Guest Blog by Julien Goalabré: TrashStock Festival - creativity versus plastic trash pollution

Can plastic pollution be featured as an educative event that is fun, catchy and full of positive spirit? Can art and music be “change agents”? The answer is “yes”, and its perfect illustration is “TrashStock Festival – Musik, Artistik, Plastik.

By showcasing creativity for our cities and communities to be more sustainable, we can create positive change. Of course, the event itself needs to be as sustainable as possible as well.

TrashStock Musik- Artistik Plastik is an art and music charity festival celebrating our love of Bali’s environment in the most creative way: leveraging visual artists, musical talents and entrepreneurs to tackle the dramatic plastic trash issue that Bali, like many places in the world, is currently facing.

We perform the difficult art of being fun, beautiful and positive while advocating about a tragic and ugly issue. The mission of TrashStock is to provide a quality art and music festival which strengthens Bali as the main Indonesian destination for the arts and craft circuit, while also educating, engaging and inspiring both kids and youths to protect their environment through creativity.

I created this festival alongside my Balinese friend Hendra Arimbawa with the aim to nurture a movement of creative individuals who want to protect the beautiful but endangered island of Bali. We believe that art, music and social entrepreneurship have an amazing power. We believe that creative minds have a lot to offer to make a change. TrashStock gives them a chance to exhibit those talents for creative non-formaleducation.

Youths of Bali need to be educated about the effects plastic has on the environment, but also on tourism. Indeed, tourists are increasingly complaining about the pollution on beaches, the ocean and pretty much everywhere. Future generations’ future is in danger but so is tourism’s – given that it represents 80% of Bali’s economy and 28% of the workforce depends on it. In the 2017 Year Of Sustainable Tourism For development, solving plastic pollution is a priority for Bali’s future.

Yet, would youth come to a festival to listen to environmental speeches and be told that they don’t take enough care of nature? Definitely not.

However, when those messages are conveyed by popular musicians before playing or even singing about it by creating songs about plastic pollution, that is much more powerful! Add to this - beautiful artwork made by artists recycling plastic or being inspired by the topic, and we have a great combination for sustainability to be indirectly communicated to an audience who benefit from non-formal education, who learn about the impact about plastic pollution without even realizing it.

To communicate sustainable messages to an audience, there is however a very first thing to do: being sustainable yourself! Walking the talk will showcase a real commitment to the cause. To achieve such goal, the team behind TrashStock is covering many aspects of sustainable events that also serve educational purposes.

Guests can attend the festival for free if they bring a certain amount of plastic - giving easy access to an audience who do not have a lot of money and sending the message that plastic has a value, that it is not only trash and that should be disregarded and forgotten once used. By paying for the entry with plastic, festival goer will then be able to see how it is possible to upcycle trash – their own trash in this case - into bags, lamps, or event pallets for cargo transportation!

These pallets are made of 100% recycled plastic by Re>Pal and we use them as stage for music performances. Music and speeches about plastic trash on a stage made of recycled plastic illustrates our vision: showing creativity with plastic everywhere possible during the event.

Plastic straw being one of the biggest source of plastic pollution - as 50% of the words plastic goes into single use items - the festival offers paper straws made by Avani, an Indonesian leader in sustainable alternatives to plastic which are made 100% from renewable resources.

For its second edition in 2016, TrashStock introduced the “Sustainability Passport”, a document that guests can stamp for every sustainable action they take such as bringing plastic to pay for their entry, ordering a drink without a straw and posting it on social media, bringing a reusable bottle, etc. Once again, the aim is to provide a fun experience for youths to adopt sustainable practices at the event itself and beyond.

For the third edition on 26 and 27 August 2017, the festival will feature a new workshop. In the spirit of reusing plastic to make artwork, the back of advertising banners will be used as banners! We also decorate used paint buckets. The quality of the artwork is not always there, but the result is elsewhere as, while painting on what would have become trash, the process of creating art on them will create a change of mindset that will be passed on to future generations.

It is with great pleasure that since TrashStock’s first edition in 2015, other events are using the power of art and music to defend the cause of Bali’s beauty protection. The vision in creating this event was to empower Bali’s habitants changing attitude by using their own amazing creative talents - Bali being a famous destination for art lovers.

The artists’ success is also at the core of what TrashStock is about, and their own sustainability is so important for the team that a third of the festival’s benefits will be donated to an artist using plastic as a medium/theme for their artwork. In the same spirit, TrashStock’s team donates another third of the benefits to a foundation raising awareness about plastic pollution while encouraging creativity.

Raising funds to create the event being always a challenge despite crowdfunding generosity and Corporate Social Responsibility support, we keep the last third to fund the next festival’s edition, so that we are sustainable ourselves as best as we can. Our crowdfuding is now live and we call for everyone’s generosity to help this wonderful festival to come to life for its third edition!

You can find out more about TrashStock Festival below: