Excellent Live Music at The Bicycle Music Festival in San Francisco

Ah…my first time checking out the live music at the free Bicycle (powered) Music Festival on Saturday, June 23, 2012 did not disappoint! Actually, the experience far exceeded my expectations, but then again I really didn’t know what to expect.

What a great concept –an all day/night, all bicycle-powered musical festival. Approximately 20 bicyclists riding normal bikes were hooked up to batteries, which fueled an impressive sound system.  Later in the evening the cyclists powered the lighting system too. A notable specialty bicycle was crafted in the shape of a tree with one rider positioned above the other on a two level pedal power system. Speakers were strategically designed into its tree trunk. A group called, Rock the Bike were the main folks organizing this extravaganza.

Part I – Daytime. The 6th Annual petal power show began at 1 p.m. at Golden Gate Park. Four excellent live music acts performed (Lia Rose & Tiny Television, Major Powers & the Lo-Fi Symphony, Oona, and Rupa & the April Fishes). The petal powered sound system was surprising powerful. Okay, so there was the very occasional lapse of sound when the cyclists were not pedaling strong enough, but this was very rare…and added amusement anyway!  Large signs inscribed, “Pedal” were held high by volunteers as they, and the audience, cheered on the cyclists.

A fun-loving crowd of over 1000 people,  picnicked and danced away a beautiful sunny afternoon. After about three hours of music, the entire stage setup got packed up on bicycles…of course! Meanwhile, a nifty hand drum and martial arts ensemble entertained the crowd. Those in the audience with bicycles (which was the majority!!) loaded their individual parties back onto their bikes…and got in line for the bike PARADE! Over 500 cyclists took to the streets for an epic hour+ ride across San Francisco to the next Bicycle Festival location. All sorts of inspired bicycles and bicyclists filled the streets. Bikes were decorated with wacky fun stuff from instruments to elaborate lights…one even had a bbq grill (fired up and smoking) attached.

Part II – Nighttime. The urban night location was set up in seemingly minutes and the music banged on. Seven more groups (Rin Tin Tiger, MC Rai, Obo Martin, Shake Your Peace, The Genie, and Birds & Batteries) were slated to play in the evening.  I was there while Shake Your Peace indeed shook the enthusiast crowd, which danced around in part enjoyment, and in part to keep warm. By 9 p.m., my friend (visiting from Ohio – quite a treat for both us Ohio gals) and I had to take off as our car was all the way back across town in the Park…and we had no idea how to get back…which personally prompted my first time putting my bike on a bus in SF. All in all, a fantastic, very educational, very fun experience. I met tons of great people. Thanks for the great memories….until next year!

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