Party With A Purpose: The Polish Ambassador, Bassnectar, and Rising Appalachia Encourage Us To Celebrate With Meaning
Celebrate Earth Day 2017 as we pay homage to the same artists who inspire change on Mother Earth.
1. The Polish Ambassador: Permaculture Action Movement
It’s not often that I hear or read about musicians digging in the dirt, but one I do know of is The Polish Ambassador. In 2014, he created the Permaculture Action Movement to weave together the energy of concert and festival goers with local communities in order to breath life back into the environment and our surroundings. Here’s how it works: build, plant, create, celebrate and bond with each other.
It all started with the “Pushing Through The Pavement: A Permaculture Action Tour” that also included Ayla Nereo, Mr. Lif, and Liminus. They set out on a 30 plus city cross-country tour to promote and educate a sustainable way of living. Along the tour, the Permaculture Action Network gathered up hundreds of people to participate in their actions days. One of their stops included Atlanta. They performed a Halloween set at Terminal West and held their call to action the next day with the Germination at Lake Claire Community Land Trust. The team and the Atlanta community planted a meditation garden, installed a water catchment system and renewed food forest space.
“After every show, we mobilized up to 400 people from the concert audience, local community members and local organizations for Permaculture Action Day. We planted public food forests, built community gardens, and completed an array of other projects that connected us to urban farms, ecological common spaces, and most importantly, one another,” as stated on the Permaculture Action Network website.
A concept of permaculture is to live in harmony, to live with nature and not against her. It also reminds me of the The Golden Rule. Treat Mother Nature as she treats us. Well, all the good parts at least. She provides us with the ability to live by giving us air, water, food, shelter, and warmth. Shouldn’t we return the favor by replenishing and taking care of what we use, which in turn, also benefits and unites our community?
You can be sure to catch The Polish Ambassador’s party-with-a-purpose message at this year's Moonshine Music and Arts Festival on June 30. If you wish to dive a little deeper, plan on attending the 1st Annual Jumpsuit Family Gathering taking place in Taos, New Mexico on Sept. 28- Oct. 1. In the meantime, find me in Warrior One pose at Moonshine!
2. Bassnectar: Leave No Trace and Bass Network
If you have ever been to a Bassnectar show, you know that his team of AmBassadors and Bassheads religiously follow the motto of “Leave No Trace.” The concept is easy. Clean up after yourself, take care of your community and those communities that welcome us.
At the end of the night, when the show is over and the 808’s have silenced, when the lasers have stopped moving and the LED’s have closed their eyes, that’s when the true characters come out with trash bags in hand. Brand AmBassadors come out from both sides of the stage and immediately start picking up trash when the lights come out. Nectar fans quickly help fill the bags and pick up everything they can see in sight [lol]. I’ve even witnessed a Basshead ask venue staff for a trash bag.
What other EDM shows have you seen this happen at? Go ahead and think about, I’ll wait. It happened in Atlanta during last year’s Bassnectar two night event held at the Georgia World Congress. And with no surprise, it happened again at his first ever two day camping festival in Colorado at Dick’s Sporting Good for Bass Center 2016.
I have yet to see another EDM festival completely trash free when everyone packed up on the last day of the festival like I did at Bass Center. It was left just like we entered. Clean and green. I know what you’re thinking. It was held at a stadium in the city and did not have all the complications of being in the middle of woods. There’s no excuse for being a litterbug. You either are or aren’t period. There weren’t leftover food wrappers, empty bottles or broken tents left where BassHeads once laid their pashminas. It just wasn’t a thing.
At the forefront of Bassnectar’s movement in community engagement and campaigns is the Bass Network. Together with the AmBassadors, the crews work on local community charity drives, prize giveaways, and promoting thoughtful campaigns like 2016’s random acts of kindness outreach Bass It Forward.
In addition, monetary donations are given through the Dollar Per Basshead program where a dollar from every ticket sale is donated to charities voted on by the fans. 2017 resulted in a tie with Democracy Now and Boys and Girls Club Of America both being awarded $15k. Runners up Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, Kind Campaign, Love Is Louder, and The Trevor Project all being awarded $5k.
And the saga continues with The 2nd Annual BassHead Earth Day Cleanup #DropBassNotWaste events popping up from New Jersey to Illinois. Click here to find or create a cleanup near you as the Bass Network spearheads this month's theme Reaching Out: Giving Back In April. Bassnectar is in Atlantic City next week, April 28 -29, for chapter two of his secret throwback warehouse parties. And without a doubt, a Beach and Boardwalk Cleanup has been setup for April 29. I’ll see all you lovely Bassheads next week in Atlantic City!
3. Rising Appalachia: Slow Music Movement
Over the past decade, the awareness of shopping local and eating fresh quality ingredients has increased. Farm to table restaurants and food trucks using local ingredients are in every city. Now, I know this isn’t anything new, but what the Atlanta-bred sisters, Leah and Chloe Smith, have established with the Slow Music Movement is a format of alternative music sustainability we can all learn from. Known as Rising Appalachia, is was important for them to remain connected with the communities they visited by following a troubadour way of life. One way they accomplished this goal is by sourcing local farm to table dinners for their crew and inviting local charities to set up at their shows.
“We want to have relationships with the farmers and the food of each region and also to have a relationship with different educational initiatives and non-profits. We have a policy that at each show at least two non-profits are welcome, invited — non-profits or educational initiatives, arts justice projects — to the show to set up tables and let the audiences know, as well as ourselves, what’s going on locally. So you can come to a Rising Appalachia show and get information on what’s going on in your own community, and create bridges and partnerships and collaborations within the audiences, within people who have come there to dance or to sing or to mourn, or whatever it is that brings them to a music event, that they can leave having more experience with what’s going on locally,” as posted on their Facebook page.
Several years ago they spent time with David Sugalski, The Polish Ambassador, on a permaculture farm in Costa Rica when the Permaculture Action Movement was merely an idea. This idea gradually turned into action and in 2015 the duo attended Permaculture Action Day with Polish in Denver, CO. In 2016, the duo partnered up with the PAN to bring Action Days to some of their concerts. The Atlanta natives brought the movement home last December for an Action Day at Urban Sprouts Farm located in South Atlanta. Earlier this month, they were in Nashville building and planting in the Brooklyn Heights Community Garden.
In March, Rising Appalachia partnered with Waterkeeper Alliance to celebrate World Water Day by releasing their music video “Rivermouth.” Rising Appalachia also went live on Facebook for Earth Hour last month when the world turned off the lights to encourage the discussion of climate change. Later this month, Leah will circle back to Atlanta to co-produce Weaving Threads of Change a weekend of workshops and resiliency training led by her and many other instructors on April 28-30.
Happy Earth Day!! [heart emoji]