get off the grid

By Mary Kate Sheppard, Staff Writer —

There are some things that people commonly associate with festivals such as music, art, food and community, but for the Get Off the Grid Fest, sustainability is another key requirement. 

This year, on April 18, GOTG held a “snapshot” festival. This one-day event was created as a preview for the full three-day festival, which is set for August 20–22 in Camp Jordan, Chattanooga.  

GOTG is committed to creating an environment of sustainability and self-sufficiency. They are promoted as “a rare mix of homesteaders, carbon reducers, artists, solar technicians, and the solar curious” who “come together for a live exposition of energy independence, experiencing what is possible through renewable energy for a sustainable future.”

This local festival offers the Chattanooga community a wide variety of entertainment and educational opportunities. 

The festivals — both the one that occurred in April and the one in August — are centered around environmentally friendly concepts. There’s music, demonstrations, hands-on activities, and, all around, a community of people who care for the environment.

Harmony Brooke is a producer for the festival.  

“80% of the festival is centered around education,” Brooke said. “We have so many things for people to do that it’s a very unique offering.” 

Some of the things attendees might encounter include a Wellness Nest, a sustainability fair and a Seed Swap, all of which will be complemented by music. 

“We have tons of demonstrations that include everything like renewable energy, CBD, composting and solar energy,” Brooke said. “There are many spokes of the wheel that are all equally important.” 

At the April event, one of the presentations was an open discussion on the things that community members want to see at the big festival in August. 

“This was a feeding event to see what people want at the larger festival,” Brooke said. 

The end goal for GOTG is not only to educate and consult new communities, but franchise eco-friendliness throughout the south. 

One of the main ideas stressed during the festival is that of sustainability. 

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga student Gillian Hall attended the fair.  

“Sustainability, to me, means decreasing my ecological footprint and being more environmentally healthy,” Hall said.

She learned about the event through a mutual friend, and said she ultimately chose to attend because she wanted to learn about more sustainable and earth-friendly living. 

“The music helped sway my decision,” Hall said. “But I’m amazed by the community that is built here.” 

One of the ways the festival upholds the ideal of sustainability is its commitment to remaining a leave-no-trace event. The venue is powered completely by solar panels, and the music, speakers and microphones all run on renewable energy. 

GOTG was founded in 2017 by Bill Flemming with the idea to promote sustainable living under the guise of a music festival. In previous years, the festival traveled from North Carolina to Georgia, but this year, Flemming has his sights set on Chattanooga. 

Unlike the event in April, the full festival is a three day event with over 30 bands and 80 presentations. 

“Chattanooga is such a growing and bustling city,” Brooke said.“There are so many active people trying to better their community.” 

In addition to teaching sustainability, Get Off the Grid Fest is also a call to action for people who want to be more environmentally friendly. It’s a call for vendors, volunteers, performers and businesses alike to move towards a greener future. 

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