The Event Coordinator Internship can be tough but is so rewarding!
It started at the Platbos Reforest Fest
In my third year, I studied abroad at the University of Cape Town. I also worked as a tour operator, who did some work with Greenpop. So I ended up going to Platbos Reforest Fest with a few friends from work. I had such a great time and found that Greenpop was such a cool organization! I had also fallen in love with South Africa. Once I had graduated, I wanted to find an avenue to come back, even if only for a little while. It has been more than amazing being here in South Africa and Cape Town through trees and greening!
Greenpop runs many events and during these events always promotes a greener lifestyle in many ways–spreading the green word. The most recent event that I have worked with them is Superbalist is Rocking the Daisies which claims the title “South Africa’s Greenest Festival.” Greenpop runs and facilitates everything for the Green Village–the greenest section of the festival and home of the Hemp Stage, that has grown exponentially each year.
Event coordination is working behind the scenes
Rocking the Daisies was tough work but in the most rewarding way. We arrived five days prior to the opening of the festival on essentially an open space–the building began when we arrived on site. Our team of ten+ (some people kind of came and went) essentially built everything from the ground up. Some people were hand-making amazing plant decorations for hours on end, others constructing a massive artwork, our greenest rendition of a paletted Fry’s Burger Bar. And we had, of course, all of the aesthetic bits and pieces that come with running a festival: lights to hang, cables to run, bamboo mats and chitenge cloth to hang, etc.
Another thing that I and a few other interns had to take on was actually cooking for the whole crew. Food is obviously pretty central for events production, but I had never had the experience of cooking vegan (and mostly gluten-free as there were some allergies as well) for so many people at a time. Once the festival began, my co-intern Sadie and I were backstage managers for the Hemp Stage. This part was also hard work, but very gratifying. We essentially were there to collect carbon footprint data, keep artists happy, and make sure that everything Green Village was running smoothly and successfully.
After an amazing week, it only took us about 4.5 hours to break down the whole village–pieces we will upcycle and reuse again and again for Greenpop events. We went home happy and exhausted after a week of work that went from sunrise to sunset–but I wouldn’t take back my experience behind the scenes for anything, either.
Take a break
I did take in a lot of RTD as a festival, but usually in small doses. After my shift, I would often go to find friends or check out some stages. I would also find myself taking an afternoon nap – I know I wasn’t the only one! My favorite moment at Daisies was on day two of pre-production. We had a morning of hard work and running around on an unbearably hot day. Together with some interns, I took a break in the afternoon to swim in the dam. It was absolutely amazing – so beautiful and without all the loudness of the festival.
There were some very overwhelming moments as this is not something that I’ve ever done before. Cooking for upwards of 20 people by the end was a pretty intense experience, but to be honest, being there with the other interns and staff really helped me through it. At the end of the day, there was always someone to jump in and help when you were scrambling.
When you ever go to this festival yourself you absolutely must bring a reusable water bottle! RTD is really trying to reduce waste to a minimum, but the sales and purchase of bottled water really put a damper on this–it takes three liters of water to produce one liter of a bottle of water. Just bring your own bottle and you can save money AND be a bit greener.
My event coordinator internship is, but my time in Cape Town is not finished
It is kind of funny to think of what I will miss when I still feel like I have so much time here. I very much appreciate working with a group of people that want to make a difference just because they care. It’s lovely to see the amount of thoughtfulness and upcycling that goes on in the office, and people that want to make a positive difference even when it’s an inconvenience. My time with Cape Town or South Africa is not really finished I think, to be honest.
One of the things I have particularly appreciated on this particular trip, however, is the biodiversity on Table Mountain. Fynbos is such a cool thing! It looks like shrubbery and small little scrubs of plants, but when you get close, you see the most beautiful flowers and what looks like ocean-dwelling organisms. It reminds me of our environment, and how there is beauty in every aspect.
And check out this fun video when Anne joined one of the Greenpop nursery days!