“They cleared out 8 tons of garbage”
by Adrienne Stephens
After twenty-four years of bringing punk and alternative bands plus thousands of enthusiastic music fans to the Ventura County Fairgrounds, the Warped Tour wrapped up its final stop in Ventura by undertaking a huge community service project working in collaboration with the Ventura Land Trust, the California State Parks and the City of Ventura in restoration efforts at the Ventura River estuary.
On Monday, June 25, the day after their final Ventura County concert, more than 250 musicians, roadies, vendors and community partners joined staff and volunteers from Ventura Land Trust and the City of Ventura to clear trash and invasive plants from the Ventura River estuary.
Matt LaVere, Deputy Mayor, helped to put the plan in place. “When I first met Kevin Lyman, founder of the Warped Tour, we were working together to produce last February’s Thomas Fire Benefit Concert,” said LaVere. “He told me that Ventura has always held a special place in his heart and very generously offered the services of the Warped Tour bands and crew members to help us clean up the beach and Ventura River bottom.”
Giving back to the communities and charities along the tour has been central to the Warped Tour’s mission since the very beginning. Twenty-five cents of every ticket sold goes to charity, nonprofits line the festival grounds, and in select cities, Warped Tour employees gather together to provide community service manpower. This year’s Ventura River restoration project, the 12th “Give Back Day” in the festival’s history, was a way for the Warped Tour to lend a helping hand after the Thomas Fire.
“It’s amazing what a difference the Warped Tour crew made for the environment in just one morning,” said Kate Furlong, Ventura Land Trust Stewardship Manager. “They cleared out 8 tons of garbage that would have otherwise ended up in the Ventura River and eventually in the Pacific Ocean.”
Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman helped kickoff the festivities by thanking his volunteers, reminding them that the hills behind Ventura had been black just six months ago and encouraging them to “pay it forward” to the city by visiting the pier, local restaurants and shopping in the downtown that “even includes a record store.” The small army of volunteers donned gloves and shovels and traversed the beach to Emma Wood State Park where they proceeded to collect and haul out hundreds of bags filled with trash. In a second location, they cleared invasive bamboo-like Arundo donax plants that invade wetlands, degrade wildlife habitat and increase fire risk.