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Natural Awakenings Fairfield Cty/Housatonic Valley, CT

Gathering of the Vibes Face Challenges Going Green

Crosby, Stills & Nash will be among several extraordinary musical artists to perform at the 14th Annual Gathering of the Vibes, held on July 23-26 at Seaside Park in Bridgeport. In celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival, they will be joined by fellow Woodstock participants Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, Levon Helm, former drummer and vocalist for The Band, and activist Wavy Gravy, who will serve as master of ceremonies.

  After two-years of attempting to run a secondary stage entirely on solar power, Gathering of the Vibes promoters are giving up – for now. The technology just isn't available. Thus the stage hitherto called the “Solar Stage” is now called the “GreenVibes” Stage. “We are very committed to energy conservation, but we’ve adjusted our approach,” said Ken Hays, executive director, Gathering of the Vibes. “We’ll continue to make revisions based on available technology.” The Vibes team has partnered with Community Energy to offer an easy and effective way to support the production of clean, sustainable energy sources such as wind and small-hydro power. Organizers have purchased wind energy to offset all of the electricity used at the festival. And, the event’s “Sustainability Village,” where non-profits exhibit for free, will be powered by a bio-diesel generator, and lighting in parts of the Village will be solar-powered. Vibes also switched to all-compostable corn-based plastics for vendor cups and flatware this year. “We hope this development sets an example for all festivals and festival organizers everywhere,” said Hays.

  Light towers and backstage equipment are powered with diesel generators that were rented for use during Vibes. Promoters have tried to find a company with generators that run on biodiesel – that are also capable of consistently running sensitive equipment at even amperage. “Thus far we have been unsuccessful,” said Hays. “We encourage companies to come forward if their technology is a fit.”

Gathering of the Vibes 2009 marks the fifth time Seaside Park, in Bridgeport, has hosted the annual music, arts and camping festival. The event caters to both weekend campers and single-day guests, all of whom have access to the park's shaded groves, manicured fields and more than a mile of Long Island Sound beachfront. For tickets or information, go to GatheringoftheVibes.com or call 203.908.3030.

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