Oregon solar concert event to grow in second year

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Oregon solar concert event to grow in second yearEcopalooza organizers expect the solar-powered music and wine festival to draw more than 6,000 visitors to the heart of downtown Portland, Ore., next month.

Last year’s event, which featured nine bands and musical performances, was 100 percent solar powered.

“It even rained, and we were still able to stay off the grid for the entire event,” said event organizer Rah-Miel Mitchell.

Sustainable Waves, a stage rental and music event management company, handled the stage and provided a solar-powered setup that produced and stored enough power in batteries to carry the event through from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Mitchell said. Sustainable Waves has contracted to provide solar-powered stages again this year, he said.

“This year we’re taking it to a prime location, to Pioneer Square in downtown Portland,” Mitchell said. “It’s been declared the fourth best public event venue in the world.”

This year’s event is expected to be bigger and even more impactful than the first Ecopalooza last year was.

It will start off with an ecologically friendly fashion show and will feature dozens of renowned performances from jazz musicians, including Grammy Award winner Shannon Sanders, Grammy-nominated Patrick Lamb and jazz sensation Devin Phillips.

There will also be wine tasting and fun for children. Children under 12 get into the event free, Mitchell said.

Ecopalooza started as an idea to something fun and meaningful and has since blossomed into a major event.

“Our vision,” Mitchell said, “is to educate people about renewable energy and solar while we also entertain them.”

The event doubles as a charity. Ecopalooza will donate a dozen refurbished computers to Portland-area students who need them. And $10 of every adult ticket sale will go toward purchasing a solar array for a local Portland school, Mitchell said.

“The school district is so excited,” he said. “They already have some schools picked out where the solar will be a good fit.”

General admission tickets to the event on July 23 cost $35 and can be purchased at www.econw.org.

The event will again be 100 percent solar-powered, Mitchell said, even though it looks like it will be significantly larger this year.