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Running on bike power, Coastalong 2024 brings music and sustainability to UCLA

A line of participants sit on colorful stationary bikes in an image from last year’s Coastalong Music and Sustainability Festival. The annual event will take place at the Sunset Canyon Recreation Center on Saturday. (Courtesy of Fran Fox)


Sunset Canyon Recreation Center

April 27

12:00 to 5:30 p.m.

By Reid Sperisen

April 25, 2024 9:46 p.m.

At the Coastalong Music and Sustainability Festival, helping the environment while listening to tunes is easier than riding a bicycle.

Less than a week after Earth Day, the 11th annual Coastalong festival will be held Saturday from 12 to 5:30 p.m. at the Sunset Canyon Recreation Center. The festival strives to promote sustainability by using bike power to fuel the day’s energy needs, and, after reaching around 90% bike power last year, the club hopes to hit 100% bike-powered energy. Lexi Fleck, a former contributor for the Daily Bruin and one of Coastalong’s executive directors, said more than 60 student members across various committees have been working to make Saturday’s festival come to life. A focus of the club’s efforts has been outreach, as the festival hopes to welcome more than double last year’s attendance of roughly 700, the third-year environmental science student said.

“This just happens to be a music festival that is sustainable, but sustainability can be in our whole world,” Fleck said. “It doesn’t need to be a sustainable music festival or a sustainable movie premiere – it should just be a movie premiere or a music festival.”

[Related: Dave Grohl named 2024 UCLA Spring Sing George and Ira Gershwin Award winner]

Hannah Freedman, a third-year geography/environmental studies student and the club’s other executive director, said Coastalong strives to create an accepting environment for everyone who loves music. Rather than trying to win attendees over with popular performers or the latest trends the music industry has to offer, Freedman said Coastalong wants participants to enjoy the experience of the free outdoor event itself.

“Sustainability can be intertwined into the rest of life, whether that is that you love live music or you just want to spend a day in the sun or you want to learn a lot more about the environment and start volunteering,” Freedman said. “There’s a lot of ways for people to interact with Coastalong, and it doesn’t have to be because they are dedicating their lives to the environment.”

To help attendees see the principles of reuse and reutilization in practice, this year’s festival will feature both an upcycling station and a clothing swap, Freedman said. The upcycling station is a brand new addition to the festival, she said, and attendees are encouraged to bring clothes to repurpose using art supplies. The clothing swap, which Coastalong has organized at past festivals, offers attendees the opportunity to bring clothes they no longer need and exchange them for free with other festivalgoers, Freedman added.

Other offerings at the festival include food vendors, yoga and various arts and craft activities, in addition to booths from student organizations. One of the vendors to be featured is local dairy-free frozen yogurt business Yoga-urt. Ella Johnson, a third-year public affairs student and the logistics director of Coastalong, said the community staple will be involved in this year’s festival.

“One time, when I was in there with my sister, I just started talking to the owners and seeing if they would maybe want to come be a vendor at Coastalong,” Johnson said. “They said yes, and we’re actually having them this year.”

[Related: Ebb & Flow festival dances for environmental action at Ballona Creek]

In addition to new vendors and activities, Coastalong is conducting a waste audit this year with the help of Clean Consulting in order to reduce the club’s internal waste production, Johnson said. Last year, Johnson published an article for UCLA Radio, where she detailed the ecological impacts of several popular forms of music consumption.

As for the music itself, Freedman said genres ranging from R&B to indie to rock will be represented. One act, a Grateful Dead cover band called Dead Set 805, will be coming from UC Santa Barbara to perform, and Los Angeles-based indie folk band Mapache is headlining the festival, Freedman said. Dakota Dry, Evergreen, Hasitha Guhan, Hejday, Megan Bober and Viva round out the 2024 Coastalong lineup.

Music director Julia Steinhouse, a third-year English student, said there has been somewhat of a shift in Coastalong’s branding this year. Compared to previous years, when there was a heavier focus on pop music and bright, vibrant aesthetics, this year’s festival is more strongly rooted in indie and folk music, Steinhouse said. She added that the Coastalong social media pages feature a more earthy palette to convey a message of authenticity.

“Once you go to Coastalong, what we hope is that everyone’s experience is just so incredible and enriching and that you can see that it’s possible to do things differently,” Steinhouse said.

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Reid Sperisen | Music | fine arts editor
Sperisen is the 2024-2025 music | fine arts editor. He was previously an Arts contributor from 2023-2024. Sperisen is a third-year political science student minoring in professional writing from Stockton, California.
Sperisen is the 2024-2025 music | fine arts editor. He was previously an Arts contributor from 2023-2024. Sperisen is a third-year political science student minoring in professional writing from Stockton, California.
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