On the 66th anniversary of the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a star-studded group of activist-musicians, including Bonnie Raitt, Kitaro, Crosby Stills & Nash, Jackson Browne and others will descend on to oppose and discourage the use of nuclear energy.
These legendary and award winning artists will entertain festival-goers on Sunday, Aug. 7, for the Musicians United for Safe Energy benefit, where they will attempt to raise awareness and funds for Japan disaster relief efforts and organizations worldwide that promote safe, alternative, non-nuclear energy.
"There haven't been any massive grassroots demonstrations in this country or accidents, and we've been really lucky. That's in part because they haven't built a nuclear power plant in 30 years," said Raitt, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee.
"So what we can do besides get you here, raise some bucks and raise awaremess is support the incredible network of national and regional grassroots groups that are working in the community to keep the information out."
More than two dozen such groups, like Mothers for Peace—which wants to see the nuclear reactors at Diablo Canyon, CA shut down–will have booths at a "Green Village" and will hand out literature about the hazards of nuclear energy.
Also at or near the village will be some renewable energy companies, which can explain the benefits of solar and wind energy, not only because of the power they provide, but because of the number of jobs the industry can create in the United States, whether through manfacturing, like the Milpitas plant of SunPower, or through installation like the Mountain View-based Cobalt Power Systems.
According to festival organizers, the idea for the M.U.S.E. benefit hatched soon after the meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan following the March 11 earthquake. Radiation continues to leak at the plant. A catastrophy of that magnitude—three nuclear plants began to melt down as a consequence of an earthquake— could potentially happen in California as well. California has four plants on or near fault lines.
The organizers said they chose Mountain View's Shoreline Amphitheatre for its proximity to the Pacific Rim. It would drive the idea home.
But once in Mountain View for a press conference on the eve of the concert, they also used the city as an example of what could be at stake.
"Just coming over here feels so wonderful;, the air, the grass, everything is green here," said Aileen Miyoko-Smith, with the Green Action Network in Japan. "[Fukushima] could happen here. Just imagine everything you look is contaminated. You don't want that to happen."
Miyoko-Smith said all 54 nuclear plants in Japan sit on faultlines and that no other place resembles Japan in its seismic activity as much as California.
"Right now tens of thousands of children, and of course everybody, is living in Fukushima not being able to evacuate because the government refuses to evacuate," she said. "People are living in areas that have higher contamination than what was required for evacuation in Chernobyl."
All of the musicians and groups like Miyoko-Smith's Green Action Network in Japan advocate for the use of renewable energy as a safer and more efficient source. Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter Jason Mraz shared that his home is powered by solar energy, as are the homes of Graham Nash and Jackson Browne. Browne added that he's lived off the energy grid for years.
"It's very fitting that we are in Silicon Valley because at this moment in time, all of the financial journals and technology journals are telling us that solar energy, wind turbine, geothermal, ocean thermal, biofuel increase efficiency conservation," said Harvey Wasserman, M.U.S.E. organizer and senior advisory at Nuke Free. "All of these technologies are now cheaper than nuclear."
But as technology advances, the goal of these activisits is to create a nuclear free world.
"You have to think about it through the eyes of your children," said Nash, of Crosby Stills and Nash. "I'm 70 years old. How much longer do I really have? But our children and our grand children? They are the ones that are really going to suffer."
Musicians United for Safe Energy tickets still are available for Sunday's concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre. Price are Lawn seats $24.50; Upper Level between $45.50 and $62.85 and Lower Level $68.85 and $116.30; Silver Benefit tickets: $250.00