Pedal to the Metal

Shot of cyclists through a bike wheel

Dynamos - cyclists will help to provide power for the Village Green arts festival this year (Picture: MAXINE CLARKE)

Town’s arts festival to be powered by 500 cyclists

PEDAL power is set to light up this year’s Village Green arts festival in Chalkwell Park.

Organisers are looking for 500 volunteers to pedal for all they are worth before the event and the electricity generated will be stored for use during the festival in September.

Festival organiser Metal is setting up the Big Charge with the help of Cycle Southend to power up a “green stage”, where a wide variety of acts are lined up to perform.

Organiser Jane Wilkes came up with the bright idea to power the stage.

She said: “We need volunteers to generate the 500 cycle hours needed.

“Bikes will be connected to huge 5kW batteries. These will collect the power generated by the cycling and will then in turn power the Green Stage. We believe this method has never been used before.

“It ticks all the right boxes. It’s a good way of working out and it helps the environment.

“We are inviting Southend residents to get involved and help generate the power needed to make it a very special event.”

The festival, on Saturday, September 25, is organised in association with the Royal Opera House and the Southend Education Trust.

Anyone who wants to take part in the Big Charge, from September 20 until 24, including teams, can book 30-minute or one-hour slots in Chalkwell Park. There will be ten bike stations available.

A record will be kept of all the cycle hours and power generated by those who take part and prizes in different categories for those who power the most.

Denis Walker, co-ordinator for the south east Essex Friends of the Earth, welcomed the challenge.

He said: “I know it takes an awful lot of effort to generate electricity in this way, so if they manage to power the whole stage like that, then it’s great.

“It is also a great way to show how much power we use in human terms and it is to be welcomed.”

To register or book a slot on the bikes, email thebigcharge@metalculture.com or call 01702 470700.

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