Who doesn’t love a good concert? We certainly do, but we hate the fact that live shows need massive amounts of electricity. So does Pedal Power NYC, and they have creates a solution for this very problem: swap grid-hogging generators with pedal-power! The group, which is is dedicated to ”capturing and repurposing human power” through bicycles, recently hosted New York City’s first human powered concert in Union Square. During the concert, 250 different volunteer cyclists cranked out some serious kinetic power on a fleet of 16 newly fabricated bike generators, ensuring that the show would go on.
Dubbed the “Natural Ass Sessions,” the concert was showcased at the NYC Celebrates Water Festival 2011, aimed at celebrating and promoting NYC ‘s drinking water – which is safe and clean right out of the tap. The event featured performances by Vanessa Bley, Masa (Didi Gutman of Brazilian Girls and producer Hector Castillo) and Gordon Voidwell.
Two bikes were placed on the stage, and 14 were placed on the sides of the stage. Along with the volunteers, the bikes were also being powered by both the artists as well, with Vanessa Bley and Gordon Voidwell joining in on the fun. The show’s main producer and mastermind behind the project, Ariel Agai and his assistant Chelsea Miller, had a go on the bikes, too. Local celebrities even showed up, as Josh Fox, creator of the Oscar nominated documentary on fracking, GasLand, took a turn on the bikes as well.
“The best was to hear peoples reactions,” said Agai. “It’s such a collective experience and you instantly become a participant in the show by being on the bike on stage. Every time someone would get off they had this look of ‘I just did something’.”
With temperatures in the mid ’80s, members of the crew constantly supplied and sprayed the bikers with water, opting to choose NYC’s very own tap water from park fountains rather than the bottled kind. As the crowd reveled in the sounds of the bike powered show, environmental groups also promoted environmental sustainability, renewable energy and composting initiatives. A “No to Fracking” petition was passed around, successfully gaining 1000 signatures!
Overall, the event was a huge success, with positive reactions from both the crowd and the artists. Using bikes to power music is not only an amazing idea, but a great way to showcase the potential of the human body for alternative sources of energy. No doubt, more people would also be a lot more fit if our TV’s depended on working out to power them on.