The Eco Music Festival (or EMU for short) held at 8,000 ft in Snowmass, Colorado recently unveiled what they are calling the greenest event tent in the world. They asked Neenan Company, a design/build firm, for some ideas and after a company-wide competition, the winning design by Ben Sheppard proved to be just the combo of simplicity, functionality, and eco-friendly building materials they were looking for.
Think of the thousands of festivals taking place this year, and the sheer volume of materials consumed or discarded. EMU was looking to call attention to those numbers and make a statement that green design can make a big difference in how a festival can reduce its impact. To that end, Neenan held a competition with three finalists who could be voted for online. The winning design, called the X Tent, took first place for its combination of simplicity, portability, green materials and capacity to be configured into multiple setups.
The simplicity of the design was achieved by creating a structure that unfolds into a cross for vertical support. These hold up cantilevered beams connected by 10 foot poles which in turn hold the canopy. Take two X Tents and have them face each other and you have a sizable shelter under the intense Colorado sun. Stack them side by side and you get a excellent place to interact with vendors. The tents take two people about 10 minutes to erect and with wheels set to the base a packed tent needs only one person to cart it around.
The most impressive aspect of the design is how only sustainably sourced materials were used in its construction. The wood components are salvaged pine beetle killed trees which are locally sourced and milled. Light but strong bamboo support poles connect the two frames together. The canopy is made of reclaimed army parachutes which slip into the poles, and because it is double layered, it blocks radiant heat from the sun without keeping out all of the light. Jute rope is used to tighten the rig, tied from end to end to stiffen the tents in the wind. With a successful run under its belt the X Tent looks to make events not only more environmentally sound but also more fun and functional.