Summer 2009 Pleasant Revolution BMF Tour

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The mission of the Bicycle Music Festival tour is to promote sustainable culture in general and bicycle culture in particular, by physically engaging and immersing communities in the magic of bike culture, and cultivating and nurturing networks of local sustainable musicians, through our staging of free, community participatory, bicycle-based music events.

The Pleasant Revolution Bicycle Music Festival Tour follows in the tire tracks of the San Francisco BMF—”the largest 100% bicycle-powered music festival in the world”—and the Ginger Ninjas’ globe trotting bike music shenanigans. San Francisco’s free, all-day (and late into the night) event takes place annually on the Saturday closest to the summer solstice.

A Bicycle Music Festival typically features: a 1–2000 watt pedal-powered PA system, as many as 15 bands, up to 7 festival stops, outrageous Critical Mass-style bicycle party caravans between festival stops, and zero use of cars or trucks.

With its completely bike-haulable stage, the event is packed up and deployed numerous times: staged sequentially at different public parks and also on a moving “Live On Bike” stage which rolls down city streets.

The festival is run by a team of over 20 volunteers and is supported financially both by donations from the public (mostly gathered at the event), and through partnerships with hip companies.

The SF festival began in 2007, and has since doubled in size each year. Like Critical Mass (another SF-birthed bike spectacle) the concept has begun to be emulated around the world. We encourage you to start one in your city!

The first BMF – 2007

The only festival in the world literally hauling its own weight, the BMF possesses 4 distinctive qualities:

1) The human-powered P/A system, which besides being the most fun and green way to amplify a live concert, also transforms every song into an audience participation song, and radically democratizes the concert-goer experience (the power to amplify the people onstage rests entirely in the will of the people offstage; democracy at its healthiest you might say!).

2) Bicycle-mobility of the entire festival: the entire audience/band/stage/crew completely packs-up everything they bring (stage and musical equipment too) onto bicycles, and travels as a large group to the next festival stop. There are no sag-wagons or equipment trucks hauling the amplifiers and other heavy gear – everything is hauled by bicycle.

3) Pilgrimage-style sequential venue schedule: Unlike other festivals where bands are scheduled to play overlapping slots on stages that are set-up just around the corner from one another (often resulting in overlapping sound), the Bicycle Music Festival unfolds like a delightful treasure hunt: in a linear and adventurous journey-form, with only one meaningful development in the plot unveiled at a time, and stages located a full bike-ride away from each other.

4) Live On Bike mobile stage: Artists and bands perform while rolling down the city streets mounted on the backs of cargo bikes and bike trailers outfitted with microphones and amplifiers. The sound is wirelessly routed to “soulcycle” party bikes interspersed throughout the crowd, surrounding the crowd with sound.

The Bicycle Music Festival and its pedal-powered PA system are not only wonderful ways for the community to quite literally empower itself, but also a wonderful way to remind ourselves as we generate electricity with one another, shoulder to shoulder, where power is ultimately rooted.

Hugantic Shout Out!

San Franciscans Gabe Dominguez and Paul Freedman are perhaps the bike culture innovators to whom the Ginger Ninjas owe the juciest props. Together they were instrumental in creating the mobile human powered sound system that Gabe used on his first bicycle tour (of Utah) and which informed the Ninjas touring system; and they created the first bicycle music festival (that we know of), an evolving piece of art that continues to inspire our work. Much of this page was lifted from their site.

5 comments to “bicycle music festivals”

  1. [...] More info at: [...]

  2. [...] Ginger Ninjas – Monday, August 31st Look for the Ginger Ninjas Pedaling Revolution Bicycle Music Tour on Monday evening. We’re talking xtracycle-powered music! They’ll start at the State Fair about 6pm and then move downtown for some semi-secret shows. (Hints: Venti’s, Coffee House Cafe, The Space, the f-stop, and possibly Riverfront Park.) They played Sunday Parkways in Portland a couple of weeks ago. [...]

  3. [...] year’s festival was put on by the Ginger Ninjas from San Francisco using their equipment. The idea of that tour was to inspire each city to start [...]

  4. Amazing!! Love it.

  5. Your website is seriosly hurting….so out of date! After the Film Fest here in Todos Santos last week, the town is seriously clamoring for more! The Sergio Morkin gig got a standing ovation You would return as superstar rock gods! And we will roll out the red carpet. Why do not any one of you ever respond to my emails? How can I promote you, even on a low key, boom boom style, when you do not respond?? Come on back, we would love to see you and participate…our pedals are ready!

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