Unplugged: How one band is sharing its music through Sustainable Sound

Written By: Thatcher Michelsen April 4, 2012 0
Fans of Melodeego generate power for the speakers and lighting at their concerts by pedaling an innovative contraption.
Fans of Melodeego generate power for the speakers and lighting at their concerts by pedaling an innovative contraption.

When Boston-based band Melodeego takes the stage, its concerts are literally powered by the crowd. The innovative technology, called Sustainable Sound, almost entirely eliminates the band's environmental impact with a fan-powered contraption that produces energy that is used an energy source for the lighting and sound of the show.

The contraption is a wooden bench with three bicycle pedals attached to it. The pedals are attached to a generator that harnesses the power generated from the pedalling. The generator is where the back wheels would be under the bench. Sean Stevens, inventor of the device, told WBUR, Boston's National Public Radio affiliate, that the rig was primarily a do-it-yourself project comprised of parts from Home Depot, Radio Shack and the internet.

He added that a single person can generate 100 watts of energy without much using too much energy of their own, and five people can produce enough energy for a band to put on a small concert.

Melodeego's bassist Greg Reinauer explained to the news source that the band is trying to completely avoid using fossil fuels. The band has performed at venues like universities and the State House with the Sustainable Sound system.

The initiative is gaining popularity, WBUR reports, as Melodeego has raised over $14,000 which has allowed them to invest in a 10-bike system.

"Cause there's a lot of people who believe or want to have you believe that clean energy is too hard or impractical or impossible, but you can't look at all the lights flashing, you can't hear Melodeego's music blasting out of the speakers and be dancing or singing along and say that this isn't possible, so that's what we're trying to do," Reinauer explained to the radio station.

Some venues have been hesitant to book the band because of their unique energy system, but once they hear it for themselves, they've become less reluctant.

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