Rhythms and rides: Bicyclists, musicians collaborate for off-the-grid festival | TheUnion.com

Rhythms and rides: Bicyclists, musicians collaborate for off-the-grid festival

Cello Joe and Toni Tone perform as part of the Yuba River Bicycle Music Festival in Nevada City.
Submitted photo |

Know & Go

What: Yuba River Bicycle Music Festival

When: 11 a.m.- 9 p.m. Saturday

Where: Condon Park, Grass Valley and Commercial Street, Nevada City

Afterparty: At the Haven at 10:30 p.m.

For info: Go to http://yubariverbmf.com/

The “Umpteenth Quasi-Annual” Yuba River Bicycle Music Festival returns to Nevada County Saturday, and promises to bring beautiful scenery, enjoyable music and good vibes to those who attend.

The day will begin at 11 a.m. in Condon Park, with a lineup that includes Maisha Lani, Cello Joe and Heather Normandale. Then, at 3 p.m., the festival will pack up and the bicyclists will ride towards Commercial Street in Nevada City, where more festivities await.

But the music doesn’t stop during the ride, says festival co-founder Kalyana Algrabeli. Instead, a “specially outfitted” bicycle with a backwards-facing seat and speakers will allow solo musicians to jam out with the procession, while a mobile stage being pulled by another bicycle will allow bands to perform as well. Party bikes with wireless sound will be interspersed throughout the crowd, giving bicyclists the feeling of being surrounded by the music. Along with Fossil Fool and Karisha Longaker, Algrabeli promises several secret surprise guests that are “pretty big in our area, and regularly pack big venues.”

What makes the festival unique, says Algrabeli, is its off-the-grid approach to energy consumption. Like the mobile sound stage, the more permanent stage locations in Condon Park and Commercial Street will also harness the power of festival-goers.

“It is a completely human-powered event,” she said. “We don’t use any power from the grid to power the stage. Our power is coming from bikes we’ve made stationary so that people can ride them (next to the stage).”

The festival will be for all ages, and is free to attend. People are encouraged to bring cash, however, Algrabeli says, as the musicians are playing for free and will be accepting tips. There will be food, including pedal-powered smoothies, and a brand new Yuba Cargo bicycle will be raffled off as well.

Spencer Kellar is a freelance writer living in Nevada City; he can be reached at spencerkellar@theunion.com.

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