Most musicians, when they talk of going green, mean the fuel they use or the technologies they subscribe to. But singer-songwriter Ben Sollee is taking the concept to a whole new level. The pop musician and his percussionist plan to move around from one venue to the next by bicycle.
Ben says he was inspired to go this route due to a number of reasons. This is one way of passing the message on to the audience that thinking and acting locally can go a long way in helping the environment. Thus, Ben aims to do regional tours – which means the duo will be only going to venues that are within bicycling reach – playing in bicycle shops or places that have bike shops – to encourage the bicycling aspect. This may mean that communities who are off the main routes, who don’t get to have many touring bands will have the privilege of getting this band play in their neighborhood.
Ben pedals an Xtra bike with a stretched wheelbase and a heavy steel frame, with his cello from the 1930s strapped in its case below him. He also carries his luggage, food, laptop and other essentials – coming up to 60 pounds.
For Ben, bike touring also changes the crazy pressure of conventional touring – which gets into a monotonous routine of one motel room after the next, one show after the next –with no distinction or separation to help keep the experience alive in the memory. The bike touring means more bonding with the place he performs in and connecting better to the community.
So, starting August 18, Ben’s bicycle based tour begins – starting in a sushi bar/art gallery in San Diego, then on to south California, across to Maryland, Pennsylvania and finally Kentucky. Scheduled stops include the Renewable Energy and Sustainable Living Festival in Kempton, Pennsylvania, Biller’s Bikes in Havre de Grace, Maryland, the Edmund Burke School in Washington, D.C., and the Tour da Arts in Santa Monica, California. A European tour could also be in the cards – since the community there is more into the concept of biking than the US.
Ben encourages the audience to come to the show on their bikes – and the audience may be smaller and in towns and small cities that performers usually don’t go to. But the tour is green, and the music is a little sweeter for the same reason.
(Via The Daily Green)