AIRE and MOTM: Combining Music With Renewable Energy

By Jeff Deal

Music on the Mountaintop Festival creator and Executive Director Jimmy Hunt hands a $5000 check to Steve Owen from the Appalachian Institute for Renewable Energy. AIRE was the featured non-profit at this year’s festival

The 4,200 folks who turned out for this year’s Music on the Mountaintop (MOTM)raised $5,000 for community driven renewable energy.

The August festival in Boone, N.C. hosted stellar performances by four-time Grammy Award winner Sam Bush and music favorites Acoustic Syndicate and Kellar Williams.
The Appalachian Institute for Renewable Energy (AIRE)—an organization that promotes and cultivates community-developed renewable energy in Appalachia— received the contribution as part of its recognition as the “Featured Non-Profit” by this year’s Music on the Mountaintop Festival.

“AIRE’s mission inspires us,” said Music on the Mountaintop creator and Executive Director Jimmy Hunt. “We look up to their progressive attitude and we’re proud to be a part of Appalachia’s Green Business Future and Community.”

In addition to its generous support of renewable energy in Appalachia, this year’s 2nd Annual Music on the Mountaintop—voted the Greenest Music Festival for 2009 by Blue Ridge Outdoor Magazine—also:
• recycled 1,900 lbs of alumunium cans – 75% of the festival’s total waste
• showcased over 25 non-profit organizations, specializing in environmental stewardship, renewable energy and social justice
• attracted tourists from 35 U.S. States and Canada to the N.C. mountains
• partnered with River and Earth, a local outdoor adventure business, to offer free public transportation from Boone, N.C. to the festival
• supported local businesses by contracting and partnering with neighborhood and regional enterprises whenever possible for services and goods required to produce the festival

“This year’s festival was a huge success!” said 25 year old entrepreneur Hunt. “After the first [festival], we wanted to step up our green initiatives- recycling, proper composting, and lowering our carbon footprint—and luckily for us, the town … really supported our efforts.”

“Our goal is not to be the biggest or most well known event; rather we strive to have the most well produced and sustainable festival in the country.”
If you missed this year’s Music on the Mountaintop – don’t worry! The folks at MOTM invite you to the 3rd Annual Music on the Mountaintop Festival in August 2010 for more good times and good works!

For more info, visit or

iLoveMountains Is In GOOD Company, a website dedicated to the issue of mountaintop removal, was named one of the “Good 100,” a list sponsored by GOOD magazine to acknowledge organizations, projects and individuals who are striving to improve the planet.
The website was created by Appalachian Voices for the Alliance for Appalachia—an umbrella organization of 13 groups working to end mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia. The site features a number of Google Maps and Google Earth tools including the My Connection tool, which allows visitors to determine if they are using mountaintop removal by typing in their zip code.

According to GOOD, “The website is providing people with the resources to fight mountaintop-removal mining in Appalachia…[it] shows how the energy we use is connected to mountaintop removal, and connects people with their lawmakers to lobby for change.”

GOOD, launched in September 2006, produces a website, videos, live events and a print magazine with a mission to “provide content, experiences, and utilities to serve [the people, businesses, and NGO’s moving the world forward].” GOOD has collected praise for its unique editorial perspective and fresh visual aesthetic.

Students Protest Naming Dorm After Coal

Despite student and faculty protests, a new dorm at the University of Kentucky will bear the name “Wildcat Coal Lodge” per a request by funders from Alliance Coal.
The request was part of Alliance Coal CEO Joseph Craft’s stipulation for a $7 million donation to build a new dorm for the men’s basketball team. In a 16-3 vote, the university’s board of trustees approved incorporating the word “coal” in the building’s name.

The three voters opposed to the decision included Robynn Pease, the representative for university staff, Ernie Yanarella, a faculty representative, and Ryan Smith, the student government president,

“There were a lot of students that were opposed to this for a variety of different reasons,” said Smith. “Some for the selling of tradition, some for the precedent that it sets, and some students and individuals were upset because of the stigma associated with coal in the state.”

“From my perspective, I am a representative of the student body and I needed to represent the people that I serve,” Smith said.

A Race for the Mountains

The High Country Conservancy’s 10th Annual Stick Boy Mayview Madness 5K Race on Nov. 7 was the biggest it has been in its decade-long history. In an effort to raise money and awareness for the Appalachian mountains, 190 runners took to the streets of downtown Blowing Rock, N.C., bringing in over $5,500.

The High Country Conservancy is a non-profit land trust that was founded in 1997 to protect Appalachia’s natural resources. The organization has worked with landowners to create 32 conservation easements, preserving 1,805 acres in Avery, Ashe and Watauga Counties in northwestern North Carolina. They group has also used funds to purchase 20 properties for conservation, including one covering 945 acres.


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