A feat of natural and sustainable energies
by Adam Siddhartha Sealey
On the weekend of July 22-24, at the foot of the mountain just outside of Boston Bar, BC, on the traditional lands of the Nahatlatch peoples, a group of about 250 people came together for Towards Eden, a music festival that was, according to festival visionaries and organizers Ash Bigdeli and Erin Sage Sharp, the first time a full-power modern music stage has been 100 percent powered by Earth energies – solar, wind and pedal power. It was a remarkable accomplishment and the genesis of how future music festivals and off-the-grid conscious communities can flourish without consuming grid energy or burning fossil fuels.
In the July issue of Common Ground, the cover story by Geoff Olson featured Bolivia and Ecuador’s new Law of Mother Earth, an initiative that represents visionary thinking from the leaders of those two countries and heralds a critical leap in how we, as societies, place value on and respect our source of life and sustenance – our Mother Earth – and how we make collective decisions as to how we will meet our basic needs of food, shelter, warmth, love and community.
The Towards Eden festival was generously sponsored by Common Ground magazine and its visionary publisher Joseph Roberts who organized the Walk for Peace in 1982 and worked tirelessly to keep nuclear power out of our region, an act for which we are truly grateful, especially today.
The Festival brought together incredible local musicians and Djs who played music that supported the ideals of the festival, namely, finding a new way to live in harmony with nature where we honour our own needs and the needs of the Earth at the same time. Performers included Buckman Coe whose brand new album “By the Mountain’s Feet” features the hit song The Apocalypse Is Not Guaranteed, challenging us to live in harmony with our lands and oceans.
“I wrote this song a month after the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill. I wanted to create a song of hope in the face of one of the worst environmental disasters we’ve ever seen. I do have very real fears for life on this planet but we can make a choice to reside in hope and live in inspired action,” Buckman notes.
The festival saw hundreds of people come together to create a living template of sustainable community, artistic expression, fun and loving support. The main music stage was powered by a bank of 16 deep cycle batteries, constantly recharging through a combination of solar energy, small wind turbines and six bicycles man-powered by community members more than willing to pedal hard and long with a smile on their face.
Music system designer Ash Bigdeli, a passionate man whose first child was born this year, designed the system so that, rather than sucking more juice from the batteries when the need for bass increased, the bass would fall off such that we would all hear it and be compelled to jump on the bikes and transform our energy from the air, sunshine, love and great food into music, into soul-bouncing, deep bass that our friends could enjoy. It was the essence of true community and a real “village” was created.
The weekend also included dozens of workshops on such themes as bee keeping, permaculture, local plant identification and foraging, raw and vegan food classes, yoga, contact dancing, communicating with nature, drumming, massage, healing, medicinal body painting and many more.
Imagine if all future festivals were powered by solar, wind and pedal-power. I hope we can all continue to walk confidently Towards Eden, together. This is only the beginning. Look for the Towards Eden fundraiser coming soon to build on our success and grow this truly sustainable movement of community and music.