Bask in the sun at SolarFest '09!

SolarFest's annual festival powered entirely by renewable energy takes place July 10-12 at the Forget-Me-Not Farm, McNamara Road in the Tinmouth/Middletown Springs area in Rutland County.

Over 95 solar and wind energy, green building, agriculture and sustainable living workshops are presented under tent cover, with more than 100 exhibitors, craft vendors, healthy food and three days of high-quality entertainment on two solar-powered stages.

Keynote speakers are award-winning journalist and author Amy Goodman and Vermont publisher and author Stephen Morris. Amy Goodman is the producer and host of the liberal-leaning "Democracy Now!", a national independent news program that airs on over 750 T.V. and radio stations nationwide, acclaimed for its independent grassroots journalism.

Stephen Morris' extensive credentials include executive positions at Real Goods, Vermont Castings, and Chelsea Green Publishing. He is an astute and witty observer of the challenges of seeking sustainability in modern life.

Many beloved acts from former years return to celebrate the 15th SolarFest. Acclaimed favorites include Break of Reality (Eastman School of Music graduates rock the house with cello "thunder" heavy metal tunes), The House Jacks (vocal a capella from San Francisco who sound like a full-out band), Entrain's big brass and funk rhythms, singer-songwriter Peter Mulvey, Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem mixing American roots music with plucky originality; encore family favorites include storytellers Jennings and Ponder, Rick Davis the Clown, and Roger the Jester.

SolarFest attendees are used to an eclectic mix of performers that get them dancing. Top returning bands are Mawwal (world fusion with Middle East emphasis) and Xande Cruz and Batukis (an Afro-Brazilian band with a significant hip-hop influence). Favorite traditions continue with the Saturday night contra dance hosted by the Lissa Schneckenburger Band, children's Theater-in-the-Woods, and the SolarFest singer-songwriter contest on Sunday morning.

SolarFest's volunteer organizers are looking forward to record attendance. With hourly workshops in six different tents - more than 95 in total - covering a multitude of topics relating to sustainable living, local economy, agriculture, green building, and renewable power for homes, businesses and cars, there is something for everyone. A workshop tent devoted to youth, the Solar Generation, aims sustainability education at people from early teens to twenties.

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