The environment and kids activities add to the versatility during the third day of the Nelsonville Music Festival.

The environment plays a significant role in what makes the Nelsonville Music Festival unique.

Local environmental group Rural Action partners with the festival every year and encourages recycling and composting throughout the weekend.

“We want to get more than 90 percent (of materials) recycled or composted,” said Erin Sykes, the Rural Action Zero Waste Program director. “Today we are over 96 percent.”

AmeriCorps volunteers, who organized the recycling and composting for the weekend, along with festival volunteers, track and weigh the amount of material throughout the festival.

The zero waste team also has a slew of equipment they use to help with the waste diversion.

One of those is a conveyor belt that bags of trash, recycling, and compost are dumped onto. Three or four volunteers at a time then sort through its contents to ensure everything is where it needs to be.

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There have been some interesting objects the festival attendants throw out.

“(During a past) festival, we’ve gotten a pretty amazing Patagonia fleece (jacket),” Sykes said. “We’ve gotten weird stuff like baby doll heads… diapers are probably the grossest thing that comes down.”

The Zero Waste Program focused more energy on the campgrounds this year.

“Usually we focus almost all of our volunteer energy (at the festival), and we just hope that the campers will just follow the rules,” Sykes said. “But this year we have volunteers that go down there too during the dinner get recycling out of the trash that was put in the wrong spot.”

The family friendly vibe the festival also contributed to the unique environment.

Kids can be seen playing behind the main stage crowd with bubbles and hula hoops, making art and dressing up in the costume tent.

There’s also a postcard-making tent where kids can either pick a musician or sponsor to write to, or send it to someone of his or her own choosing.

Kelly Martin, from Lancaster, was enjoying the weekend with her son Landon Martin.

“There are so many children activities…(Landon) has been having tons of fun. He loves music so that’s a plus,” Kelly Martin said.

Landon Martin has also been climbing trees and dancing with other kids during the weekend his mother said.

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The biggest kid event of the weekend was a costume parade that snaked through the festival grounds.

A Chinese dragon created with umbrellas and decorated fabric led costumed children through the crowd.

The end of the parade signaled that it was time for the final two bands to close out the third day of the main stage.

The Black Lips, a punk rock band based in Atlanta, greatly contrasted with the robotic St. Vincent performance.

Jared Swilley, bassist and vocalist for The Black Lips, joked that he could not remember the last time he was in Ohio and that was “a good thing.”

St. Vincent’s performance was much more planned out and included choreography with her band.  

She rocked the third night to a close with a guitar in a sleek black dress.


JC Griffith also contributed