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Salt Lake event to ‘step up’ environment awareness

Musicians to sing as families learn about global warming

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Global warming is a hot topic today.

So Salt Lake City is joining 1,000 other cities nationwide to raise awareness about the fragility of the world's environment with a music and education event called "Step It Up."

Salt Lake City's festivities will be Saturday, headlined by the Grammy-winning band Los Lobos.

"It's like those awareness rallies of the 1970s," said Talitha Day, director of the Gallivan Center and Community Events. "It's like the 'No Nukes' festival. There will be live music, food and information kiosks that will educate the public about our environment."

The idea for Salt Lake's "Step It Up" program came to Mayor Rocky Anderson when he went to a convention in Washington, D.C., according to Day. "He was handed a flier that advertised (that city's 'Step It Up' event). He went and was blown away."

One of the speakers was environmental writer Bill McKibben, author of "The End of Nature," said Day. "The mayor joined him for dinner and that's when the idea for Salt Lake to hold a 'Step It Up' event formed."

That was three weeks ago. Since then, Anderson has been doing his own fund-raising so that city money won't be used, said Day. "He got home and immediately began calling everyone he knew to get some funds for the event. He wanted to make sure it would be a free event where families could come. It's a family event."

In addition to Los Lobos, other musical acts will include Blue Haiku, the Salt Lake City Alternative Jazz Band, Motherlode Canyon Band, Salty Rootz and singer/songwriters Brenn Hill. "All of the artists are excited to be a part of the event," said Day. "Los Lobos are great to work with. They are a fun band that reaches everyone. They even are performing for minimal pay, as are the other bands.

"And Blue Haiku has been commissioned to compose a new work especially for the event, and Park City Mayor Dana Williams' band, Motherlode Canyon Band, will also be performing."

There will be 10 computers on site where the public can e-mail their congressional representatives about global-warming concerns. "We also will have phone numbers and other ways to contact our representatives," said Day. "The whole idea of 'Step It Up' is a call to action. And it is especially important for children to attend, because the environmental issues will impact them directly in a few years."

If you go

What: "Step It Up," Los Lobos, Salty Roots, Brenn Hill, Blue Haiku, Salt Lake City Alternative Jazz Band, Motherlode Canyon Band

Where: Washington Square, 400 S. State

When: Saturday, 3-10 p.m.

How much: free

E-mail: scott@desnews.com