On Saturday, September 10th 2005, visionary musician, filmmaker and human rights worker, Michael Franti along with his band, Spearhead and Guerrilla Management present the 7th Annual 911 Power to the Peaceful Festival (PTTP) at Speedway Meadow in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.
Now in its seventh year, PTTP is an annual series of free, outdoor music and arts festivals with a social justice message bringing together international musicians, local artists and renowned speakers in a large festival atmosphere. The first festival drew over 6,000 people, but has expanded to be one of California’s largest festivals of its kind with over 50,000 attendees last year. This year, the San Francisco Mayor’s Office will proclaim September 10th Power to the Peaceful Day at the festival. This year’s theme, Bring ‘Em Home, seeks to remind the public that the best way to support American troops abroad is to bring them home today.
Inspirational performances at PTTP have included such diverse speakers and artists including Amy Goodman, Dennis Kucinich, Alice Walker, Ram Das, Digital Underground, Talib Kweli, KRS-One, The String Cheese Incident, Lyrics Born, Me'Shell Ndegeocello, John Butler Trio, Krist Novoselic, and Jello Biafra. This year’s music line up includes Michael Franti and Spearhead, Jean Grae, Saul Williams, Anti-Flag, Zap Mama’s Marie Daulne, J-Boogie’s Dubtronic Science and Glide Choir. Speakers include Angela Davis, Woody Harrelson, Robert Greenwald (filmmaker - Outfoxed, Wal-Mart), Rev. Cecil Williams (Glide Church), Paul Rieckhoff (opTruth.org), Tim Goodrich (Iraqi Vets Against The War), and DJ Miguel Migs.
New to the festival this year will be an ASEC (Action Sports Environmental Coalition)sponsored, ecologically ‘forest stewardship certified’ wood built skate ramp featuring demos by pro-skater, Danny Way, who recently jumped the Great Wall of China, ESPN X-Games Medalists Jen O’Brien, CaraBeth Burnside, Lyn-z Adams and Mimi Knoop. The ramp will be donated to a Bay Area city high school after the event.
As festival organizer and Spearhead frontman Michael Franti explains the history of the festival, “As a brainstorm of LA-based organization, Artist Network of Refuse & Resist, Rage Against The Machine, artist Robbie Connell and Franti, the festival began in 1999 as an international day of art and culture with events in NYC, LA and San Francisco in support of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. The name and date 911 were chosen to call attention to the emergency status of Mumia’s impending execution. Inspired and wanting to continue the movement of music, art and social justice, Franti adopted the moniker ‘911’ and expanded the event in 2000 to show support for all prisoners on death row and to speak out against the exponential growth of militarism and the prison industrial complex.”
Noting the significance for more recent global political events, Franti says, “In 2001 the day of September 11th took on a wider significance as a result of the tragic loss of life by the attacks of the day. The 4th and 5th events in 2002-2003 created a space for healing and compassion for ALL the people killed or displaced by terrorism and the war on terrorism and in 2004 PTTP brought out the issue of ‘get out the vote’ and ‘stand up and be counted.’
In addition to the performers and speakers on the main stage, the festival features a zero-waste program using bio-diesel vegetable fuel for power, biodegradable flatware, water bottles and plates, recycle and composting bins, an open-air art gallery, earth-conscious vendors, massage and yoga, DJ dance floor, eco-village, kid’s zone, bike coalition and a diverse array of social, environmental and political organizations tabling.
For those unable to attend, the event will be broadcast live on Pacifica station, KPFA (94.1 FM in Berkeley or http://www.kpfa.org
The Conscious Alliance (www.consciousalliance.org) will be staging a food drive at this year’s event with proceeds benefiting the San Francisco Food Bank (www.sffodbank.org.)
PTTP have expanded this year to include its 1st Annual International Film Festival, co-presented by Amnesty International at the Roxie Theater on Sept 12 and 13th with highlights including a clip of Robert Greenwald’s upcoming release Wal-Mart and Michael Franti’s film about his journey to Iraq, Palestine and Israel last year titled I Know I’m Not Alone.
The weekend doesn’t sleep with a festival after party and all-star jam and DJ’s on Saturday, September 10 from 10PM – 4AM at 1015 Folsom. On Sunday, September 11th, a Franti hosted Social Justice Forum will take place at Cell Space on Bryant Street from 11am-5pm produced in conjunction with Craigslist Foundation, Next Generation of Activists, Global Exchange, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Circle of Life Foundation and Agape. Lastly, there will be a ‘Power To The Peaceful Yoga Workshop’ with Nicki Doane and Eddie Modestini (yogaonamaui.org) at the Yoga Tree-Yoga Flow classroom in the Castro District (yogatreesf.com).