Arts and Entertainment

Summer Meltdown rocks out with biodiesel

The founder and lead guitar singer for the popular Northwest band, Flowmotion, Josh Clauson grew up in Arlington and came home to the Stilly Valley in search for a home for his summer party, a.k.a. the Summer Meltdown.

The Summer Meltdown returns to the Darrington music park for the second year this week, Aug. 8, 9 and 10.

The event has grown from a semi-private backyard party on San Juan Island into a world-class festival with performances by major national bands as well as the best bands from up and down the West Coast.

But the Summer Meltdown is about more than just music and fun.

This local, independent music festival has taken a leadership position in the use of alternative fuels and other green practices in Washington state and around the country. The Meltdown will be powered by 99 percent recycled bio-diesel, made from used vegetable oil. Until now, the limit for generators was 20 percent bio-diesel.

This represents a tremendous advance for the environmental movement in Washington state and further cements the Meltdown as a unique event in the Pacific Northwest, according to production manager Evan McDonnell.

"This isn't some progressive, liberal decision making," he said.

"I'm a bottom-line kind of guy. This is just awesome business. The fuel costs less, has less environmental impact in storage and fill up, and it burns 75 percent cleaner, which makes for a nicer environment for my customers."

In partnership with Bid For Green, which provides innovative bio-diesel solutions for the likes of Willie Nelson, and the national diesel generator supplier Sunbelt, this year's Summer Meltdown represents a test case for what could become a national campaign. It underscores the festival organizers commitment to sustainable living, responsible action and community building.

The festival begins Thursday evening with a private party for volunteers and then gets rolling for all Friday morning.

Flowmotion is scheduled on the mainstage at 9 p.m. Saturday. Bands include so many interesting names, like Fortune 500, The Staxx Brothers, Tea Leaf Green, Recess Monkey, Handful of Luvin' and Buckethead, among many others.

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