This past Sunday, our intrepid band of XRT interns headed to Grant Park for the fourth annual Climate Cycle “Ride to Recharge” (it was the fourth time the ride had taken place, but the first time XRT acted as its sponsor). None of us had previously heard of Climate Cycle, but after a bit of research we learned that is an organization working to bring renewable energy to schools. The Ride to Recharge is aimed at raising money for the organization, with participating cyclists biking anywhere from 4 to 125 miles for the cause.
The Ride proved a marked contrast from the usual XRT-sponsored events myself and my fellow interns have already attended during the course of the summer. For one, the events and/or festivals at which we work generally feature a host of well-known or up-and-coming bands as headliners, such as the Heartless Bastards, the Antlers, or Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. At the Ride to Recharge we had the opportunity to experience the musical stylings of somewhat lesser-known artists, including “The Human Beatbox” Yuri Lane, Environmental Encroachment (a circus band whose members all wore rabbit ears), and Zmick. Lane, who also acted as emcee, informed his audience that he had “over 18 million hits on YouTube” before proceeding to beatbox and play the harmonica simultaneously, as well as rap about bicycling and “pump-pump-pumping up your tires!” The other interns and I were bowled over upon learning that Lane does, in fact, have upwards of 15 million views on YouTube. We scored a couple free Zmick CD’s as well, which the mother of one of the band members handed to us with the exclamation, “Aren’t they great? That’s my kid!” The musical highlight of the afternoon was a high school choir, who, after only two rehearsals together, offered beautifully-harmonized renditions of various hits, including a fantastic rendition of “He Lives in You” from the Lion King. All of us agreed that we definitely wouldn’t mind owning the choir’s CD.
However, what I found most notable about our stint at Climate Cycle was the extent to which I’ve already begun to appreciate XRT’s generous following in the Chicagoland area. The XRT tent is normally the stopping place for numerous fans who tell us how much they love the station and that they have “been listening to XRT since before we were born”; at the Ride to Recharge, on the other hand, most visitors to the tent had never heard of XRT (the only exception to this statement was a young girl who told us that Lin Brehmer was her best friend). And as much as I enjoy seeing the excitement on the faces of passersby after they sign up to win VIP Lollapalooza tickets from the station, it hardly compares to the joy of talking to our longtime listeners. So stop by our tent this summer, friends of XRT, and let us know what you think of the station. We’ll appreciate it more than you know.