Jeremy Gregory had some innovative ideas for this weekend's Endotrend Festival - such as silk-screening t-shirts as admission rather than issuing hard-tickets. Unfortunately, it's going to take a little while longer for some of those ideas to take flight. Just a week before the event, being billed as the country's first fully altruistic and sustainable music, art and film fest, Gregory and his Bands for Lands associates had switch venues due to some last minute stipulations being added on by officials at Auraria Campus, where Endotrend was originally slated to take place. A subsequent move to 3 Kings Tavern and the Oriental Theater has resulted in Gregory and company having to scale back the proceedings fairly significantly. We caught up with Gregory to find out what we can expect from this inaugural edition of Endotrend. See what he had to say after the jump.
Westword: You encountered a pretty substantial setback in terms of the setting, with the event moving from Araria Campus as scheduled, to 3 Kings Tavern and the Oriental Theatre. What happened? Are you at liberty to discuss?
Jeremy Gregory: Right now, all I can say is that due to circumstances beyond our control, we felt, as an organization, it made the most sense to pull off campus. It was very important to us to not cancel on the other non profits involved and the bands that have supported Bands For Lands and Endotrend. Without the talent, we don't exist. Luckily, Jim Norris, co-owner of 3 Kings and the Oriental, who also serves on the BFL board, donated the rooms, so the show could go on, and we can still hopefully make something of this! Additionally Bryan Deehaven, a good friend and strong supporter of BFL offered up his store, TS Boardshop, that day so we can set up the truck stage and have bands perform there as well.
WW: How, exactly, is the event altruistic? And aside from the ticket tees how is it sustainable?
JG: Well, unfortunately, because we had to pull our event off the Auraria Campus, our vision took a hit. We no longer have the film fest attached and the art exibit has been dramatically scaled down. More so, such concepts as the perma culture and bio char workshops, the community garden on campus and our "Green the Scene" symposium had to be scratched, hence knocking out a huge chunk of the altruistic component. Sustainable wise we were not able to incorporate our food conscious farmers market restaurant, and the campus was 100 percent wind powered, so we lost that feature. It pains me to know our vision took a huge hit because of what happened with the campus. But with that said our mobile truck stage will be 100 percent solar powered, and all glass and materials at our venues will be recycled. Not to mention the ticket tee.
Endotrend is altruistic in that the festival was designed to give back to the community, to raise funding and awareness on sustainability and social awareness issues and to promote civic engagement. For example, someone could gain free admission into the festival by volunteering a few hours at a community organization through metro volunteers. Eventually, perhaps by next year, we hope to implement a complimentary currency that people could use at participating venues, boutiques, shops, restaurants etc. Again pushing volunteering is paramount via this festival.
WW: How will a venue change effect the original vision of creating a near zero energy, near zero waste, sustainable festival?
JG: It will adversely affect it, unfortunately! For example, we cannot honestly say we are near zero waste now, save for the recycling. However we are doing a carbon offset program with Groundwork Denver that ties in also to the volunteerism aspect. Whats great about this is that it achieves our eco social-justice initiative simultaneously, in that our volunteers will be going into low-income neighborhoods and replacing conventional light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs. This saves them precious money while cutting carbon footprint.
WW: How did you arrive at the concept?
JG: It actually started as a bunch of brainstorming with Jim and myself. We wanted to do something that would give back to the community. Jim and I are both parallel in how we think music and the creative arts can do some amazing and purposeful things in the community and furthermore, something that would be reciprocal to everyone involved, from the bands and artists, to the organizations and businesses, to the concert goers. From there, it evolved from a vision to something that is tangible. And i hope at some capacity this will be successful.
WW: Who's involved?
JG: Doug Bohm, Jim Norris, Meghan Gregory, Courtney Ozaki, Jason Schmidt, and, in the past few weeks, our good friends from Yerkish have come to the rescue along with Emily Schepis, Whip, and a couple of board members, Greg Cronin and Roman Fedyk.
WW: What's your vision in terms of growing the festival?
JG: We definitely want to make this an annual thing. And we see this year, through it's trials and errors, as a blessing in disguise. It was an opportunity, if anything, to build the blueprint to do next year the way we wanted to do it this year. I had a huge vision and jumped into this so late. We were undermanned with Doug [Bohm] and I doing the majority of duties...the three of us were putting on a grand-sized event that would take -- I would say -- at least thirty people to do, and we finally started taking action around March, when we should have been taking action in November!
WW: Will it always be so local-centric?
JG: The goal is definitely to focus on local with music and the cause, of course. But we do want to include talent and others that believe in what were doing. We would love for this festival to be a platform for up-and-coming artists, whether it be music, film or art, locally regionally and nationally. We're even thinking about doing an Endotrend tour or eco festivals in communities across the country.
WW: There's a proliferation of festivals in Denver. With such saturation, does Denver really need another festival? Can it sustain another festival? And, finally, why Endotrend?
JG: This is a very good question and a question we have asked a lot. Endotrend is unlike any other festival; it is built on philanthropy. I think all communities should have a festival like Endotrend. An event like this can be a perfect platform to create change on a seizemic level. Our goal is to instill a world view where people are doing an active part in making their community a better place. We want to eductae, motivate and inspire people to take action through events like Endotrend. At the very least plant a positive seed.
WW: How cumbersome do you anticipate it's going to be to pull off?
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JG: Very! But there are pros and cons to what has happened. One big pro is that we shaved a lot of overhead. Also, again, I think we just had to go through this, to go through the motions to see what went right, what went wrong and set our sights on doing it bigger and better next year. I think everything happens for a good reason. I just hope people will recognize the hard work that was put into this event by a few dedicated people on a true grassroots level, and they will come out and support this event and what it stands for. After all, it's for the people, and it's about the people and the community they live in. An opportunity to really do some great things.
WW: What's up with the ticket tee?
JG: The ticket tee is one of many innovative concepts that Doug Bohm, co-founder of Bands For Lands, came up with probably twelve years ago. This event is the first time we saw an opportunity to launch it. Basically, to get into the event one can bring a shirt of their own to one of our shirt stops before or on the day of the event and get the ticket/logo printed right on their shirt, for a small nominal fee. Or they can purchase an eco friendly shirt with the logo on it. This is such a brilliant idea, environmentally, but also in terms of marketing.
The Endotrend Festival is slated to take place this Saturday, October 3 at 3 Kings Tavern, TS Boardshop and the Oriental Theater. For tickets and information, visit www.endotrend.com.