Gallery: Greenest Event Tent in the World Debuts at EMU Music Festival

Stack them side by side and you get a excellent place to interact with vendors.

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.


+ Neenan Company


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  1. Andrew Michler July 14, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    @POS We saw the tents fist hand and talked extensively to the to the designer/builder. While there are some more measures to make it bullet proof (like support for getting rain off in the middle) it looked pretty solid. I’ve been building for 17 years so have seen design fails plenty of times.
    I must admit the holes for the bamboo in the beams look like a snap waiting to happen.

  2. POS July 12, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    I saw this design and know that it would fail miserably under even moderately bad weather. If it was a true storm it would be a mess.

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