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X Tent Launched at EMU Music Festival

Credits: ©2011 Neenan Company

The X Tent is made from wood salvaged from trees killed by pine beetles - a locally sourced and milled product. It unfolds into a cross-like structure of wooden beams, with sustainable bamboo poles connecting the wood frames together. The canopy is reclaimed military surplus MC-4 parachutes, made of double-layered fabric that blocks radiant heat, wind and rain, while allowing natural daylighting. Jute rope tightens the structure, tied from end to end to stiffen the tents in the wind. Ben Shepard, a 3D animator with Neenan Company, designed the tent after Neenan invited its employees to enter a contest to create a portable, biodegradable, recyclable or sustainably produced festival tent for the launch of the first Eco Music (EMU) festival in Snowmass, Colorado. The festival used the X Tent, along with tree plantings and biodegradable plastic-ware for food and beverages, to offset the 1.2 million pounds of carbon dioxide produced during the event. The X Tent uses only sustainably sourced materials in construction and is expandable and easy to deploy with few people and minimal tools, and can be carried by one person.


X Tent Frames

The X Tent is expandable, so that individual components can be linked to create larger structures, allowing for specific configurations for larger vendors, performers, speakers, or other uses. Designed by "archistruction" firm Neenan Company of Fort Collins, Colorado. ©2011 Yann Ropars

The “X” Tent Story
The Neenan Company, an integrated architecture and construction firm (“archistruction”) based in Fort Collins, Colorado, partnered with EMU, an eco-conscious music festival held in Snowmass, Colorado, to re-invent the traditional music festival tent. Neenan employees were invited to participate in a contest to create the world’s first sustainable festival tent. The goal of the contest was to create a portable structure that could be installed on a city street as easily as it could at the top of a mountain. Materials for the tent were required to be biodegradable, recyclable, or have a sustainable end-of-life plan, so that tent components would not end up in a landfill. In addition, the design required easy assembly that could be put together by a few people with minimal or no tools. The top three design submissions were determined by EMU organizers, and the winning design was revealed through an online Facebook vote. The winning designer was Neenan 3D Animator, Ben Shepard, with his X Tent design.

About the X Tent
The inspirations for the X Tent design were mobility, sustainability, and expandability. The X Tent unfolds into a cross-like structure of wooden beams for vertical support. The cantilevered beams are connected by 10-foot poles that hold the canopy. Construction of each tent requires two people and approximately 10 minutes, but the tent can be transported over most surfaces with only one person.

The X tent uses only sustainably-sourced materials for its construction:

• Wooden beams: Salvaged pine beetle kill wood that was locally sourced and milled.

• Support poles: Bamboo poles connect the wood frames together.

• Canopy: Made of reclaimed military surplus MC-4 parachutes, which slip into the poles and stretch across the wooden beams. The parachute fabric is double-layered, allowing for natural light to enter the tent while blocking radiant heat from intense Colorado sun, and protecting tent occupants from the wind and rain.

The X Tent is expandable, so that individual components can be linked to create larger structures. This allows for specific configurations for larger vendors, performers, speakers, or other uses. The tent is designed to provide shelter for a 10’ x 10’ space, but can be easily expand to a much larger structure by connecting multiple tents.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle at EMU
EMU’s eco-music festival, held from June 30 to July 3rd, 2011 in Snowmass Village, Colorado, was designed to be as environmentally friendly as possible. EMU, the festival organizer, collaborated with Trees, Water and People to support their mission for protection, conservation and management of natural resources. For each ticket purchased, EMU donated one dollar toward planting a tree. The EMU team also partnered with Ciao Water to supply ecofriendly, sustainably-made, renewable, recyclable and reusable water bottles to concert goers; the bottles are designed to decompose after 30 days in a compost pile. All plates and utensils used at the festival were compostable, and the green menu featured local produce. A three-kilometer vertical race raised money for providing eco-programming to students in local schools. The new eco-friendly festival X Tents, designed and built using sustainable and recycled materials by Neenan, billowed in the breezes, while their elegant, simple structures shielded from the intense mountain sun at 8000 feet elevation.


Eco Music Festival (EMU) (Colorado, USA)

Neenan Archistruction (Colorado, USA)