In August of 1969, over 400,000 people gathered for Peace at Woodstock. What served as it’s claim to fame was the uniting of chaotic potential behind a strong message of Love (for life, each other, and a whole lot of other stuff). On June 18th, 2016, Sunstock Solar Festival will follow a similar vein at The Autry Museum, where Angelenos will gather to celebrate music and the change engine it so often supports. In this case, the driving force for Sunstock Solar Festival is, quite obviously and very literally, solar power and social responsibility. Featuring Cults, WAVVES, and Allah-Las, the music will be on tier with the best of the best.
Indie rock and sunny summer Saturdays are already a force to be reckoned with. Add in an amazing cause and methodology and it becomes something else entirely: inspiration for the future of what we can achieve through music and like-minded philanthropy. Come support!
HOW TO ENTER
Standard procedure. The contest ends at 12PM Friday, June 17th!
1. Tweet: “I want 2 tickets to @SunstockSolFest at @TheAutry on 6/18! from @CtrlAltDelight”
2. Tag three friends in our Facebook post.
3. “Like” this page
Do 1, 2, or all of the above. As always, the more entries –> the better your chance to win. Be sure to be ready to check your inbox/twitter, because we’ll be giving it to the first person who responds when the contest is over. See you guys there!
Interview with Sunstock Founder – Skylar Funk
Ahead of the festival, we caught up with Sunstock Founder, Skylar Funk, as he was getting over the flu to get a rundown of what to expect at the event as well as hear first hand the passion he has (A LOT) for Sustainability, solar power, and hockey.
So, Sunstock – it definitely stands out in terms of “different” when it comes to the typical summer festival circuit. How long did it take for this event to materialize and what are your plans for the future?
We started last Summer, a little less than a year ago, with our own solar trailer as a thing we could take on tour with us to do our own solar powered shows. We did a solar powered show in Colorado and mostly small stuff. We started trying to figure out where else and how else we could do it. We’ve been booking shows for a few years but it is basically reinventing teh wheel to figure out doing outdoor stuff. The different set of logistics, permits, and everything like that made it a tricky thing to put on. But it’s what we want to do, we’re going to keep doing stuff like this, and we have this special opportunity to.
The long story not so short is we booked one for October but the venue backed out on us after we had started promoting and designing this event. That was a huge bummer, but then we kept really trying to find the right place for it. Then we came across the Autry and it was this big, beautiful place secluded in a park. It really spoke to me as the perfect spot for a solar powered show. Once we booked that space, the scale of the event changed. So, we started trying to get a hold of bigger bands and non-profit partners and making it fit ton the scale of the venue.
At the same time, that’s what i wanted to do by really scaling it up to really reach as many people as we could and find everyone who was interested in this kind of thing. By gathering people around this event we hope to expose people in art and music to solar power and the Sierra Club as a stance to grow and diversify the movement. It’s sort of an aspiration but the goal of Sunstock is to help the movement grow. But yes, it has been a little while in the works. It’s definitely our first such scene; it’s pretty wild to be learning a lot – lets just say. It’s terrifying.
As this is a for-purpose/not-for-profit event, how did you approach funding and support from the non-profit partners?
Basically, our non-profit partners are helping us get the word out. We’re really trying to get their help to get into the community and bring the sustainability community out. It’s really co-promotional there; we are promoting each other. Funding has been from totally within my band, Trapdoor Social, since we are the ones putting this on. And that is tough as well. But it is coming together and I don’t think there are any regrets. We’re just really stoked to see whats possible and what could come of it.
We read the Sierra Club article about and the solar rig you got from Travis at Mobile Solar. Will there be multiple rigs and someone to provide information about them?
Yea! Travis, he hooked it up. I was going to build my own trailer as a retrofit onto the trailer that we already had. I was calling around for discounts or equipment sponsorship and I happened upon Travis who was basically trying to get rid of the unit I was trying to build. It really worked out and he really helped us get into this. He builds amazing equipment up there in Atascadero and it’s been an honor to use his stuff. It’s an incredible machine, you should take a look at it on Saturday.
We have our solar powered coordinator who I believe will be doing some tours of the trailers. There’s actually going to be 7 trailers at the event. Three from Sustainable Solutions Partners, one from LADWP, my band’s trailer, then we had to rent one from Alternative Power Productions that was heavy duty enough for the stage, and then our partner Grid Alternatives is bringing one out. So yea, we have a whole bunch of solar power out there. The fun part will be with the lights, the art, and the food vendors being solar powered too; that’s the kind of statement we want to send.
The other exciting thing too is it’ll be a better user experience too. I was recently at a festival and there were gas generators powering the trucks and the lights and it was really noisy and smelled like exhaust. It just made me realize we kind of take that for granted as a part of a festival. When you have a silent, clean powered festival, you’ll be able to hear that music perfectly and you wont be breathing exhaust fumes.
Sunstock’s focus is obviously focused on solar, are there other sustainable aspects this festival will focus on?
We are definitely encouraging sustainability across the board. For example, we just played at Veg Fest and that is also a sustainable thing since a meatless diet is more sustainable carbon wise. Just by itself it was making a sustainability statement. We kind of went at this by trying to make this Vegan as well, but we ended up real having a challenge with our food trucks since they run their engine to maintain their fridgers and burners. And billing ourselves as 100% solar powered, we couldn’t have food trucks running their gas generators. We really had to work hard to find food trucks that could do this and so we didn’t quite have our full pick of food vendors because of that restriction.
We’re also doing a zero waste event, where our partner (a zero waste company) will be sorting out the trash and preventing anything from going to landfills. We’re also encouraging people to bring their own cups and asking our vendors to not use any unnecessary packaging or using compostable materials where possible. We’re definitely trying to work within that whole sustainability ethos and do it across the board as much as we can to be in alignment with what everyone thinks of sustainability.
As both organizer of and performer at this event, I’m assuming you’ve been extremely busy with preparation and rehearsals. But what do you do to relax or take a load off when you find the time?
I’ve been working as hard as I can until I can’t. I kind of hit a wall the other day with getting sick with the flu and feeling really burnt out. It’s going to happen, we’re going to do everything we can for this, you know? This has been my life for 6-7 months and so I have been trying to keep some element of my normal life in motion, but it has definitely been overwhelming. I play hockey and still do sometimes, but I’ve been missing some games. That’s generally what I do to blow off steam.
What advice might you have for people trying to pursue their own dreams in Sustainability or doing what you’re doing?
I would say go for it. The need is there and the challenge is definitely difficult, but I’ve felt a higher sense of purpose and this is potentially the biggest impact I think I could have on the world. And I think having something that takes you into another level of impact is really important. People don’t know what they can do until they try. I was definitely not a festival organizer until I was. I wasn’t even a musician until I was. Those are kind of the steps I’ve taken from when I was in college trying to figure how to address the problems I saw in the world. And if this goes well and this really strengthens the environmental movement or inspire people, that would be worth it.
What’s your favorite hockey team?
I grew up as a Detroit Red Wings fan in the late 90’s. I’m from Seattle and there’s no NHL team in Seattle so I kind of had to make it up. To be totally honest, I haven’t really been following. The only reason I watched the playoffs this year is our new drummer is a huge Sharks fan so he had me watching a couple of games; that was fun to get caught up with a little bit.
Honestly, I’m not a good fan at all; I’m a dedicated player and I have no idea what’s going on in the NHL. I was barely aware of the LA Kings winning the Stanley Cup. I admit I’m a pretty fairweather fan; I used to follow but now there’s no time. I really have been inspired by this work and the opportunity to network with nonprofits and strengthen the community. I do miss just being able to be a musician; I haven’t had a chance to write a song in the past 6 months.
Skylar, thank you for your time, any final comments for our readers?
I think the user experience for the event will be really cool. We have free parking, it’s all ages, and there’s a bar with ID. We have local artists creating projection mapping and LED installations and all this cool art that will be solar powered. I’m really excited for the bands that are playing and I think it’ll be a good time.