Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Power Down: London's Carbon Neutral Night of Music

Now here's a thing - a carbon neutral music night, and not a carbon offset in sight. Instead, only natural acoustics, candlelight and organic booze (unrefrigerated of course - but that's not a problem as it's so cold outside anyway). Sounds delightful, rather romantic and, well, rather unusual.

But wait - is that a negative factor? I don't think so. Infact, it's all been rather well thought through - and such is it's success that it's now onto it's third outing. There's a serious message behind it all. Power Down strives to make fundamental changes in the way events are organised and run, without using off-setting services. Instead energy conservation and efficiency are the name of the game. When you enter into a space that is lit by candlelight and listen to music without the usual array of stage amplification, whilst supping Buddles organic beer that is thankfully cold due to being stored outside, it does make you stop and pause for thought. It can be done - and Power Down is doing it with the lightest of carbon footprint. No acoustic guitars here, thank you very much (how very last century they are).

Even the candles are made from recycled materials. Second hand vegetable oil from a local fish and chip shop has been mixed with unused wax from redundant candles to make new candles. No worries, the fishy smell has long gone (and anyway Islington chippies tend to be rather pucker affairs).

So, go along and have your preconceptions challenged - Power Down aims to bring a large array of genres to an open minded audience, from Hip-Hop, to Jazz, to Pop, to yes, Folk. There is no reason why all of these different art forms, as dependent on electricity and modern computing as they seem, cannot be stripped bare to their acoustic core. Present a musician with this task, and let's see the result. Who knows what it will sound like. Hopefully it will be intimate, intense and enlightening from the lack of barriers between the audience and the artist, air being the only remaining medium.

When: Saturday, 15th December
Where: the Islington Arts Factory, 2 Parkhurst Rd, Holloway, N7 0SF

Oh, and there will be mistletoe. With lots of dark corners, who knows what the night may bring....



strunny said...

this is such a neat idea...

wanted to share this w/you - you prob know about it already, but just in case.

Crafty Green Poet said...

What a brilliant idea, excellent! Much better than holding something requiring lots of resources and then offsetting.

Sarah Krasley said...

Did you attend this event? What was it like? I'd love to know more!

Polly Higgins said...

Sadly I couldn't make it in the end - and apologies for delay in response (seasonal lurgy has kept from blogging over the festive period. But fear not, I will be back soon). Meanwhile, I shall invite the brains behind Powerdown, Marmaduke Dando, to tell us how it went...over to you Marm...

Marmaduke Dando Hutchings said...

Glad to hear there's some interest in "sustainable" entertainment. It was a wonderful night, held in an old church hall, reused and remade candles everywhere, that i had melted down and mixed with second hand vegetable oil from the local fish and chip shop. The performers sang their hearts out to a silent and attentive audience, all completely unamplified, using just the acoustics of the hall for effect. My flat mate had made a large batch of mince pies, which contained mostly organic ingredients. We also had home made mulled wine, mistletoe everywhere (though i think that was underused from what i could tell!), and all the drinks on sale were organic and locally much as possible. It was quite a night, and it always seems a little odd for me to blow the trumpet of my own ideas, but everyone involved, staff, performers and audience enjoyed every minute of it, mainly i guess because there's nothing quite like it: no harsh and loud music, no boring bands you'd wish would shut-up so you can start talking, no unfriendly bar staff, no unfriendly customers etc.

So please, if you're in London, do come along, you are very welcome. If you'd like to see some of the photos from the last Power Down, please visit

and have a look at our site for more information on the next event, which is not set as yet, but should be some time in late march, early april.

All the best,

Marmaduke Dando

Marmaduke Dando Hutchings said...

If anyone is interested, the next Power Down will be this Saturday, March 1st, 2008, at the Islington Arts Factory in Holloway, London, UK. The line-up is truly sublime, which you can check out in advance from the link below. There will be organic beers, wines and spirits, and organic Burmese cuisine, oooh! Hope to see you there,

Marmaduke Dando Hutchings