Tomorrow would have been the third all-vegan, environmental-awareness festival for my grassroots, volunteer-run, Not For Profit Green Earth Group if I was continuing to organise the event.
Green Earth Festival first took place in March 2010 in my hometown Brisbane, Australia at the beautiful Brisbane City Botanic Gardens. The accumulation of over a year of hard work creating, organising, marketing and promoting the event - not to mention starting and maintaining a NFP - resulted in the first festival being a huge success. It's amazing, inspiring and humbling to see all the time, energy, money and effort you've put into an event result in a beautiful day, oh and we had 3000-4000 people!
I met some wonderful people and made some lifelong friends. We had a great team of 50+ volunteers for whom I received amazing feedback from everyone involved with the event. This day is still the best day of my life. Here's some wonderful photos. You can also click on each of the photos within this blog to see more.
Last year's Green Earth Day took place just after three quarters of our Queensland state was declared a disaster zone due to horrific floods and cyclones. Obviously it was hard for most people and not the best time for raising money for a festival. My festival site manager, Dariusz gave me three options 2 weeks before the event:
- Cancel the event
- Change the event to later on in the year or
- Scale back and find another venue.
I didn't believe that a few months would matter at all and I knew how much time and effort people, including myself had put into the event, so I chose to scale back the event completely and introduce the "Pocket-Sized version" in March 2011. The weeks before the event were the worst days of my life. Because the precedent was set so high it was hard, but the lesson to learn was to make the best of what we had. So we did. It was still a great day, if there was nothing to compare the event to it would have been wonderful.
Here are the important lessons that I learned from the event, from my volunteers, from my family and friends and from myself:
- Just because something is my passion does not mean it will be others
- My 100% is a lot different that other people's 100%
- To not put a whole load of responsibility onto only a few people as they will BURN OUT/have a breakdown. And we did.
- People who TALK the most, DO the least
- Always trust my instincts
- I learned who my true friends are, and who I can trust and rely on completely
- I learned that people look to others who lead by example
- I learned it's about HOW you handle a situation that matters the most
- Sometimes you need to re-assess your goals and the way you action them so you can be more effective with your time and energies
- The best thing I did to move on from the festival was to shave my head! You know, emotional changes that become physical and all that.
After I shaved my head and had a break from everything, I finally decided not to put on the festival anymore. READ the Press Release. Instead, GEG is now putting on more regular, smaller events run by various people.
I am fortunate and grateful that:
- I BELIEVE more often than I doubt
- I have an extremely supportive family
- I surround myself with positive, enthusiastic and passionate people who get things done
- I get the chance to meet wonderful people all of the time who want to make a difference to help the environment, the animals and the people with whom we share this beautifully tragic world
Thank you to everyone who I've met these past few years.
Thank you to the amazing volunteers past, present and future.
Thank you to the businesses and people that supported the festival - especially the pocket-sized version
Thank you for believing in myself, my vision and Green Earth Group.
Hope to see you at one of our next events,
Never depend upon institutions or government to solve any problem. All social movements are founded by, guided by, motivated and seen through by the passion of individuals. - Margaret Mead
Originally published on the Green Earth Group website.
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