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UO Bike Program recieves $10k grant for bicycle-powered stage; will debute at May 8th Bike Music Festival

A "Biker Bar" Generator from

The University of Oregon Bike Program recently received a grant and other monies to fund the purchase of a bicycle-powered stage setup and the event costs for their May 8th Bike Music Festival. The event coincides with the Willamette Valley Music Festival, which will be returning to the University of Oregon campus this year.  The Bike Music Festival will run the main stage at the EMU Amphitheater.

The UO Bike Program received a $10,000 grant from Lane Country Tourism for the purchase of a Biker Bar and one Mundo Bicycle, speaker rental, and general event costs.  EWEB contributed $5,000 towards the event, and the UO Student Sustainability Fund contributed another $2,675 towards the purchase of an additional Mundo Bicycle.

The UO Bike Program will hold a precursor event to the Bike Music Festival on Friday, May 7th, at 7pm in Agate Hall. Paul Freedman of Rock the Bike will lead a workshop about pedal-generated electricity, and will showcase the UO Bike Program’s new “Biker Bar” (the Biker Bar and the two Mundo bikes will generate all of the electricity for the Bike Music Festival).

The Bike Music Festival is the next day:  Saturday May 8th from 10am to 4pm.  It will feature pedal-powered musical and entertainment acts, a free repair station hosted by Paul’s Bicycle Way of Life,  local organization booths, and a Live-on-Bike musical performance & bicycle ride. A percentage of the proceeds will support a local non-profit.

The festival and workshop are only half the story, of course.  Unlike last year’s Bike Music Festival, where festival organizers had to use participants’ equipment to pedal-power their stage, the UO Bike Program will now have its own equipment.  This gives the program the near-permanent ability to run future events on bike power.

Some may wonder what all this has to do with Lane County Tourism. According to the Lane County Tourism grant packet,  the grant is awarded to “community organizations, groups, businesses, or individuals for projects designed to increase tourism and tourism-related activities in Lane County.” The UO Bike Program’s grant application explains how the pedal-powered stage applies, and what will be done with the stage after the event:

The Outdoor Program will build the first mobile pedal powered stage system in the Northwest. We also expect 750 out-of-town visitors to attend the 5/7/10 workshop and stay to participate in the UO’s 40th annual Willamette Valley Music Festival. The free, campus-based festival features dozens of musical acts and regularly attracts 10,000 attendees from throughout the country.


The Pedal-Power workshop is a one-time event, however we hope to conduct informal campus and community demonstrations on an ongoing basis. The stage system will be stored on campus in the Outdoor Program Trip Facility, will be maintained by staff bike mechanics, and, with proper maintenance, will be used for at least 10 years. The stage will be leased to community groups and rental income will support needed upgrades or repairs.


Pedal-Power Workshop print and electronic target marketing will reach thousands of identified Oregon and Washington student and professional cultural programming, sustainability and alternative transportation advocates at over 50 Oregon and Washington colleges, universities and nonprofit organizations.

Visit for more information on what a “Biker Bar” is and how the pedal-powered stage works.  In an interesting “Small World Coincidence,” (sort of) the Biker Bar is based off a BikesAtWork trailer – a company based out of Ames, IA which I worked for from 1999 to 2002.  In fact, our own GreyMatter Jugglers Mobile Stage is built on an older style BikesAtWork trailer, which I originally used during that period to haul recycling from the Iowa State campus. Neat.

More Biker Bar pictures can be found at Band of Bicycles’ Flickr page (slide-showed below)

Photo Credits: Band Of Bicycles

And just in case you missed it, video from last year’s August 15th Bike Music Festival can be found on YouTube:

YouTube Preview Image

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