On October 11th and 12th Denver will be introduced to its first annual PalletFest. What is PalletFest, you ask? PalletFest is a truly unique festival based on the eco conscious upcycling movement, which focuses on repurposing materials for a variety of uses. The festival will showcase upcycled projects, big and small, local live music, foods, and even a fashion show featuring clothing made from upcycled materials. PalletFest is going to inspire lots of us into getting green, crafty, and will make us think twice before sending certain objects to the ever-expanding landfills. As Denver’s first green catering company, Serendipity proudly (and quickly) got behind this innovative festival as a sponsor and the man with brains behind it all, Kenny Fischer. A passionate entrepreneur and thoughtful earth-friendly practitioner, Kenny is a knowledgeable source for upstarting ideas, and of course, upcycling. (In fact, his event company is dubbed Upcycle Events.) We talked with Kenny to get the low-down on everything upcycle and how his innovative concept came to fruition.
In a nutshell, what is PalletFest?
PalletFest is the ultimate Upcycle Event. Even though were building and branding this festival utilizing thousands of wooden shipping pallets it’s really all about the limitless possibilities around upcycling. This festival will educate, and inspire others to be eco conscious in their purchasing decisions as well as creative in the reuse of what was once considered “waste” materials. And we’re showcasing this movement through art and entertainment (a language we can all appreciate.)
How did you dream-up such a unique idea?
My family and I chose to leave the city a couple years ago and seize the opportunity to become more self-sufficient by moving to a rural area where we could raise chickens and grow our own food. During that process I decided to use pallets to build a number of items I needed around our property. And one day it just hit me. I said to myself, “If I can make a wine rack out of pallets or a table, or even a house, then why not an entire festival?”
There’s a huge underground DIY movement occurring around upcycling, but I felt the best way to have the largest impact is to take it from what was once personal hobby projects and present it to the public in masses. And what better way than through an upcycle festival?
PalletFest was funded through an amazing Kickstarter campaign. Were you ever nervous you couldn’t get the funding? What tips would you give any entrepreneur working with a funding campaign?
The initial funding process did come through Kickstarter. Up until the point I launched the video almost no one (including my family) even knew I had embarked upon this endeavor. I’m an ideas guy and I’ve gotten to the point in my life that I understand ideas mean nothing if we don’t follow them with action. So the launching of our Kickstarter campaign was really our first public appearance. I’ve never felt so exposed and vulnerable but as the support started coming in I also became more motivated. Yes, I was nervous about not getting funded but was determined to find it one-way or the other. For anyone considering taking this approach I’d suggest setting an achievable financial goal. Even If you need to raise more money than what you’re initially asking, it’s the small wins that begin to add up and as momentum builds doors open.
Upcycling has really caught on in the past few years. What has been the most creative upcycled project you have seen/been a part of?
Ha, that’s easy. It’s this one! I’ve done tons of research on other events and am yet to have found another festival that has been built out of “trash.” Every one of these pallets was headed for the landfill. Where other festivals leave waste behind, we pick it up and create new festivals form it!
Creativity is truly endless around Upcycling. I’m promoting this event because it’s all about exposure of the movement. The best ideas haven’t even been thought of but someone impacted by this event soon will.
For those of us who are not crafty, or handy, do you have any easy DIY upcyle projects we could manage to make?
One of our sponsors (Woodcraft) based out of Denver holds an Upcycle class once a month. One of the easier (and very functional) items they demonstrate construction of is a pallet wine rack or tool rack. It requires very little cutting and turns out beautifully. And the vest part of these Upcycle items is that they all come with a story. Not only are we preventing items from ending up in landfills but were able to produce objects that are beautiful, fun and functional.
The best uses for a pallet/s are…
The most common reuse of pallets are for outdoor compost bins. No cutting necessary and a great way of reducing our environmental impact.
All upcycle projects can be created as simply or intricately as the designer chooses. Work with your skill set, have fun, feel good and spread the word!
Serendipity is looking forward to this fun and informative festival! See you at PalletFest 2014!