Next Wednesday after the festival, items recovered will be brought back to Chattanooga and sold at yard sale prices from the back of a truck provided by U.S. Xpress. The proceeds from the sale benefit clean water initiatives through the Caribbean Student Environmental Alliance.
Last year, items included tarps, tents, grills, inflatable mattresses, coolers, tent fans and water bottles. The crew also found a “brand-new wooden rolling table,” a tent air conditioner and an inflatable raft.
“Whatever it is, it has to be usable,” Mary Beth Sutton, executive director at CaribbeanSEA, said. “We’ll put bins at all the camping pods that say ‘don’t leave it, donate it,’ and if people don’t want to take their stuff out, they can leave it.”
Each year, Sutton partners with Clean Vibes, Bonnaroo’s waste management contractor.
At the 2016 festival, Clean Vibes diverted 65 percent of the waste from going to a landfill. They composted 230,000 pounds of waste, and 464,354 pounds of waste were recycled/reused.
The Gear Closet recently relocated to 1510 Riverside Drive, behind Green’s Eco Build & Design. Owners held a grand opening for the new location May 20 and have been working to increase visibility since.
“People are finding us, and new people are starting to stop in,” Sutton said. “We’ve seen some completely new faces, and our North Chattanooga family is coming back. A lot of people see us from the street, turn around and come in.”
Sutton has commissioned an artist to create a large sculpture to help people notice the building from the road. She is also working with local Eagle Scouts to create rain gardens and other clean water features to showcase at the new site.
Originally, The Gear Closet was located on Main Street. In 2012, they moved to Cherokee Boulevard.
More information on The Gear Closet’s Bonnaroo sale will be announced on Facebook, including hours and a preview of some of the items for sale. Sutton said she expects the sale to begin Wednesday and go until a majority of items are sold.
She also encourages volunteers to sign up to help with both Monday’s on-site Bonnaroo cleanup and Wednesday’s yard sale. Click here for volunteer information.
More than 50,000 people are expected to attend the 2017 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. The festival runs June 8-10.