San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Two Weeks to Rainforest Aid 2009

With just two weeks left to prepare, the organizers of Rainforest Aid 2009 are feeling the stress rise along with the excitement about their music festival to benefit the rain forest.

There have been a few changes, said the festival’s creator and promoter, Michael Cranford, but “changes are going to be inevitable when bands are playing for free.”

Starting June 19, the three-day festival in the small village of Amapola, 17 kilometers north of Puerto Jiménez on southwestern Costa Rica’s OsaPeninsula, will be both a musical mishmash of differing styles and an educational haven for conservationminded activists.

“Ten to 15 of Costa Rica’s most aggressive conservation projects are all getting together for three days to try and figure things out,” Cranford said.

The event aims to raise $2 million for rain forest awareness, protection and regeneration and to potentially fund a sustainable landfill for the OsaPeninsula (TT, April 24).

Cranford said the festival will feature “four of Costa Rica’s best rock bands and three of its best reggae bands, and, of course, (pianist) Manuel Obregón,” one of the country’s foremost musicians. Tico acts will include Akasha, Evolución, Kingo Lovers and Igni Ferroque, while international bands will include Raposo, Mudcat Blues Band and Riots of Eighty, to name a few.

Cranford expects anywhere from 500 to 1,000 attendees. As of earlier this week, they had sold 130 one-day passes and about 30 three-day passes, he said.

The festival has also drawn well-known sponsors, including carbon-neutral Costa Rican airline Nature Air, which is offering a 50 percent discount to anyone flying down for the show.

“It’s really important that people try and reduce their carbon footprint on the way down here, either by flights like Nature Air or by carpooling,” Cranford said.

Coinciding with Rainforest Aid, the Green Film Festival will show up to 30 conservationthemed movies in a theater on the site.

Cranford advised that while there will be plenty of music and activities, the site lacks an ATM, which means people need to prepare for the lack of cash.

The music will start at 10 a.m. and last until 10 p.m. each day. Festival passes for foreigners cost $49 for one day and $139 for all three days; passes including bus transportation and accommodations are also available.

Ticos and residents pay ¢10,000 (about $17) per day, including round-trip bus transportation from the Central Valley.

For festival and ticket information, visit For more on the Green Film Festival, see www.thegreenfilm


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