Sandstone Goes Green

The 18,000-capacity Sandstone Amphitheatre in Bonner Springs, Kan., has joined the bandwagon and is going green – making environmentally friendly changes as well as lowering prices that will result in more green in patrons’ pockets.

"Our theme is band friendly, fan friendly and environmentally friendly," Chris Fritz, promoter and director of the venue, told Pollstar.

Fritz managed the venue, formerly known as the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, back in the SFX days. In January his New West Presentations replaced Live Nation as the venue operator and he reportedly signed a management deal through 2009.

He explained that green changes at the venue include using "energy-saving lighting and light bulbs and using LEED-certified hand dryers in the restrooms." Fritz added that the venue’s cups, from cocktail glasses to beer glasses, can be thrown into a compost pile and "they dissolve within 30 to 35 days."

No Styrofoam will be used, as well as very few cardboard or paper products.

"Besides environmental issues, there’s also economical issues," Fritz said.

When it comes to saving green for customers, Fritz said that ticket facility fee surcharges will be lowered from $4.50 per ticket to $2 and a cup of beer will be $5 instead of $7.

Killing two birds with one stone, Fritz explained that the venue hopes fans bring in their own personal, permanent water bottles because Sandstone is providing purified filling stations, saving fans money and avoiding more plastic in landfills. Fans will also be allowed to bring in their own food.

In addition, the venue will offer fans the chance to ditch the $10 parking fee on some shows if they carpool or drive a hybrid vehicle.

Fritz said the venue has been working with alternative-fuel distributors so bands that perform at Sandstone can refuel on biodiesel at the site.

The screens and sound at the venue were reportedly given a makeover as well.

Fritz said that even though the venue is losing money on the water, parking and other changes, it’s worth it for Sandstone.

"It’s an impact; I couldn’t put a dollar value on it," Fritz said. "But you’re gaining less emissions in the air, using less fuel. I think we’re all paying a little price but as promoters we’re willing to do that, to say ‘Hey, we’re trying.’… I think if people just do anything, it’s better than nothing. Just turn your lights off; just try to recycle.

"We’re not trying to preach to people, we’re just trying to make them aware of it. … Our whole plan is to get better and better at this and just be a part of the community that’s trying to make some changes."

Upcoming shows at Sandstone include Vans Warped Tour, 311 / Snoop Dogg, Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival and Jack Johnson.

"Being fan friendly is what drives this whole thing. And then when they come here, we’re making it easier for them. They’re going to be green without even knowing it," Fritz said.