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An Entire Music Festival Powered Solely by Bicycles? The Future of Musical Events Appears to be Green…

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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In this, the age of oil and gas exploration, it really is nice to receive some environmental good news. Headlines are consistently frought with news of oil spills, pollution warnings and the irreversable effects of our seemingly unstoppable reliance on fossil fuels. So when I heard about the San Francisco Bicycle Music Festival taking place this weekend, I thought that it was definitely worth talking about.

This year marks the 6th annual festival, where all amplification for the music is Pedal Powered, literally. The audience generates electricity for the sound system by pedaling bicycles using Pedal Powered Stage gear provided by Rock The Bike and co-founding act SHAKE YOUR PEACE!. Every material aspect of the Festival – sound equipment, instruments, gear, personnel, musicians, and fans – is transported by bicycle.

During the Festival, participants can make bike-blended smoothies and ice cream with crafty bike-mounted and bike-powered appliances. The mission of the Bicycle Music Festival is to promote sustainable culture in general and bicycle culture in particular, by physically engaging and immersing in free, participatory, bicycle-based music and arts events. True concert sound is achieved due to the Pedal Powered Line Array – which is a vertical hanging column of speakers – 1000 watt subwoofers and massive sound boards. As the world’s largest human-powered music festival, The SF Bicycle Music Festival brings together environmental stewardship and the vitality and diversity of Bay Area musicians and artists. Bicycle Music Festival is a proud Park Partner of the San Francisco Parks Alliance.

If you’re unable to attend the festival, have a watch of their amazing promotional video. It makes you feel like you’re part of the movement, whether you are a casual bike rider or a cycle junkie. The film is truly inspiring, and extremely well produced. My favorite scenes are of Rock the Bike brainchild Paul Freedman rapping on amplified pedal power while riding on the back of a bike.

I wish Paul and his crew all the best for the festival this weekend, and continued success in the future!

Carin Bondar About the Author: Carin Bondar is a biologist, writer and film-maker with a PhD in population ecology from the University of British Columbia. Find Dr. Bondar online at www.carinbondar.com, on twitter @drbondar or on her facebook page: Dr. Carin Bondar – Biologist With a Twist. Follow on Twitter @drbondar.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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