By: Zoe Bernardi, Community Editor
New Orleans is nothing like Maine. First off, right now the weather is between 80 and 70 degrees. Here in Maine, it has dropped to 40. I recently went to New Orleans for an internship and, boy was it a ride.
I am a sophomore at USM majoring in Communication and Media studies. I am currently an intern at REVERB in Portland. REVERB is a non-profit music and media organization that focuses on sustainability for the environment.
REVERB and its amazing crew of people work with artists, concert venues and music festivals to educate those on how to be more eco-friendly at these events and try to reduce single-use plastic.
I and three co-workers took the trip to New Orleans to attend the Voodoo Music Festival. Five days in NOLA, three at a music festival and a whole lot of volunteers and music.
The first day it poured. It was raining continuously for almost 12 hours.
The festival grounds were filled with mud. Flood warnings and mud made the day very eventful. Both for the crew setting up tables, watching people fall in the mud, and trying to keep our feet warm and not cold. At the end of the first day our legs were sore, and our clothes were soaked.
The next day was the total opposite, humid. I forget how tropical New Orleans is, it is so close to Mexico, and it is muggy but the chilled winds kept my jacket on. My boots were a little damp, but nothing a hairdryer couldn’t fix in 15 minutes.
The third day was the coldest in temperature, but the ground was still wet and muddy. The sun was warm, a good way to say goodbye to the Voodoo music festival.
Back in Maine as an intern, I am in charge of sending out emails, calling volunteers, running errands and organizing information. I work on many festivals and concerts, but this was the first festival I went to with REVERB.
My job for this music festival was to check-in volunteers to make sure they signed the correct paperwork, had the proper wristband, volunteer shirt and knew where to go.
I worked three shifts a day for three days for an hour and a half, and in between these shifts, I would walk around the festival, enjoy the music, people watch and check in on the volunteer booths.
We had four booths set up, two for rock and recycle, and two for hydration stations. The way that REVERB staff their events are through volunteer and crew members. We had 80 volunteers and four crew members and myself. These volunteers would sign up through the website and come for a shift where they would man the booths. After their shifts were done they have time to walk around and enjoy the festival.
The rock and recycle booth dealt with giving festival-goers a plastic bag, encouraging them to pick up the recyclables left on the ground by others. When a bag was filled they were rewarded with a free tee-shirt that had local artwork and the lineup on the back, plus the fulfillment of knowing they are cleaning up the environment.
The hydration stations are places that festival-goers can go to fill up their water backpacks, cups, and water bottles. People were allowed to bring in empty bottles and can refill them many times for free. This booth helps people stay hydrated and reduces single-use plastic bottles.
Being at this festival was a nice way to physically see all the hard work pay off. From doing the behind the scenes stuff like sending out emails, making tee shirts and hearing all the phone calls. Being there and seeing everything come together, all of the hard work in the office paid off! The emails I sent out to people who actually came out to volunteer.
I love being an intern at REVERB. I think it is so unique how we use the platform of media and music to make changes about the world around us. This trip brought me closer to the work I do in the office twice a week, but also allowed me to know my co-workers even better.
The last day in New Orleans was filled with walking around the French Quarter, going to Bourbon street and seeing the city. It was warm, sunny and a perfect day to walk around.
The city is so different from Portland. The houses are elevated due to the amount of flooding they get. They are also so many bright colors, all with porches and flowers and real shutters. Not like the fake shutters that people have for decorating, these shutters are meant for rain and wind.
People sit outside and chat with neighbors. They people-watch. We people watch. We watch each other people watch.
It was such a treat to have some warm and sunny weather to walk around. I enjoyed and explore before heading back to the chilly air that fills Maine.
Thank you REVERB for sending me to New Orleans and allowing me to take my work to the next level.