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Now that we live in the digital age, the question has often been asked: "What in the love of music do we do with all our old formats?" Yes, all those cassettes, CDs, VHSs and their horribly non-recyclable jewel cases that are still aimlessly floating around our lives. What can we do with all that plastic? Peter Gabriel, he of pop super group Genesis, founder of Real World Records and the WOMAD festival, found a fantastically funky solution recently when all his cassettes and CD cases were used to create a DJ Booth at WOMAD.
Gabriel's collection of cassettes, old CDs and VHS covers were all assembled into a sleekly curved DJ Booth in the San Fran Disco bar, which kept festival goers dancing late into the night. All that plastic piled high did a fab job of reflecting the disco lights and glitter ball. We particularly liked the ever changing coloured strip of LED lighting cutting a dash through the middle of the booth, lending it a suitably flashy air. We're not sure if the individual cassettes and VHS covers were glued together, but the whole layered brick-like construction looked pretty sturdy. We weren't about to try knocking it over to find out.
We think there's great DIY inspiration to be found in Peter Gabriel's DJ booth design. Though there probably aren't too many of us with a music collection large enough to make a structure of this size. Time to relieve some of your friends of their useless jewel cases, perhaps?
Dematerialised Music Saves on Carbon
Interestingly, Peter Gabriel is well known for being a pioneer in digital music distribution, founding one of the first music download services OD2. Did you know that the dematerialisation of music saves masses of carbon emissions?
Leave No Trace
In keeping with his long held interest in human rights Peter Gabriel has always made sure that WOMAD is a showcase for ethical and environmental causes, as well as extraordinary world music. Almost all festival stalls use or support fairtrade and organic goods, there are segregated recycling and compost bins throughout the site and everyone is encouraged to collect their plastic glasses with the 5p per returned cup incentive.
It's amazing how seriously the kids take the cup collecting to earn their pennies. Tall towers of plastic glasses wobbling through the crowds that obscured their tiny couriers, became a familiar and entertaining sight over the weekend. Apparently, one group of kids managed to collect over 400 cups. Impressive!
Transparent Waste Management
This year we liked WOMAD's new policy of opening up their recycling yard to the festival goers, so everyone could see the waste accumulating over the weekend. This transparency was an effort by the festival organisers to improve on the 36% of onsite waste that was recycled last year. We've yet to hear whether this was a successful strategy or not.
Popular Ethical Brands on Site
We also spotted some of our favourite ethical brands in the arena. Ecover were helpfully handing out washing up liquid samples, Pachacuti were supplying stylish head gear, Pants To Poverty were flirting in their underwear and Frank Water was back refilling everyone's water bottles for free.
Pedal Powered Architecture
But wait there's more, we haven't even started on the pedal powered excitements that were going on over at the Roots Architecture stage. The efforts of the amazing volunteer architects and designers over the WOMAD weekend deserve a post all of their own - so watch this space.