Each year, the River City Roots Festival brings our community together and shares the magic of Missoula with not only locals but also with those who’ve traveled from far and wide. With incredible live music, art, culture, and fun for everyone, this festival is a great way to showcase everything that makes Missoula so great.

Join in the fun Friday and Saturday August 24-25, 2018, downtown Missoula.

A cornerstone of our community is our commitment to sustainability, which is why Climate Smart Missoula and the city of Missoula lead the charge on the green scene each year, ensuring the festival is as climate and waste smart as possible.

The Roots Festival has committed to reducing the carbon footprint of the festival while improving the health of our planet, our community, and festival attendees. From expanding zero waste options, to sustainable commute options, to protecting natural resources, the 2018 River City Roots Festival is dedicated to responsibly throwing Missoula’s best party.

In 2017, the Roots Fest asked festival attendees to “stop sucking” their drinks through single use plastic straws, seeking to minimize plastic sent to the landfill at best, and our waterways at worst. We’re thrilled to continue this initiative, and excited to offer new options to reduce our impact.

This year, we’re expanding the ZERO by FIFTY Zero Waste Stations to include compost bins. If diners find themselves with leftover food, these food scraps can go in the green bins, which will be taken to the City’s compost facility, Garden City Compost, by a local compost hauler, Missoula Compost Collection. Garden City Compost does accept products that are BPI certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute, so be sure to ask food vendors if they are using compostable plates, silverware or containers. If foodservice items are BPI Compostable, these can go into the green compost bins with food scraps.

We’re super excited about reducing food waste that ends up in our landfill each year, but it’s very important to minimize contamination. If we aren’t conscious about minimizing contamination, compost bins might be sent to the landfill instead. If there are any questions about which bin waste should go in, consult the signage at Zero Waste Stations, or ask a Green Team Zero Waste Ambassador.

We’re also happy to have a water truck at the festival provided by Missoula Water. Attendees can refill their reusable water bottles, reducing reliance on single-use plastic bottled water. We’re grateful for this new partnership—it’s one of many current and forthcoming community collaborations integrating Missoula’s publicly owned water utility with Missoula’s most loved public events.

These initiatives are just the beginning of sustainability efforts led by the River City Roots Festival and supported by our awesome volunteer Green Team, which you really should consider joining this year.

We’re looking for community members to join the Green Team by volunteering a shift or two at the Festival – we can’t do Zero Waste and food composting without you. Learn more here or head directly to the sign-up form on the Roots Fest Volunteer Page. We really need help Friday and Saturday evening. It’s fun, and you get a free T-shirt, wristband, drink and a warm fuzzy feeling knowing your part of the solution.

Additional ways we’re greening the festival include:

  • Stainless Steel Tumblers: Last year was the inaugural offering of commemorative River City Roots Festival steel tumblers intended to be used and reused throughout the weekend, and beyond. The 500 tumblers ordered for the 2017 festival sold out before dark on the Friday of the festival, so this year, to meet the demand, 750 tumblers will be available. Another way we reduce single use plastic at this event! If you got a steel tumbler last year, you can bring it with you for reuse at this year’s festival and even get a wristband for free.
  • Zero Waste Vendors: As part of the City’s ZERO by FIFTY zero waste initiative, we’re continuing the voluntary Zero Waste Vendor program, where we recognize vendors who are taking actions to reduce materials traditionally sent to the landfill from our food court. Participating vendors receive a sign to display, letting festivalgoers know who is meeting the minimum requirements of not using plastic straws, plastic bags, single-use glass, or Styrofoam foodservice ware. If you visit participating vendors, such as Five on Black, River City Eats, Big Thai Country, Pattie Wagon, Noodles and Company, Two Crows Tacos, and the Noodle Wagon, please thank them for their efforts!
  • All-In-One Recycling Stations, Composting and Zero Waste Ambassadors: Republic Services is once again offering their All-In-One Recycling service throughout the festival, and Missoula Compost Collection will have compost bins as well! To help guide festival attendees in discarding of materials, we’ll have Green Team volunteers acting as Zero Waste Ambassadors at as many of these zero waste stations as possible for the duration of the festival. Let’s reduce contamination and raise awareness together. You can find Zero Waste Ambassadors easily by looking for their green safety vests. Be sure give them a high five for supporting our community.
  • Bike Valet: In our opinion, biking to Roots demands VIP treatment! To that end, Missoula In Motion will again offer their bicycle valet parking service. If you bike to the festival, simply ride up to the secured area located on the Higgins end of the Art Show and let our volunteers do the rest. If you choose to use your own bike parking arrangements, please only lock up to designated bike racks and avoid chaining up to trees. By riding and parking your bike responsibly, you help reduce carbon emissions, improve traffic flow, and protect our urban forests.
  • Carbon Free Main Stage: Powering the world class musicians performing at Roots takes serious energy. Between fuel to get here and electricity to run speakers and lights, we leave a carbon footprint that contributes to climate change. We’re committed to neutralizing that contribution with the purchase of carbon credits, which we do annually. That’s why we proudly display the “Carbon Neutral” banner on stage.

A hearty thanks to Green Team sponsors Dick Anderson Construction, DJ & A, Mountain Line, and Stockman Bank we have resources to minimize our footprint while maximizing fun at this year’s Roots Festival.

Chase Jones, the City’s Energy Conservation and Climate Action Coordinator, and Britt Holewinski, the City’s AmeriCorps Energy Corps Service Member, write this on behalf of the City of Missoula and Climate Smart Missoula