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San Francisco’s Bicycle Music Festival to use Rock the Bike’s pioneering Human Powered P/A system

Posted by fossilfool
08/11/2007 – 10:30

The Bicycle Music Festival is distinct from every other summer festival in that its success rides completely on the sweat and leg-power of the community. With its trademark human-powered P/A system and Critical Mass-style bicycle party caravans between festival venues, the Bicycle Music Festival is the only festival where every song is truly an audience participation song!

The Bicycle Music Festival isn’t only the greenest music festival ever conceived, with zero use of cars and trucks to transport musicians and PA equipment, it also breaks exciting new ground in festival dynamics.

At the Bicycle Music Festival, the audience rides their bicycles to the next venue alongside both the stage-crew and the bands. With everyone arriving together the stage-crew works quickly to setup the human powered P/A equipment. As the bands get ready, enthusiastic festival-goers line up to pedal the P/A system, offering to pedal for a song or more. To help folks know how hard to pedal, simple displays of voltage and power sit on the handlebars. If a band is delivering an uninspired performance, a pedaling festival-goer can simply decide to stop pedal-powering the music, and if no one is feeling the music enough to replace them, the volume level will drop until the band is singing a cappella. With the power of audience veto built in to the festival, it quite literally puts all the power in the hands (and feet) of the audience: democracy at its healthiest you might say.

With this in mind the festival line-up includes the best bands and musicians from the bicycle-music culture, artists who are sure to keep festival-goers not only pedaling the P/A, but bouncing in their saddles.

With the nimblest festival infrastructure ever to roll, the bands slated to perform at the Bicycle Music Festival will play in one of several different spots selected throughout the city. After each performance, the audience, bands, and crew will all pick up, pack up, and roll out to the next location. The Caravan to the next stop on the festival schedule will be an outrageous mobile party, with “soul-cycles” (bicycles with mobile audio systems) rocking the block as it cruises by – promoting the next stop on the festival schedule to the public in mid-roll.

The Bicycle Music Festival and its pedal-powered PA system are not only wonderful ways for the community to quite literally empower itself, but also a wonderful way to remind ourselves as we generate electricity with one another, shoulder to shoulder, where power is ultimately rooted.