Bend amphitheater’s efforts have reduced waste by 50 percent

The Take Note Initiative, the Les Schwab Amphitheater and Old Mill District‘s award-winning sustainability program in partnership with Monqui Presents, is back for a fourth year.

Designed to reduce waste and make the amphitheater a more environmentally friendly venue, the Take Note Initiative requires all food and beverage vendors to use 100 percent compostable dishes, utensils and cups. As part of the program the LSA has eliminated single-use water bottles and added free water filtration stations and recycling, waste and compost bins.

Concertgoers can also buy reusable LSA Silipints and Silipint Base Cups for beer, cider, wine or cocktails purchased in the venue. These versatile cups are meant to be used all season long at the venue’s 2019 ticketed shows. Cups from past years are welcome back and receive the same discount on drinks as newly purchased Silipints.

With these changes, the venue cut total waste by a whopping 50 percent in 2016, the initiative’s inaugural year.

This past December the LSA was honored for its sustainability efforts as the venue was chosen to receive the All At Once Sustainability Award for Jack Johnson’s 2017-18 All the Light Above It Too World Tour.

The Les Schwab Amphitheater was one of only three U.S. venues to receive the award.

“I’m grateful to these venues, festivals and promoters for showing real leadership in the movement to green the music industry,” Johnson said when the All At Once awards were announced. “You are thinking outside the box to make concerts more sustainable, which also offers a better experience to the fans. … I am proud of the All At Once Sustainability Award winners for your commitment to reduce single-use plastic and for leading by example.”

As the 2019 concert season approaches, the Amphitheater is looking at even more ways to reduce waste.

“We’re constantly evaluating what works well, what can be improved and how we can be better stewards,” says Marney Smith, director of the Les Schwab Amphitheater. “And vetting new ideas is part of that process. We want to continue to be leaders in venue greening efforts, explore new ways to achieve our goals, and avoid trends with unproven results or unintentional consequences.”

The Take Note Initiative is the latest example of environmental stewardship from William Smith Properties, Inc., which developed Bend’s Old Mill District and the Les Schwab Amphitheater. The creation of the Old Mill District opened up more than 14,000 linear feet of riverfront access to the public and helped clear the way for Bend’s iconic Deschutes River Trail. The Old Mill District also proudly partners with the Deschutes River Conservancy, the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council, Ducks Unlimited, the Deschutes Land Trust and other environmental non-profits.

“Being responsible and respectful of this stunning area we call home has been part of our DNA since we first started as a company in 1984,” Smith says. “And with the Amphitheater, it’s an amazing opportunity to see what artists and venues across the world are doing in terms of sustainability. Jack Johnson inspired the Take Note Initiative in 2016 and that got us thinking about not just single-use plastic bottles, but how we could be more environmentally friendly as a whole venue.

“We can’t wait,” Smith adds, “to see where we go from here.”