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Attendees of a Rhode Island music festival pedaled full speed into the next chapter of music festival-based environmental sustainability.

Illiterate Light, an indie duo from Virginia, partnered with Rock The Bike to deliver their vision for a bike-powered stage at the 2022 Newport Folk Festival. The "Bike Stage" marked the first time the technology was implemented in a music festival setting, according to the band's frontman, Jeff Gorman.

The Associated Press reports attendees each took five-minute turns pedaling on the bikes, providing power to the stage from the frontlines. The energy generated from the bikes was supplemental to the energy gained from the stage's added use of solar panels.

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Gorman first began pondering the idea after seeing the sheer amount of attendees who rode to the Rhode Island festival when they last performed there in 2019. He sees the initiative as valuable in shifting the perception around energy use and encouraging outside-the-box thinking.

"It’s a way for them to just do something different and for us to start the conversation around energy use and just thinking differently and trying out new ways of creating electricity," Gorman said.

Established in 1959, visitors to the Newport Folk Festival have consistently kept sustainability top of mind. One way their desire for a clean energy future manifests is in the continued tradition of biking to the festival, where an estimated 1,300 of 10,000 attendees traveled via bike this year.


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