For the past 3 years I’ve had the pleasure of participating in American’s most important music festival, Farm Aid; the annual concert to benefit America’s struggling family farmers. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of buying local/organic food and supporting your local farmer’s market. Organic is the highest choice for your family’s health, the health of your environment, AND the health of your local economy as buying locally helps the farmer get the fairest and most accurate price for his labor. Believe it or not, our current food system, which is centrally managed by major factory farms, doesn’t act holistically. Meaning, human health, soil health, and economic health for the whole isn’t equally considered.
Farm Aid is an enriching and educational experience and I always return home with invaluable tips and resources to improve the quality of life in my own backyard.
This year I will not be attending Farm Aid unfortunately, but do plan to be there in spirit, keeping an ear on the progress, seeing that the 30 year old concert flourishes.
However, it gives me great pleasure to announce I WILL be playing a similar concert in Japan; the AP Bank Festival. AP Bank (which stands for Artist’s Power/Alternative Power) is not an actual Bank, but a fund created by Music Producer Takeshi Kobayashi and Sakurai Kazutoshi , a singer from the band “Mr Children”. For the past 8 years, AP Bank Fes has generated millions of dollars for farmers, food futures, and green technologies. This year, the festival is taking things a step further and creating 3 festival sites in effort to help the people in the disaster area by raising money and attention, with awards given especially to farmers, for the healthy food that will heal and sustain us.
I’ve been told I will be the first western artist to play this festival in its 8 years running, and what intrigues me almost as much as sharing music is what I’m sure to learn. At the AP Bank Fes, there is zero waste. ZERO waste! ZERO WASTE among 100,000 attendees!?
This is made possible by employing and empowering people to wash and reuse their plates and cups, to bring their own wares and act responsibly; conscious of the festival environment, which is everyone’s home for the long weekend. This I HAVE to see!
Additionally, All PET (plastic) bottles are compressed on site and prior to being recycled, are displayed as giant clear plastic cubes for all to see just how much is consumed in 3 short days. The efforts Takeshi Kobayashi and his team take are what is needed by ALL concert promoters and festival goers alike. They leave the festival sight without a trace and take accountability for everything that comes and goes from the festival grounds. Even trucks that carry-in deliveries are required to haul away recyclables so not even the petrol is misused. All merchandise is pre-organic, meaning the cotton comes from villages supported to keep pesticides out of their communities entirely. And within the festival are workshops on how to live sustainably, how to grow food, and make efficient products and crafts; ways to stay involved in the cultural revolution that I believe is now happening all over the planet.
Ironically, Japan has considered restoring their nuclear reactors soon to help combat the summer heat. The concert, powered by wind turbines, solar panels, and bio-fuel generators, hopes to raise awareness about – and stress the importance of – clean green renewable energy which is now available to all if we want it.
Could you imagine? ENERGY INDEPENDENCE! No nukes. No mountaintop removal nor burning of coal. No more oil spills. NO MORE UTILITY BILLS!
Sadly one of the driving forces opposing green tech are oil, gas, and electric utilities, which is a huge source of income for a nation. As long as people are tied into a grid, money is sure to be circulated, therefore Energy Independence looks scary to some. But imagine paying zero for electricity as myself and many people who own solar systems do. It allows me save and put my money elsewhere.
*This is something to think about for upcoming the US election. Keep in mind President OBAMA has applied more money to green technology than any other president in history. And for this he gets my vote for a second term! (See that your local Congressman and Senator are supporters of green initiatives as well, for if the majority of the Senate were eco-minded, we’d be halfway to utopia already.) With Energy Independence, we could spend less money on oil, gas and electric (fighting less wars and building less nuclear products) and put more money into healthy food futures or the ARTS!
Japanese audiences have been supportive of my music for 10 years strong and I am especially honored to be considered a friend in this revolutionary time of need.
Learn more about AP Bank Fes and its initiatives.
And if in the US, check out Farm Aid and see what’s growing on right in your backyard!