What could be better than a weekend “celebrating peace and good health” while riding bikes, camping, and listening to live music in a festival atmosphere in the Columbia River Gorge? And to top it all off, the organizers are encouraging everyone to get their by bike.
The first annual Bike Peace Music Festival is set for July 17th and 18th in Cascade Locks. 200 campsites have been reserved on Thunder Island exclusively for people who bike to the event with their own camping gear.
“This encourages festival attendees to abandon the car and ride to the festival,” says the event’s organizer Marcus Nobel, “Imagine that getting to the festival is part of the festival.”
Nobel is the son of Claes Nobel and a descendent of Alfred Nobel of Nobel Peace Prize fame. He’s president of United Earth, a non-profit partner of the United Nations Environmental Program that “recognizes and promotes environmental leadership and humanitarian excellence worldwide.” United Earth’s main program (and the beneficiary of proceeds from the Bike Peace Music Fest) is the Nobel Peace Curriculum, a set of teachings Nobel and his colleagues are looking to see taught in middle schools, high schools, and colleges.
In addition to promoting the values of his non-profit, Nobel is riding the Gorge’s bicycle tourism boom. “There’s a $21 million dollar pipeline of bicycle recreation that runs through the Gorge. This will double in a few years when the last remaining 10 miles [of the Historic Columbia River Highway] into Hood River are completed.”
As the Bike Peace Music Fest blossoms (plans for next year are already in the works), Nobel sees it as a way to export the Portland region’s bike culture to a larger audience — and do something even more profound: Show people that it’s possible to promote peace through bicycle culture and human-powered transportation.
“These days peace has a lot of Baggage. Ideology, religion, and politics can be polarizing even on an issue as unifying as peace,” says Nobel. “Science and technology will not solve the problem of war. Politics by its nature is divisive. But the bike has no ideology. And peace is a very big tent. Everyone is welcome!”
Weekend passes for this event are $75 per person and include two nights of camping and tickets to all the concerts (slated to perform so far are Casey Neill and the Norway Rats, Franco Paletta & The Stingers, Johanna Warren and others). Day passes are also available. Check out BikePeaceMusicFestival.com for more info.
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