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Thinking for a cooler world

Klaus Esterluß | Reporter's Log

Music from Muscle Power

Björn Hansen from Morgenwelt and his team rode 500 Kilometrs from Hamburg to the festival site on push bikes. Here he is powering his own guitar by pedalling.

Today we had a look at a bicycle disco for you. Find out how two people on bikes can power a stage for music bands here…

Climate killer music

Last night we listened to the bands of the Melt! Festival on the massive main stage. After having filmed ideas to reduce CO2 emissions at the festival all day long, we couldn’t help but notice that the main stage’s CO2-footprint is enormous: The light-shows and the sound system boosting our ears must consume a lot of energy.

The mobile bicycle disco we looked at today surely is a more climate friendly way of making music. Set on a small side stage at the festival’s camping ground, it features two specially transformed push bikes, connected to a small battery. All the energy for the bands’ instruments is provided by two brave people  pushing  the pedals very hard. Of course there is no light show and the sound system is much smaller than on the main stage.

The audience has to work out hard

„Ok, who has energy at the moment? Who can get on the bike now?“ asks initiator Björn Hansen from Morgenwelt. One of the bikers is exhausted and needs to be replaced. „Come on guys, you do need to make a bit of an effort.“ he begs the audience again.

Björn knows what he is talking about – he and his team just came 500 Kilometers by bike all the way from Hamburg. Every night after reaching their daily destinations, they were holding a bike disco. „Sometimes we had no audience but many journalists reporting on us“ Björn tells us with a grin. „But at the last stop of the tour, in Magdeburg, we had 300 visitors celebrating and pedalling with us.”

Black out prevented

One girl, sitting in the first row, now gets up shyly and climbs on stage. As soon as she starts pedalling the indicator in the tube in front of her reaches the green mark again. The plastic tube is an essential gadget. When the tin inside it is going down towards the orange area, this is a warning that the energy is not quite enough. If it stays like this, the music stops within 10 seconds.

As it is a hot day and the audience is quite reluctant to move their limbs, litte black outs already disrupted the concert a few times. No one seems to care too much though when the music actually stops. The musicians are used to it and the audience laughs heartily rather than reacting annoyed.

Now the audience applaudes the new biker warmly and the band is grateful that they can keep playing their music without another black out. The encouragement  seems to fuel the newcomer to push even harder.

Follow our Online-report on the Melt! festival’s initiative to become more climate friendly on our Twitter and Facebook accounts.



July 16, 2011