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Awareness Magazine
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From ‘What If’ to ‘What Is’ with A New Breed of Eco-Festival

by Booth Vance

 

In the great cultural shift of the 1960’s, the phrase “Turn On, Tune In and Drop Out” became a rallying cry for countless young people throughout the nation. And while this took shape in many ways, from the drug-fueled “Be-Ins” to organic farms and communes, the seeds of this counter-culture revolution quickly sprouted to forever change our society.

Part of this shift in consciousness has helped fuel our relatively recent awareness of the need to protect, nurture and care for our planet. We’ve gone from “Flower Power” to the “Power of Green” with a burgeoning industry of environmentally-friendly products and services now available. And despite the efforts of naysayers who claim that climate change is a hoax and eco-friendly products are a fad, the scientific and financial facts paint a very different picture. “Green” is here to stay.

But if the facts show that “going green” is better for the environment and our health, while typically not sacrificing quality or effectiveness, then why isn’t everyone making eco-friendly products, food and services their first choice?

A longtime event producer, Howard Mauskopf found him-self returning to this question again and again. With more than 150 themed-events under his belt, he had developed a keen understanding of how best to engage the consumer and began questioning why there still seemed to be a disconnect between eco-friendly products and the mass market.

“Cost is a factor,” said Mauskopf from his Santa Monica-based Live Green Events office. “And this is even more relevant in a down economy. But as more consumers turn to ‘green’ with their buying dollar, it drives more companies to focus on this market. The result is the cost differential decreases, the product revenue increases and the planet benefits.”

Mauskopf knew live events could be powerful in spreading the word in support of renewable, sustainable and eco-friendly products and practices. He began researching many eco-friendly events and festivals held throughout the nation and saw they typically focused on specific sectors of business or dealt more with the “What If” than the “What Is.”

In either case, the target audience was those who had already accepted the message of sustainability. Believing there could be a more engaging way to truly expand the market for green, Mauskopf set out to create his own “What Is.” And “What Is” will be displayed just steps from the sand in Santa Monica, CA from October 7-9 as The New World F.E.S.T. launches a new breed of eco-event.

The three-day festival will serve as a celebration of eco-friendly consumer products and forward-thinking science and technology in a way that moves beyond just a series of booths held in a florescent-lit convention center. “As an event producer I understand why so many eco-events are held indoors,” said Mauskopf, “But sterile surroundings seemed incongruous with the overall message of the F.E.S.T. I knew this needed to take place outside amidst the very environment we’re trying to protect.”

So when the longtime Santa Monica resident began considering locations, he didn’t need to look much further than his own backyard. Knowing the city’s extraordinary commitment to sustainability, Mauskopf approached city officials to see about holding the event on one of their beach parking lots.

“Living in Santa Monica I know firsthand that the city doesn’t just talk the talk when it comes to environmentally-sound policies,” he said. “They instantly understood the importance of this type of event, not just for their residents but for the southland in general. We’re thrilled with their support.”

According to Mauskopf, what will set The New World F.E.S.T. apart is both location and content. With more than 150 exhibitors and six live performance stages spread out over nearly 100,000 square feet of space next to the Santa Monica beach, he was intent on bringing the widest variety of green-focused products, topics and interactive demonstrations to an audience which is conservatively expected to draw 15,000 attendees over three days.

“Our audience will be able to move from a presentation by eco-superstar Ed Begley Jr. to a Q&A with the Oscar-award winning filmmakers of “The Cove,” and then head over to take in a yoga workshop. After that they can enjoy natural food, purchase paper made from Sri Lankan elephant dung, try out the world’s fastest solar oven and then have their minds blown by the latest in robotics and virtual reality,” said Mauskopf. “With all this taking place next to the beach in one of the nation’s most sustainable cities, I’m confident that we’ll not only deepen the commitment of some but also engage the commitment of others.”

Mauskopf’s goal for the inaugural event is for it to become a yearly Santa Monica tradition. “The great thing about working in the world of ‘green’ is that there’s a never-ending stream of content. Innovation isn’t stagnant so each year we’ll be able to provide something fresh, new and exciting,” he said. And because the green lifestyle has no geographic boundaries, he hopes to see the F.E.S.T. appearing in many markets throughout the nation in the future.

The New World F.E.S.T. will take place on Santa Monica Beach, south of the pier (intersection of Ocean Park and the beach). Hours are Fri., Oct. 7 - 12pm-8pm; Sat., Oct 8 - 10am-8pm and Sun., Oct. 9 - 10am-5pm. Admission is $12 adults, $8 children 14 and under. For more event information, visit: www.thenewworldfest.com