Karen Forster

Equinox Staff


Activities, vendors and a variety of music successfully came together on Saturday at the annual solar-powered music festival hosted by Keene State’s Campus Ecology club, despite the extra weather precautions.

President of Campus Ecology and an environmental studies major Danielle Couture explained the importance of raising awareness about being sustainable.

Couture said, “We hope Solarfest raises awareness and opens students’ eyes about being environmentally conscience and hopefully educated them on how to focus a little bit more on contributing to a cleaner and more healthy world.”

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Couture explained how Solarfest is just a fun way of bringing students and the community together for a good cause and a good time while still saving an immense amount of energy through solar power.  She said she hopes that it helps students see that you can still make environmentally, local, and effective energy efficient choices.

This year’s Solarfest consisted of 30 vendors, free live music, tie-dyeing, hair wraps, and displays of alternative fuel vehicles. Couture said, “Seeing all our efforts and hard work come together, having the numbers of vendors and students attending go up, the atmosphere and outcome of each Solarfest  just gets better every year, it’s amazing.”

Couture explained the growth of each Solarfest and how each year it has been able to improve. She said the bands they chose were based on what the club decided together, but that may change in the years to come if they decide to open up the decision to the students on the campus through voting or suggestions.

This year, a variety of bands attended and played at Solarfest including Dopapod, Flabberghaster, Rubber Skunk, Just Thom and Friends, Hot Day at the Zoo, Jake McKelvie & The Countertops, Phishstix, and The Calerpittars. The Calerpittars members include Andrew Reynolds, Joey Mintel, Dan Kuhn, and Chris Meyer. All band members are or have attended Keene State College.

Reynolds and Kuhn explained how they used to live together, spending hours playing music, writing songs, and eventually coming up with their unique name.

“There was a mural in our house that had a picture of the Caterpillar from the Disney rendition of Alice in Wonderland.” Kuhn explained that when he was little he would say the word Caterpillar as “Calerpittar” and it eventually turned into the name of their band.

Just starting out, Kuhn explained how they first began and played at the Ultimate Frisbee Jam. “After Frisbee Jam, Joey joined us and then a couple months after that we got into gigs and Chris hopped on board.”

“We’ve been recording some more music and it’s just great, we played at Beer Festival last week and we’ve just done a lot of fun gigs,” Kuhn said.

Mintel said that although they’ve done a lot of gigs they haven’t gotten much farther than New Jersey in terms of travelling.

“We’re still just sort of still starting out and hoping to get our CD’s and music out there. Keene is a great place to start and it’s a great community, the people here just really love their music,” Mintel said.

The Calerpittars explained how they’ve always hoped to play at Solarfest. “It’s always been my favorite event at Keene State and it’s great to actually be in at and just involved… plus there’s really no argument against the environmentally friendly part of it, it’s awesome.”

Meyer explained how his favorite part of the performance is the crowd’s feedback, “The energy generated back and forth feedback between the crowds and how we react to them is just great and their feedback just benefits our performance.”

Originally planned to be staged on Oya Hill, the chance of rain caused some of the festival to be moved to the student center.

Fortunately, the sun stayed out and students were able to enjoy some of the performances and vendors on the lawn of the student center.

Meyer explained how the weather precautions caused them to have to play inside. “There was the main stage inside and another stage outside. We played inside but overall I think it was a really strong set.”

KSC student Jamie Baker said it was still a successful festival despite having to move some of the event to the student center.

“I wasn’t too happy to hear about the weather and the precautions they took to move some of it inside, but throughout the whole time I was there, the sun was out and I was able to relax on the lawn and enjoy the music, I had a great time!” Baker said.

The tables there included vendors such as Rocky Top Farm, which provided farm fresh eggs and composting information. The Biology Club sold plants, and the Meditation Club provided information on stress reduction, along with a table for the Knitting Club, Fair Trade Club, the Spanish Club, WKNH, the Outing Club and Cheshire Garden.

Sun Weaver Solar Power provided the necessary energy throughout the festival.

The company provided a truck that is self-contained, quiet and produces clean energy to provide power for the speakers and bands performing during Keene State College’s Solarfest.

All vendors were asked to remain environmentally conscience with their tabling for Earth Week. More Earth Week events held throughout KSCe’s campus include Monadnock Earth Day Festival Celebration in the Keene Recreation Center, Discussion of Vermont Yankee by the Safe and Green Campaign, Free Sale and Clothing Swap, movies titled “Blue Gold” and “Gas Land”.

On April 23, KSC Eco-Reps and ROCKS students will collect garbage bags from all over campus, tear them open and sort out the recyclables from the actual garbage.

There will also be an Earth Week Fair located on the dining commons patio 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Friday, April 27.


For more on Solarfest, see the multimedia piece on keene-equinox.com.


Karen Forster can be contacted at




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