The 2015 Solar Fest at Keene State College, which was held on Saturday, April 25, was greeted with sun rays, live music, activities, vendors and good vibes.
Some attendees said they went for the live music and good weather. Others said they were involved with the hands-on production of the event, while some said they showcased and sold fair trade inspired products like jewelry, hand woven baskets and beads.
Different student clubs, such as Campus Ecology, WKNH and the Fair Trade Club, were a huge part in the creation of this event.
Taylor Asher, president of Campus Ecology, said she was very involved with the organization of the event along with WKNH.
She said the event had live music and more than 30 tables for vendors, whom were selling or giving away local products and educating students about causes, such as fighting climate change.
She said the Residence Hall Organization was giving away ice cream from Walpole Creamery, NextGen Climate was giving away reusable water bottles and Eco Reps was hosting a clothing swap.
She said these vendors, among others, were highlighting the importance of shopping local and focusing on sustainability.
Another thing they did to draw students’ attention to sustainability, Asher said, was to display all the recycled water bottles they collected over the course of one weekend.
“We had over fifteen bags of water bottles,” she explained.
She said although it is good students are recycling, there are too many water bottles still being used.
“We wanted to show that even if students are saying ‘Oh, I’ll just use one,’ it is still adding up,” she said.
Asher said they were promoting the use of reusable water bottles and educating students about the dangers of plastic.
According to Andrew Olson, who is also involved in the club, “The plastic bottle displays were a collection of recycled plastic bottles from around campus to show the impact of individual choices in terms of purchasing plastic bottles,” he said.
He continued, “This display was to show that each contribution in the realm of plastic makes a difference.” Students said they enjoyed the event in its entirety — from the vendors to the music, and shared why they liked attending.
Cassidy Hunkins is a junior at KSC majoring in Graphic Design who attended Solar Fest.
Hunkins said that she looks forward to attending Solar Fest each spring.
She said that she gets excited to “spend time with a good crowd of cool, laid back people with a strong friendly vibe.”
Of course, she said, good vibes in a crowd of people is always refreshing, and that might be a reason Solar Fest brings back so many attendees.
Senior Jack Doherty-Dilworth, a KSC Safety major, also shared why he has attended all four years of Solar Fest since becoming a student at KSC.
He agreed with Huckins and said, “The good vibes being shared between all different people is super cool to be around.”
Besides the obvious good vibes that Solar Fest created, Olson also shared why he believes Solar Fest is so important.
He said that Solar Fest “demonstrates how the things we do for fun, like listening to live music, can be done
in a sustainable manner, by using solar energy.”
He also said “It is also a way to bring the community together both in and outside of the institution and shows how we can be responsible in what we purchase, like having fair trade vendors and all that good stuff.”
Asher also reiterated that there are many reasons Solar Fest is important.
She said, “The purpose [of Solar Fest] isn’t just the concert, it is the fact that it is all solar powered.”
She added, “The concert also brings in a crowd so we can educate people to buy local and learn about living more sustainably.”
Doherty-Dilworth said he would also agree on the importance of Solar Fest.
He said that an aspect of Solar Fest he has always appreciated is that it “spreads new thinking and promotes important things people might not think about everyday.”
Besides the appreciation for alternative energy, sustainability, being environmentally friendly and the energy of good people, Solar Fest attendees agreed on a popular topic among all: the weather and live music.
As the long winter comes to an end, many students and the community alike said they have been itching for warm weather. Even with a slight breeze, Solar Fest seemed to be a great success, according to Asher.
She said the live bands were all equally unbelievable with talent and brought forth great energy. Attendees agreed that all of the music was super enjoyable throughout the day.
However, some hung around a little longer for a performance by Rubblebucket.
Bands Rubblebucket and Surfer Blood headlined the festival.
Asher said Rubblebucket has attended Solar Fest before, so there was great excitement for them to be returning this year.
Hunkins said, “I was super pumped for Rubblebucket to return to Keene, and was excited to see their performance this year.”
She continued, “But with or without Rubblebucket, Solar Fest seemed like a huge success this year.”
Junior and Graphic Design major Bella Robinson shared her favorite part about Solar Fest overall.
She said, “Rubblebucket, warm weather, and hanging out with really awesome people — what can get better than that?”
“The turnout was absolutely amazing and a huge number came out this year,” Asher said.
“The collaboration among many groups was successful and there were no problems with the crowd. Most people were really eager and excited to be there and everyone loved Rubblebucket,” Asher concluded.
Sofia Hart can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org