Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real, FIesta del Sol

Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real
Fiesta del Sol
June 5, 2010
Solana Beach, CA

by Marcia Manna

SOLANA BEACH — A yellow sun suspended in an azure sky. Rows of white vendor tents against the backdrop of the blue Pacific. Fiesta del Sol will celebrate its 31st anniversary in its usual colorful Solana Beach locale. So, what’s new this year? The all-ages music festival has added a green theme to its picture-perfect setting.

The theme of this year’s event is Moving Off the Grid.

“We have replaced gas generators with biodiesel generators and we use biofuel,” said event chairman Peter Zahn, who also serves as CEO of participating organization Green Chamber of San Diego County. “That will power about 80 percent of the event. The solar trucks have batteries that store energy from solar panels and we are plugging in our power requirements into the trucks. Green initiatives are accessible — it’s a sign of the times.”

A stroll along the Fiesta’s Green Alley will introduce attendees to vendors such as Pour It Forward, a San Diego-based business that makes stylish shower and sink pails to collect and recycle water that would normally be lost down the drain.

Sequoia Solar in Solana Beach will have a booth that boasts its solar design and installation service, and if you stop by the California Quivers table to sample a strawberry or mango ice, you’ll drink from a compostable cup certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute.

But the big draw is, and always has been, the music. The Belly Up Tavern books the Fiesta del Sol talent, drawing from some of its most popular bands. The reggae soul group Aggrolites headline Saturday and the boisterous B-Side Players play Latin rock Sunday night.

One band that embraces the green theme is Lukas Nelson and the Promise of Real, a roots rock group set to perform at 2 p.m. Saturday.

The 21-year-old son of musician and environmental activist Willie Nelson, Lukas has a voice that resembles his dad’s — but with more range and less vibrato. Another similarity is relevant songwriting and a passion for sustainable living.

“All of our family uses biodiesel fuel — I’m driving a biodiesel Jetta,” said Nelson, who is based in Venice Beach. “I feel this should be a top priority. Every day, there is a headline about the oil spill and that’s huge. It can effect the whole ecosystem. We just finished a new album and I wrote a song called ‘America.’ It’s a hard look at what things will be like if we don’t change our perspective.”

Fiesta del Sol stretches across four blocks and in addition to the professional bands that start at about noon both days, there will be children’s activities, llama rides, a beer and wine garden and performances by different community groups, including the Boys and Girls Clubs Youth Arts Academy and Rock Band and Scripps Performance Dance Studio.

“We do have a diverse lineup,” said Belly Up marketing director Beth Bennett. “The festival has a long-standing history and bands and agents recognize it. It’s a groovin’ mellow vibe for a beautiful day outside.”

DSC_0080 by you.
Lukas Nelson, Farm Aid 2009, in the audience talking with fans, waiting for Neil Young set

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