Ask what the Creatively United for the Planet Festival is about and its enthusiastic founder will happily give an hour long reply, making one quickly realize, it’s best to just attend.
A parade from Centennial Square to St. Anne’s Academy, live music, DJs, dancing, a huge public meditation, environmental-themed film screenings, guest speakers, photography, various displays and a green-themed dinner are just some of the highlights at this annual festival, now in its third year, on April 25 and 26.
“This is a community celebration like no other,” says festival founder Frances Litman. “There is nothing out there like this.
“It’s about bringing together the community, to empower the community and individuals, to take better care of the earth.”
The festival starts Friday evening at St. Anne’s Academy chapel with a talk by Green Party leader Elizabeth May and best-selling author Nick Bantock. There will also be a concert and silent auction running concurrently in the auditorium. Tickets for both start at $20.
On Saturday, the free outdoor events run from noon to 6 p.m. with the talks inside the chapel and auditorium starting at $20 to attend. Some of the speakers include artist and naturist Robert Bateman, National Geographic photographer Garth Lenz and Occupy Love filmmaker Ian MacKenzie. There will also be a number of panel discussions and the festival closes with the Sumptuous Secret Garden Dinner/DinnerVert, featuring locally sourced, organic food and locally made mead for $75. The dress code is green and fun.
“If you want to meet nice people, this is the event to come to,” Litman says.
As the festival is based on celebrating the environment, attendees are discouraged from bringing anything that is not recyclable or compostable. Last year, only a couple of bags of garbage were produced from the estimated 5,000 people who attended.
“We endeavor to be an almost zero waste event,” Litman says. “We try to walk our talk as much as we can.”
Litman is a professional photographer of more than 20 years and it was her travel for work which made her more appreciative of where she comes from and concerned about the environment.
“I couldn’t donate any more money, but I can donate time to celebrate and bring awareness to where we eat, study, make our home and stay and play,” Litman says, adding she puts in 60 hours a week, on top of running her own photography business, to produce this festival. “Earth Day would come and go but shouldn’t everyday be Earth Day? I’m trying to make everyday Earth Day.”
For advance tickets and more information on the talks, click here.