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Coastalong Music and Sustainability Festival returns with bike-powered festivities

(Isabella Lee/Daily Bruin)

Coastalong Music and Sustainability Festival

Sunset Canyon Recreation Center

May 6

2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

By Leydi Cris Cobo Cordon

May 5, 2023 6:21 p.m.

On the heels of its 10th birthday, Coastalong Music and Sustainability Festival is pedaling new legacies and honoring old ones.

On Saturday at Sunset Canyon Recreation Center, the free, sudent-run festival will feature bike-powered performances from eight artists, including headliner flor. The event was partially funded by a grant from the Semel Healthy Campus Initiative’s BEWell campaign centered around fostering healthy communities. In addition to a clothing swap and eco-friendly products, second-year geography/environmental studies student and co-executive director Hannah Freedman said there will also be a sustainability fair with stations for student organizations and outside vendors with missions related to the environment.

“Sustainability is a culture,” Freedman said. “It’s a way of seeing the world without overutilizing resources … So bringing sustainability and music together is really just an example of how sustainability can be integrated into all parts of life.”

[Related: Jazz-fusion band Super Groove Technology seeks to spread joy to listeners]

Fourth-year molecular, cell and developmental biology student and Coastalong music director Kaylee Reyes said this is only the second time the festival will be held in person since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the loss of generational knowledge, Freedman said the festival is working towards reestablishing its presence on campus to expand the use of pedal-powered events and pique the public’s interest in how sustainable practices can be incorporated into the music industry. Though rebuilding the festival has been a challenge, Reyes said the situation presents an opportunity for creative freedom.

“It’s always going to be a challenge because it’s a blank slate, but at the same time, it’s a beautiful thing because there’s no expectation of what Coastalong should be or who needs to be there,” Reyes said. “But on the flip side of that, we need to make sure that everyone knows what it is and why they should be there and get people to come out and be excited about it.”

The campus community is more interested in sustainability due to a growing awareness of the impact of humans and climate change on the environment, Freedman said, so she hopes Costalong will become an integral part of the UCLA experience. Likewise, Reyes said she also hopes the event becomes a tradition on campus similar to Bruin Bash, Spring Sing and Dance Marathon.

First-time Coastalong performer and second-year music history and industry student Hasitha Guhan said she is looking forward to singing for an audience that is simultaneously powering the performance. When planning her setlist, she said she focused on including upbeat songs suitable while bikers are pedaling to keep them motivated.

One constant throughout the life of Coastalong is its use of pedal power. The majority of the time, the event is powered by a mix of electricity and bike power, and Freedman said the percentages are on display for attendees, with the average bike power falling around 90%. Beyond the sound system, she said the engineering team at Coastalong has developed other uses for bike power, such as making smoothies, shaved ice and tie-dyeing.

[Related: UCLA student-run label Cherry Pop Records is innovating Westwood’s music scene]

After participating in the festival for the past two years, Freedman said the experience has exposed her to a breadth of the field of sustainability. Throughout the years, Coastalong’s central value of bringing music and sustainability together has served as a reminder that integrating sustainable practices into more facets of life is beneficial, she added. Furthermore, Freedman said the festival sets out to educate and inspire sustainable habits within the campus community.

“The bike represents a lot about Coastalong,” Freedman said. “(It’s) a symbol of a sustainability culture shift where people see sustainability as something that can be important for the environment, but also fun and easily incorporated into their own lives.”

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Leydi Cris Cobo Cordon
Cobo Cordon is the 2023-2024 music | fine arts editor. She was previously an Arts reporter. She is also a second-year student from northern Virginia.
Cobo Cordon is the 2023-2024 music | fine arts editor. She was previously an Arts reporter. She is also a second-year student from northern Virginia.
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