In 1999, while living in a 1,000-year-old redwood tree, activist
Julia Butterfly Hill founded the non-profit Circle of Life.
Circle of Life's purpose is to empower people to recognize
their individual responsibility, to encourage them to be conscious
of their choices, and to take action.
Connect with the ‘unusual suspects’ in the San
Francisco community. Acknowledge the problems in our world
by displaying the many exciting solutions. Make the program
sustainable, ecologically as well as financially. Above all,
as Julia put it, “Redefine Cool”.
‘We the Planet’, an outdoor festival of music,
activism and consciousness. Create, produce and promote a
groundbreaking concert event while utilizing only the solutions.
Empower attendees to adopt these solutions into their daily
On April 20 2003, The Spitfire Agency produced the first annual
‘We the Planet’ festival for Circle of Life. More
than 10,000 people gathered in Golden Gate Park to see Alanis
Morissette, Cake, Bonnie Raitt, De La Soul, Tracy Chapman,
Concrete Blonde, the Coup, Flea, Andy Dick, Woody Harrelson
and many others support Circle of Life’s vision of sustainability.
In addition to booking a stellar line-up at no cost to COL,
The Spitfire Agency helped COL model the solutions in the
• Off The Grid - The entire event was powered ‘off
the grid’. The stage was powered using bio-diesel. The
medical area was powered using solar. Even our office energy
use was balanced out with wind energy certificates.
• Near-Zero Waste - The event was a near-zero-waste
event. Instead of gouging the public for corporate water bottled
in disposable containers, COL mugs were sold at a fair price,
and water was poured for free at water refill stations. Rather
than garbage cans, artistic ‘Waste Reclamation Stations’
were manned throughout the grounds to collect compostables,
and any bottles or cans brought into the event. The standard
10,000 person outdoor concert in San Francisco fills six 20
yard trash canisters. We The Planet used 1/4th of just one.
• Tree Free - The event tickets, fliers, posters, sponsorship
booklets, signage, letterhead and all other printed materials
were printed using soy based inks on paper made from hemp,
flax & waste, rather than cutting trees. All sponsors
and non-profits in attendance also used tree-free paper for
any materials at their booths.
• Organic, Veggie, Vegan - All food sold at the event
was organic, veggie & vegan, compliments of independently
owned local restaurants. Food vendors were required (and excited)
to leave their plastic cutlery at home, and use our compostable
cutlery instead (made of flour and corn).
• Community Outreach - In addition to featuring 52 local
non-profits at the festival at no cost to them, the first
2,000 tickets were offered to low income community members,
for free. The tickets were given away through service-oriented
non-profits who work with low-income persons in the greater
• Sustainable / Political Art - Throughout the event
grounds, local artist’s works were featured. The event
entrance was a 30-foot long/15 foot high stained glass-like
arch made of small colorful plastic pieces found at the dump.
A giant GMO chicken greeted attendees with it’s yellow
‘caution tape’ feathers blowing in the wind. The
stage backdrop and poster art was hand painted by a local
artist. ‘Waste Reclamation Station’s’ were
artistic masterpieces, welded together from items claimed
from torn down buildings. The water refill stations were located
in a dome tent, made entirely of CD’s that had been
thrown away. And on stage, bands performed amongst 100 oversized
sunflowers, welded from scrap metal.
• Eco Transportation - Those who rode their bikes to
the event received free secure bike valet at the entrance
to the event. Bio diesel and electric cars received free VIP
parking. And those who rode the bus, well they received good
• Responsible Sponsorship - All sponsors had to meet
our high standards of sustainability and corporate responsibility,
which included, amongst other things, environmental stewardship,
human rights and animal rights screening.
• Independent Media - Although major media was utilized
to achieve our goal of reaching the ‘unusual suspects’,
independent radio, press and television were all included
in the events pre, on-site and post event campaigns.
• Independent Agencies - In addition to The Spitfire
Agency, the press, travel, staging, transportation, medical,
ticketing, tenting, generators, security, television production,
bike valet, and fundraising were all produced by local independently
owned agencies and/or non profit organizations. Additionally,
all key WTP staff were women.
• Diversity - WTP performers and speakers reflected
the diversity of the Bay Area community. The on-stage lineup
included people of all ages, backgrounds and ethnicities.
Furthermore, COL conducted extra outreach activities with
nonprofits and church groups that serve a majority non-white
• Confirmed Results - People all over San Francisco
tell us they have adopted the simple solutions displayed at
our event into their daily lives. Whether carrying their own
cup to their local fair trade coffee shop, riding their bike
to work, or filling their car with bio-diesel, people are
adopting the principles displayed at WTP. Additionally, major
event and tour producers from all over America were invited
to come see the solutions they could adopt into their own
productions as well. For example, Perry Farrell came to see
our stage run on bio-diesel, and later incorporated bio-diesel
into the summer Lollapalooza tour.
• On Budget – The Spitfire Agency is proud to
have produced this never been done before completely sustainable
event within $500 of the budget originally presented to COL
one year in advance. Spitfire managed both outgoing expenses
and incoming revenues (each approximately $140,000), which
resulted in a break-even first-time festival, as projected.