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Sunstock Solar Festival 2016

“Music is sunshine. Like sunshine, music is a powerful force that can instantly and almost chemically change your entire mood. Music gives us new energy and a stronger sense of purpose.” – Michael Franti

While solar and wind farms currently supply only 11 percent of California’s electricity demand, in just three years, solar energy jumped from under 1 percent of statewide electricity production to 6.7% in 2015, proving that demand and use of renewable energy is growing. With California taking ambitious steps to increase its stake in renewable energy for the foreseeable future (especially with the possible shut down of California’s last nuclear power plant at Diablo Canyon) and the costs of building solar and wind farms being economically competitive, it seems inevitable that California will be powered by the sun and wind sooner rather than later.

Merritt Graves and Skylar Funk of the band Trapdoor Social studied environmental sciences at Pomona College, and they have been integrating their eco-friendly, renewable energy ways with their band’s rock-and-roll lifestyle. The band has been doing solar-powered shows, traveling the country with their own solar generator which yields 3.5 kilowatts of energy. This year the two organized and introduced Sunstock Solar Festival: “a completely solar-powered, not-for-profit event [at] the Autry in LA June 18th. [It] aim[s] to combine music, lights, and art with clean power, direct action, and community.”

It surprised me that this (a music festival powered entirely by solar power) was the first of its kind in Los Angeles. For a state as progressive as California, I would have guessed that it had already been done. Upon retrospect, attending that music festival was a momentous benchmark for the concert world and the eco-conscious.

For the most part, the festival went off without a hitch. The summer sun was shining in a clear Los Angeles sky, charging up the generators that would power up the festival for the duration of the day, vendors served reasonably priced (for a festival) food and beverage options, and there were plenty of solar-powered, art installations that served as great distractions/photo ops.

Sure, there were some growing pains that any music festival in its inception would experience (lack of toilet paper in the port-o-potties, more shade options for those trying to cool off from the heat, delays in sound checks that pushed back set-times by an hour, and some legitimate security concerns [see Wavves]), but with a kick ass musical line-up that cost only $20, it was a day of music and eco-postivie messaging that was well worth the price of admission.

I am sure that all of the hiccups from this year will be cured for next year’s Sunstock Solar Festival, and I, for one, can’t wait to see how much this ecological venture evolves from this years successful outing.

100% of profits generated by the festival went towards charity solar projects. The festival’s partner, GRID Alternatives, will use the money to install new rooftop solar power for Kids Cancer Connection, which will eliminate their electricity bills and empower them to give the best possible care to their patients, indefinitely. A truly worthy cause.

Follow Sunstock Solar Festival on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.



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