Fusion Festival was an amazing experience. It’s a huge 60,000 person festival with almost no commercial advertising and almost no security. There’s tons of alcohol and drug use, and yet I saw no trouble of any sort, in terms of friction between people, out of control drunks or violent tendencies. It was the most peaceful festival experience I could imagine, in spite of there being no rules per se. Of course, people just tossed their bottles and trash all over the place, but it was mostly cleaned up early the next day by the many volunteers who trade work shifts for entry. We stayed in the backstage area with many of the crew who work on the many music, theater, and cinema (kino) stages and art projects.
However, I left Fusion yesterday relieved be free from the incessant pounding of 60kW sound systems. I’m finding solace in the meadows, fields, and woods of rural Germany. The German and European rural areas are so much more lush and beautiful than I’d imagined. Apparently this is unique to this area, with its many small lakes (sees) and woods. I am really enjoying the ride along the Berlin – Copenhagen national bike route.
This morning I left Louis and Bobba sleeping at the lake where we swam, chatted around a fire, and slept last night. I’m enjoying the option of riding solo or with a group. The sense of freedom is freeing … 😉
As you may know, I am about to embark on one of the most exciting and transformational adventures of my life—and I really need your help! I will be biking about 5000 miles through Europe with the Pleasant Revolution, a bicycle music tour that demonstrates how bands can tour independently, without cars, trucks, or vans by carrying our own equipment and putting on amazing musical shows with 100% bicycle-generated electricity. We depart on a ship from New York City on May 21st and will be overseas through October, 2010.
We are united behind the goal of spreading environmental awareness while creating new, diverse, and exciting musical experiences. In collaboration with local bicycle advocates and musicians in each city we visit, we create free Bicycle Music Festivals using a 1200W pedal-powered PA system we carry on our cargo bicycles. We prop up the rear wheels of our bikes, engage generators, and audience members join us on stage pedaling the bicycles to generate all the electricity for the sound system, bringing new meaning to the term “audience participation!”
More than a bike tour or music festival, this is a new movement for an evolving culture of transportation cycling, renewable power, and greener music/community events. We aim to lighten up the view of a sustainable lifestyle—from one of sacrifice and limitation to one of abundant health, happiness, and a deeper sense of connectedness; thus it is the Pleasant Revolution. The technology behind our tour, much of which we ourselves developed, is open source. We share it to spark the advent of more pedal powered community events and to teach individuals how to transform their lives by using a bicycle for power and transportation. In the past year, taking our BMF roadshow to just five towns, we inspired three groups to invest hundreds of volunteer hours and thousands of dollars to build their own bike music infrastructure and spread bike culture (check out Eugene, Oregon, for example). This summer, we’ll put on the show at least ten times with dozens of other organizations and more than a hundred other bands.
Our coalition of 16 musicians, cyclists and wacko thinkers will include the original bicycle touring band, the Ginger Ninjas. After tours of California, Guatemala, B.C., Oregon, Washington, the East Coast, and Mexico, cycling nearly 7000 miles and creating over 150 events, we have decided to expand the vision of a band on bikes playing shows to a group of bands on bikes putting on festivals. Four other acts will join the Ginger Ninjas this summer.
While everyone will be multi-tasking to make our tour work, my primary role is the pedal power system engineer. I design and repair the system that converts our audience’s “burrito power” into electricity to power our sound system’s amplification. I also play guitar and sing backup vocals for the Ginger Ninjas.
Though we have in-kind gear sponsors, have booked many paying shows, and work double time for our own personal funds, the amounts secured don’t yet cover all of our costs. I have been humbled by the scale of the journey ahead, and realize that I need the support of my community. If you are inspired by this project and want to be a part, you can help me grow and us deliver our message by donating to our project. I personally need to raise $4,000 more to cover my base costs for getting a loading hauling bike and all my camping and riding gear; getting across the Atlantic and back; and staying fed and healthy on the road. I’ll be living on less than $30/day.
$10 will feed me a good meal
$30 supports me for a day
$200 supports me for a week
$1000 supports me for a month
We gratefully accept donations to our individual personal funds or the group’s overall fund. Here are five easy ways.
The Pleasant Revolution is a project of International Bicycle Fund, a 501c3 non-profit, and all donations are tax-deductible (EIN: 91-1286223)
Make a tax-deductible donation online through a secure website using credit card or paypal:
I cannot thank you enough, but I will try….Thank you, thank you, thank you… not just for your donation, but for being an integral part of such a supportive and inspirational community, and for supporting me in this quest!
an exploration of the Universe from the perspective of Thomas Spellman