San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Trust in Rock to Raise Money for the Rain Forest

“In Rock We Trust” is the slogan for Rainforest Aid 2009, a three-day music festival set to rock the rain forest June 19 to 21 to raise money for protection of the OsaPeninsula’s renowned biodiversity.

The summer-solstice music festival features a tour-style lead-up to the main event, kicking off in the capital city of San José and ending up near the town of Puerto Jiménez on southwestern Costa Rica’s OsaPeninsula.

The lineup includes musicians from all over the world, with more potential artists on the horizon.

Artists committed to the concert include local Puerto Jiménez band The Villalobos Brothers, Atlanta-based blues musician Mudcat, jam band The Revolution Project, veteran Costa Rican rock group Igni Ferroque and others. Classically trained pianist and composer Manuel Obregón will be bringing his grand piano down to the Osa for a Saturday-night performance.

Blues, jazz, rock and local Costa Rican music will sound throughout the forest all three days, alternating with guest speakers who will be discussing climate change, sustainable living and alternative energy.

Michael Cranford, the festival’s sustainability organizer, charged with ensuring the event’s environmental friendliness, says Rainforest Aid will aim to serve only organic food that comes from within 250 kilometers of the festival site, with all items served on banana leaves instead of disposable plates. Nonpotable and potable water will be provided for all festivalgoers.

“We’re trying to bring as many people down here as possible in an environmentally friendly way,” Cranford says. “The festival is all about making the right choices, or better life choices to protect our fragile environment.”

“The rain forests are the heart and lungs of the world,” he adds. “Every time we cut down a tree, we’re putting them at risk.”

All profits from the concert will remain in Costa Rica, as all the international bands have offered to play for free as long as accommodation, food and transportation costs are covered. While numerous sponsors have already come forward, organizers are still hoping for more.

Rainforest Aid 2009 aims to raise $2 million for rain forest awareness, protection and regeneration and potentially fund a sustainable landfill for the OsaPeninsula in the next five years.

Festivalgoers will have a choice of three types of accommodation: hotels in Puerto Jiménez, camping near the festival site or lodging with a local host family. Shuttles to and from the town, the festival and the beach will run every three hours from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. A variety of tours will also be offered.

Transportation is being subsidized to encourage the smallest carbon footprint possible.

The price of a festival ticket includes bus fare from Alajuela, northwest of San José, and local airline Nature Air, which claims to be the first certified carbon-neutral airline in the world, is offering a 50 percent discount for anyone wanting to fly to the festival.

Festival passes are available online and range from $139 for a three-day pass (¢30,000 for Costa Ricans), $245 for a three-day pass plus four days of camping (for Costa Ricans, ¢5,000 per car for camping only), or $885 for a pass plus seven-day homestay, including return transportation from Alajuela and two meals per day while staying with a Tico family.

For information and tickets, visit


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