at the end of each night, but you can always help out- If you see trash on the ground, go ahead and pick that bad boy up… I guarantee you’ll feel great inside. When we get approved to work with the crews, they always provide trash bags! We line up on one side of the stage and walk completely across the festival, picking up everything we see. When you are working alongside 30-40 other dedicated, selfless, caring people – the work goes quickly and hardly feels like work.
We are there to preserve and respect the Earth, and it is just better for your karma if you return any valuables.
Are there any prizes or contests going on for whoever picks up the most trash?
Sometimes I have even seen clean up efforts with PRIZES for most trash collected, or most spirited cleanup – but I have never gotten a prize and I’m not in a place to give out prizes, unfortunately. Seeing the eyes of the festival workers, who have been hired to clean up our mess, that is a huge prize for me. They are so shocked that strangers would pick up trash. They almost don’t know how to handle it. It is something they have never seen before, and that is a big part of what we hope to change. These clean-up parties should be the new normal for every festival!
The morning after a clean-up is just the BEST! You walk into the festival and see nothing but the way nature intended it to be.
Some people will say that “ground scores” are the prizes! This can be misleading. We aren’t out there to sift through trash and pull out two cell phones and a bag of weed. We are there to preserve and respect the Earth, and it is just better for your karma if you return any valuables. There is something really fun about helping someone who lost their phone or wallet! Although, admittedly, I do tend to keep things like lighters, sunglasses and other things I can’t exactly return to anyone. It is better off being recycled than simply tossed out.
For me the prize is seeing how beautiful the grounds get SO QUICKLY and the excited thank yous of patrons and ground crews.
What do I need to do to get involved?
Just show up! Bring a trash bag if you can.
Right now, we have a MIDDLELANDS CLEANUP EVENT PAGE on Facebook –
We are already pushing 100 volunteers!!! We are trying to reach out to event organizers to confirm our plans. We want to be sure that we are allowed to stay a few minutes behind and work, we also want to confirm if they will provide us trash bags and ways to remove all the heavy bags.
The morning after a clean-up is just the BEST! You walk into the festival and see nothing but the way nature intended it to be. Rolling up your sleeves and doing a bit of good for the world, helps build great Karma, release stress and you’ll meet a few hundred like-minded folks. We will change the festival culture and do our part to LEAVE NO TRACE!
Hope to see you there!!
Thank you for your time Kelly!
Be sure to reach out to Kelly as she loves to get people involved…and remember EDM is a culture with many aspects, lets make sure we have an earth to share that culture for always.