John and Mary McGinnis drove from Asheville to Greensboro on Saturday to pick up trash in hopes of rehabilitating the image of Bassnectar fans. News reports claimed more than 200 fans overdosed at a concert they attended at the Greensboro Coliseum on New Year’s Eve. The couple, along with a few others, picked up trash for two and a half hours on Gate City Boulevard. John responded to questions via phone call about the event on his drive home.
What made you guys decide to organize this event?
It mostly was in reaction to the bad press. [Bassnectar] is something that my wife and met through. We’ve traveled around to quite a lot of places. This was kind of our response. The stuff that didn’t get covered in the press was the 2,500 pounds of food that was donated through Conscious Alliance to a local church, $2,500 that was raised and donated and 40 bags of coats and blankets that were donated.
The news report said that a gentleman died in his hotel room and that they had found evidence that he was at the concert. It just lumped everyone together.
[These events] are kind of a time to meet up with our friends that we only get to see a specific number of times per year. Every event has something attached to it. We try to donate water or food. We try to set out to be a nice community that tries to do good in the places that we go to. We just set out to pick up as much trash as we could. As far as we know, only three people were from Greensboro. Most people were from at least an hour away. And most of us wore our Bassnectar gear.
How long have you been a part of the Bassnectar community?
Well, [my wife and I] met in 2013 when we bumped into each other in the crowd. A few years later, we met up again and started dating and then we got married and now we have a 2-year-old kid. We’ve been to 33 concerts apiece. About 18 of those have been together. This community means a lot to us. It’s not about getting messed up.
What was the turnout like and where did you guys go?
Well, this was our rain date so it wasn’t as big as we hoped for. There was only seven of us, but I think it’s quality over quantity.
We met up on Gate City Boulevard where the old Toys R Us used to be and cleaned up about a half-a-mile stretch there. And our plan is, if the event is back again for New Year’s, to clean up that end of Gate City Boulevard near the coliseum too.
What has the response been so far?
A lot of the community is tight knit. It’s getting a lot of appreciation. A lot of people who don’t live nearby are happy that we did it. Local government was very responsive too about permits and stuff and we got a really nice response. A lot of people honked at us too.
Do you feel like you accomplished your goal?
Hopefully. Time will only tell. We ended up with about 10 to 12 bags of trash just in that area. I feel accomplished in that fact. It doesn’t necessarily matter that every person sees it and thinks it’s great. I feel good.