Off the Grid Music & Art Festival Event
Focus Magazine, April 15, 2011
JUDY FAINSTEIN, founder of the Youth for Environmental Stewardship initiative of British Columbia (YesBC), has long believed in the power of our young people to take charge of their future. Too often, they are talked to, talked at, or talked about, but rarely talked with. Fainstein describes YesBC as a “bottom up” approach so that “student action is coming from them, and they’re supported, rather than being given information from the top down, being told ‘this is what you need to do, and here is a list of things.’ The ideas have come generated from youth.”
To take it all to the next level, Fainstein has organized the first Greater Victoria Youth Climate Action Summit and Off the Grid Music and Art Festival by closely drawing on the insights and opinions of regional senior secondary school students. YesBC visited schools and conducted a number of surveys, focus groups and workshops to determine the agenda for the event. Speakers, voted on by students, include Andrew Weaver, Ken Wu and Robert Bateman. The end result, says Fainstein, will “make it relevant to students and [allow us to] come to their world.”
While the students will spend the morning engaged in workshops dealing with a range of issues such as creating awareness campaigns, green careers, waste audits, and eco–mentoring, the afternoon will be a time for celebrating green creativity at the Off the Grid Music and Art Festival.
The event is literally “off the grid”—off the power grid, that is. Fainstein enlisted the help of Saanich-based Energy Alternatives, who will supply portable solar power units to generate all of the electricity needed for the stage. These units will be clearly visible to the audience, and will act as a potent demonstration of what can be done “off the grid.” Fainstein is delighted at the prospect, “being able to marry those passions of music and the message is powerful…So, it’s really exciting!”
The folk rock group Jon and Roy is headlining the event. Once again, the choice was up to the students, who submitted suggestions, and then voted for their favourites. Fainstein is pleased that “in doing so we were able to get a local band very popular and relevant to the kids today.”
It also doesn’t hurt that Jon and Roy are environmentally-focused individuals, and that their lyrics speak to a deep love of nature that celebrates the poetry and beauty of nature’s imagery.
The workshops are by registration only, but YesBC invites all students and teachers to celebrate Earth Day at the music festival in the afternoon.