In 2009, Ben Sollee, with some help from Oxfam America, rode from his hometown of Lexington, Kentucky, to Bonnaroo Festival, playing shows in small towns along the way. Later that year, Sollee embarked on a 500-mile, 16-day tour along the East Coast Greenway during the frigid winter months.
In 2010, as bands are increasingly partnering up with environmental and social justice organizations to bring attention causes they believe in, Sollee and crew have partnered up with Kentucky Coffeetree Cafe on a tour with a much more personal meaning. Their "Ditch The Van Tour" might have a name that implies an environmentally-motivated inspiration, but that is merely a perk. The main message Sollee and crew are hoping to spread is one of community-building and simply taking a slow breath in our hectic lives. Additionally, Sollee and crew are embarking on this journey with the idea that this could, in fact, be a viable touring option for bands. "Ditch The Van" is just as much business-minded as it is substance-minded.
When we caught up with Sollee on the telephone, he was riding an Amtrak train from Santa Barbara to Salinas, California. It was a brief respite for the group, so that they could continue the Northern California leg of their bike tour freshly recouped.
15 September, 2010