Emerson-ran music fest encourages living green

It is hard to find an on-campus musical performance, Greek life event, or comedy show with a more involved cause behind it than those trying to “go green.” Students have pushed for a tray-less dining hall, Piano Row may be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified and, sure, any Emersonian can find a recycling bin on campus. Now, on April 23, Emerson College will go green in a new way: the first annual Living Green Music Fest.

Amory Sivertson, a senior BA theater studies performance major and a resident assistant in Piano Row, lives in the Living Green learning community on the third floor of Piano Row. The community’s students partake in field trips and discussions, learn about their personal impact on the environment, and listen to guest speakers.

Sivertson said the idea of some sort of music festival appealed to most of her residents.  At the same time, everyone knew it had to tie back to protecting the environment. Admission to the show would raise money for planting trees around the Boston area and people attending would receive simple tips on how to better care for the environment. Sivertson spearheaded the collaborative effort by Living Green to initiate the festival. She will be performing a solo act and personally invited artists to play.

Laura Patino, a friend of Sivertson, is the singer and songwriter for the three-piece Berklee-based band Holiday Mountain, one of the six groups who will play a 45-minute set. Though the style changes, she says, it can currently be best described as reggae-indie-hip hop. Whatever its classification, Patino says she and her band mates are always influenced by nature and its presence is infused in their music.

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“I’m really excited to start playing shows that have themes that I believe in,” Patino said in a phone interview with the Beacon. “We’re at such a crucial point in the world environmentally and don’t think Boston is the most environmentally conscious and aware city so I’m trying to make any positive changes I can.”

Holiday Mountain isn’t the only Berklee natives due to make an appearance. The Grownup Noise features five members, all graduates of the music school. Four of the five members are full-time musicians, although vocalist Adam Sankowski says the band doesn’t earn enough to abandon their day jobs.

“We have a good time and try to be conscious of our environment,” said Sankowski in a phone interview with the Beacon. “We’ve been together for five years and on one of ours tours way back we drove around in a vegetable oil-powered minivan. We try.”

The bands will line up and play all day at the Limelight Stage + Studios across the street from the Tremont side of the Little Building. Having played a show before for Emerson’s Alternative Spring Break Benefit Concert at the local karaoke bar, Limelight, Sivertson had no trouble procuring the venue.

During set changes, the audience will hear more about Living Green’s cause. At any time, if concertgoers want a break from the music, they can trek out to the Boston Common to engage in the festival’s free environmentally friendly activities. One can paint his very own reusable shopping bag, contribute to planting a tree, or, in exchange for a free water bottle, help rid the Common of trash. Patrons pay a $5 admission price and, on top of seeing an array of music, they’ll get a booklet of simple green tips.

“The tips range from bringing a reusable shopping bag with you when you go to CVS and not turning off the water when you brush your teeth,” Siverston said. “Part of what’s going to be important for us at the actual event is making sure that everyone who walks in that door is aware of where their money is going, and is aware of why we’re doing this in the first place.”

She says the main concept behind Living Green is to show others how the smallest changes in daily life can influence a great deal of change over a long period of time.

“It can’t just be about music,” Sivertson, a singer/songwriter herself, said. “At the end of the day, we are an environmental learning community. I’m hoping that, in all of this, people really walk away with a sense that we’re not just here for the music, but there’s a greater cause, and that music can be a force that helps bring people together on a common cause.”

The Living Green Music Fest will take place on Saturday, April 21 at Limelight Stage + Studios, from 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

All proceeds go directly toward the Boston Tree Party, “a collaborative campaign to plant 100 pairs of heirloom apple trees in civic spaces across Greater Boston” (www.bostontreeparty.org).