Sunstock – A Solar Powered Art and Music Festival Promoting Environmental and Social Justice

Two days before the event, I learned about Sunstock. A college friend and I had plans to meet for dinner in Pasadena Saturday, September 9th. After learning about the second annual completely solar powered event promoting environmental and social justice, we changed our plans.

Held at downtown Los Angeles’s Music Box at The Reef venue, the all day event showcased bands like Run River North, an indie-folk rock band from Los Angeles and Ra Ra Riot. Food trucks abound with Southern Fried Vegan and The Tropic Truck as the stand out festival food. Art installations dotted the large parking lot that Sunstock took place in at Broadway between Washington Boulevard and 21st street. A forty-foot tall, oak, Italian chair stole the show, though the birds on lighted wire came in a close second. There was also a half dome structure that resembled an icon from childhood recess with fake grass mats and throw pillows underneath for festival-goer comfort.

Sunstock and Half Dome Recess Reminiscent structure
Sunstock and Half Dome Recess Reminiscent structure
Giant, Oak, Italian Chair
Giant, Oak, Italian Chair

Dazed and Confused at Sunstock

There were two separate beer gardens cordoned off by security personnel reminding you to finish your adult beverage before exiting the designated area. I opted for wine and my friend opted for the “Dazed and Confused,” which was a peach and bourbon concoction. As she took the last couple of swigs from her compostable plastic cup, she noticed fresh peaches at the bottom.

Oh, there’s dessert in there!” She excitedly exclaimed only to discover this “dessert” was boozier than the entire beverage itself.

“Oh, there’s dessert in there!”

Dazed and Confused cocktail at Sunstock, environmental and social justice awareness
“Oh, there’s dessert in there!” ~@veganthika

Various tents and vendors were set up to spread awareness across many current issues. One woman was delivering her message about the dangers of texting while driving in the aftermath of her husband being killed by an LA County sheriff. Others were practicing their partner yoga underneath the giant wooden chair while passersby snapped photos and bands conducted sound check. Another organization reminded us of the detrimental consumption of 1,000 plastic bags per person annually, with Ice Cube’s pissed off expression atop a mannequin adorned in this environmental problem.

Partner Yoga underneath the Giant, Italian chair at Sunstock, Solar Powered Environmental and Social Justice Festival
Partner Yoga underneath the Giant, Italian chair at Sunstock, Solar Powered Environmental and Social Justice Festival
Ice Cube Plastic Bag Mannequin at Sunstock, Festival for environmental social justice
Ice Cube Plastic Bag Mannequin

Good Vibes Only

It was all around a lovely crowd. Good vibes abound! Three women made their way through the crowd, painting the faces of fans free of charge, while Run River North rocked their thirty-minute set. Between the two music stages, a group of hula-hoopers and hippies danced, flying colorful flags through the evening breeze.

Hula Hoopers and Hippies
Hula Hoopers and Hippies

Lone concert attendees moved their bodies in unison with flashing stage lights and percussion. “One more song, one more song,” the eager crowd chanted as Run River North wrapped up their last ditty.

“One more song!”

Run River North rocking the Gold Stage at Sunstock promoting environmental and social justice
Run River North rocking the Gold Stage at Sunstock Solar Powered Festival

My friend and I made our way back to the beer garden for one last drink thanks to a gracious stranger who gave us her drink tickets upon her departure. Intense conversation surrounding the very issues Sunstock sought to educate and embolden its attendees with ensued. “Cheers,” we clinked our compostable cups to greener cities, collective activism, and better futures. It’s been real, Sunstock. The Road Linds Travels salutes you – Until next year!

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