Powered by the sun: New solar stage lights the way for future technology

Bleeding Ear Music and Special Events have hailed their new solar-powered stage and audio system a success after showcasing local talent at the recent Fairbridge Festival.

Bleeding Ear Music founder Dave Feenstra said he was inspired to create the solar stage to make concerts more portable and accessible.

"Initially we were doing concerts and looking at ways of taking music to new audiences and new places," he said.

"We liked the idea of taking it out of venues, away from the places where you would normally do a concert and take it to a park or outdoors.

"The problem with that was you had to have a generator and the logistics are quite big as well as the costs of putting on the show."

Mr Feenstra's first design used a battery PA system, which he said "worked well".

"But I kind of thought I needed to go a bit bigger as we always do - bigger and better," he said.

"I researched all the solar technology and knew a few people in the game who gave me advice on where to go and how to do it.

"We ended up decking the van out with an entire solar package."

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The stage, which is carried on a trailer towed behind the van, is completely compact and folds out to reveal a marquee and banners.

Catering for solo or duo acts, the PA system attached is powered by one kilowatt of solar spread across four panels on top of the van, allowing for 240 vaults of electricity.

Mr Feenstra said it also has a battery management system and solar charge regulator to use in the event of bad weather or when the sun goes down.

"While we've got sunshine, I can run quite a reasonable sized PA system that we would normally run in a venue, probably suitable for about 1000 people outdoors," he said.

"We can run that indefinitely and then after hours, we probably have about six hours of power.

"So there wouldn't be too many situations where we would need more than that but we can still expand on it because I can make it bigger if we need to."

Bleeding Ear Music used the solar-powered stage for the first time at this year's Crab Fest to showcase a bunch of up-and-coming local talent.

It then featured at the recent Fairbridge Festival for performances from Quest youth songwriting competition winners as well as some Peel region artists.

Mr Feenstra said it was an honour to have his own stage at "such an iconic festival".

"It was a great little set up - the solar worked a treat and we ran all day without even dipping into the battery reserves," he said.

"Lots of people were very interested in it and how it works because I think the world is heading that way so people are interested to see how you can have real usable power from the sun.

"I'm sure somebody is doing it somewhere but I haven't seen it before so for me it's definitely a first."

Community members will able to catch the solar stage in action at this year's fifth Musical Fruit event as well as the City of Mandurah's My Park Grooves concert series, beginning in November.

Mr Feenstra is also hoping to take a few talented Peel artists out on the road for a regional tour using the self-sufficient set up.

"We want to show the rest of WA what we've got right here in the Peel region," Mr Feenstra said.

For more information about the solar stage and to keep up with all the latest from Bleeding Ear Music and Special Events, visit their Facebook page.