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Taken from Arizona Daily Star (Sep 24, 2017)

Start your OV music fest finale with a little yoga, Franti tail party

by Cathalena E. Burch, Arizona Daily Star

Michael Franti, center, spent the summer playing music festival like Oro Valley' this weekend. Credit: Chelsea Klette

Michael Franti likes to think of it as a "Whole Foods tailgate party": Gather with a bunch of strangers who like your music and your message, ask them to bring a dish to pass and bond over some concentrated stretching and deep philosophical discussions.

In the world of celebrity meet-and-greets, this one could be the most interesting.

“I spent this last summer doing what we call yoga meet-ups before our shows. We let people know through Facebook and our other social media and we tell them where to meet," Franti said early this month from home in San Francisco. "The great thing about it is it’s a like yoga class, kind of light and playful. But then we have a chance to sit around and talk."

It's all part of Michael Franti & Spearhead's Love Out Loud Tour, which he is bringing to the 2017 Oro Valley Music Festival Sunday, Oct. 1. Franti and the band are set to perform early evening just ahad of Gavin DeGraw on day two of the third annual festival.

“We’re just super excited," said Franti, who has been a regular to Rialto Theatre over the years including a show in August 2016. "We play festivals all summer long and it’s kind of our favorite thing to do. We love the energy of people ... and celebrating life through music.”

Franti is on a lineup that includes LeAnn Rimes, the indie-pop sibling act Echosmith and headliners Train.

“We love Train and I’ve known Pat (lead singer Patrick Monahan) for 20 years. We’re good buddies; we text each other all over the world," said the 50-year-old Franti, who has shared the stage with Train a number of times over the years.

Franti's show will draw from his 2016 album “Soul Rocker” and tracks — a fusion of pop, reggae, rap, rock and spoken word — from the eight other albums he's released in his nearly 25-year career. Expect an energetic romp and don't be surprised if Franti pops into the crowd. It's his career-long MO.

He might also sprinkle in some political commentary; the topic of climate control is weighing on his mind after having to cancel a couple shows this summer due to the Western wildfires.

“You know when you’re at a campfire and suddenly the wind shifts your way and there’s all this smoke and heat in your face. When we got off the tour bus that’s what it felt like," he said of an Oregon show in August. "The National Weather Service listed it as 'hazardous'. We were like this is not good."

“When we are putting the millions of tons of carbon emissions in the air, it has an effect — it’s science," he added. "And I defer to scientists before politicians, who are very skilled at making arguments to benefit the people that they serve, but they are not doing science every day. So I defer to scientists."

Franti's Love Out Loud Tour kinda spins off that theme of speaking out passionately about "the world we want to achieve and loving out loud in the space" of our communities, families and neighborhoods.

“There’s so much division that we see on the news everyday, but truthfully when I’m in an elevator with a stranger, or when I’m walking down the street or I’m in an airport, we’re a lot meaner to eachother online than we are face-to-face," Franti said. "And I take comfort in that. I make music to try to have powerful, positive moments when people can come together and reaffirm that.”

He also takes comfort in his yoga meetups, which create for him a true sense of community.

"It's a chance for me to get to know people face-to-face," he said. “It’s been a really fun way to get to know people and share what’s on people’s minds.”


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