The days leading towards the festival was a silent culmination of energy that you could feel; the anticipation of whether the BMF could be pulled off with more attendance, permitted, new subs and speakers, better sound, more bike-power, and a crowd of happy people. The vision of ecotopia by Mr. Dominguez, one of the main organizers, was in place, but would the Festival represent the elation of what could be? A moment when people could feel the possibilities of this reality; I was excited to be performing and to witness the preparation, sometimes helping, sometimes just to be there, documenting the smile of everyone involved, not knowing how it was all going to be pulled off, doing their best to make sure it happens smoothly, and the accepting eyes and smirk that we would all find out soon whether BMF IIV was to go down as the best and largest pedal powered event in the world, living up to it’s standards set so far.
Days before and after the BMF were dreary, overcast-SF days. But the day of the event the sun was out by 8 a.m. shining down until sunset at the 22nd and Bartlett’s, night venue. I arrived at 11 a.m. with Jesse Weber Hauling drums and bike gear. The crew already had most of the stage set up. We set up our bikes for pedal power, Jesse set up the back-line drums, and I started helping with merch and sound set-up where needed. By 12 pm when the music was to start, just a few people were trickling in. John Craigie started playing at 12:10 pm, the most on time the BMF has ever been. The crowd was minimal, but solid sound flowed from the beginnings. By 1 pm the crowds were flocking. By 2 and 3 pm we had hit record breaking numbers of 1000+ attendees.
The sound, thanks to Rock The Bikes new system of heavy-duty line-array speakers and subs, was hitting heavy and crisp.
I was lucky enough to perform mid day. To hear all of these people ‘howling at the moon’ together was great. The smiles and good vibes of the BMF was on. And it was going to last for another 7 hours into the night with live on bike music, and more acts in the mission district.
The question is, how big does the BMF have to get to reach the most amount of people, yet keep true to the values of community effort and integrity of the experience? It seems as though Burning Man and other festivals and events have came under the same question when asked ‘how big do you want it to go’? – Personally, I think the sound quality and availability to unite people in a learning and fun environment to show the power of us all together, has reached it’s peak. Let’s sustain the good vibes and quality of music and pedal power into the ages. As technology gets better let us make sure that we keep it to a level that is accessible for children, elderly, and everyone in between. I have learned from this event that I’d like to see something like the BMF happen weekly in my neighborhood, uniting the goodness in us all and allowing us to realize that we are rich together, not in money terms, but in spirit and life force; the things that matter the most.