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Earth Day music festival expands to 8 cities

The 2008 Green Apple Festival won’t “change the world,” Green Apple founder/executive producer Peter Shapiro says, but this year’s third installment of the event will expand from three locations to eight U.S. city parks for simultaneous outdoor festivals on April 20. In an effort to raise the profile of Earth Day (April 22), producers of the Green Apple Festival, in collaboration with the Earth Day Network and presenting sponsor Chase, will set up free concerts in New York (Central Park), Washington, D.C. (the National Mall), Chicago (Lincoln Park Zoo), Miami (Bicentennial Park), Denver (City Park), Dallas (Fair Park), San Francisco (Golden Gate Park) and Los Angeles (Santa Monica Pier).

No artists have yet been confirmed, but “we’re looking to have as an eclectic lineup as we can,” Shapiro says, adding that about four “big acts” will perform in each city.

During the two days before the festival, approximately 150 music clubs across the country will be enlisted to help spread the message of environmental awareness. Each venue will be encouraged to use environmentally friendly supplies, such as biodegradable cleaning materials and recycled napkins and paper towels. In addition, “We’re going to encourage the talent at all of these shows to acknowledge from the stage that it’s Earth Day,” says Shapiro, who owned the now-closed environmentally focused New York venue Wetlands Preserve.

“We’ll also ask the bands to make a contribution to an environmentally oriented charity of their choice.”

With such acts as Bob Weir & Ratdog, the Decemberists, Taylor Hicks, Stephen Marley and Kaiser Chiefs, last year’s festival, billed as the largest carbon-neutral event of its kind, took place in New York, Chicago and San Francisco.

Shapiro says the shows drew 15,000, 40,000 and 25,000 people, respectively. He hopes the 2008 fest will draw 500,000 concertgoers across the board.

“What’s exciting is that Green Apple will be the biggest Earth Day event in the country,” he says.

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