June 1st marks the end of Bike Month, a national campaign that aims to get people out of cars and onto bike seats. To celebrate the greatest invention since the wheel, a group of Chicoans known as the Butte Environmental Council have joined together for the past five years to throw a downright awesome bike party.
Bringing together local musicians and bike enthusiasts, the non-profit Chico Bicycle Music Festival (CBMF) showcases feats of engineering with a day-long concert/bike ride/dance party all rolled into one. The entire amplification system is pedal-powered, meaning anyone and everyone is encouraged to help keep the music playing by pitching in and pedaling.
According to the CBMF website, the pedal-powered amplification works like this: Four trainers are welded to a frame and hold four back tires of bicycles to the bar. The spinning of the wheels spins the bar. The bar is connected with a pulley to a 550-watt motor, wired to a charge controller which is wired to a deep-cycle car battery hooked up to a Pure Sine Wave 1500-watt PowerBrite inverter.
By powering the amplification system with bike-generated power, the festival organizers hope to get people thinking about energy in a different way.
The festival started in 2007 in San Francisco, and according to the CBMF website it has doubled in size every year since. There are now BMFs up and down the left coast in Portland, Eugene, Seattle and Vancouver. The CBMF is free and all ages are welcome. That’s right, bring your kids and your grandma; it’s a family event.
The CBMF only has two official stops this year, Camellia Way Park and the old GRUB farm on Macintosh. This year the festival will be broadcasting the performances via an FM transmitter, so be sure to dust off that old boombox and strap it to your handlebars—that way you won’t miss a beat.
The festival wheels start turning on Camellia Way (Vallombrosa and Mangrove) at high noon. Kyle Williams, Evin Wolverton, and Pat Hull will serenade us. The festival will then make its way through Bidwell Park to Cedar Grove while pedaling to the sweet tunes of Mandalyn May, one of the LiveOnBike performers. Thomas Fogg will take the microphone and the festival will make its way to GRUB. By pedaling its way to GRUB, the Butte Environmental Council hopes to show people how fun and easy riding a bike can be. The ride is scheduled to arrive around 5pm at GRUB, where the concert and party will continue until dark. Chikoko and the Popcycle Kids, MaMuse, Paper Dolls, Wolf Thump, Origin Tribal Belly Dance, and The Loyd Family Players are all scheduled to perform.
Music isn’t the only entertainment CBMF promises. There will also be soapmaking, safety games, raffles, seedball making, native seed planting, bike-blended smoothies brought to you by the Co-Op, a photo booth, and tarot readings by Koz McKev. In need of a tune-up? Old Spokes Home at GRUB will be offering free tune-ups (donations gladly accepted). Blush Catering will be on hand selling local, organic dishes. New Belgium Brewery will be selling four of their craft brews to help wash down those yummy Blush dishes.
Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for the Golden Geese. These golden-frocked volunteers will be passing baskets around to help raise money for the festival musicians. Donations are encouraged, but not required. CMBF reminds attendees to space their donations out—that way every musician or band gets a little monetary lovin’.
Every festival needs help, and this one is no different. If you’re interested in volunteering or want more information on the festival, check out their website: http://cbmf.wordpress.com