“I don’t think I remember the first 10 years of it,” says bassist Stefan Lessard of his quarter century tenure with Dave Matthews Band.
He joined the classic jam band as a teenager back in the early 1990s and hasn’t looked back. Instead, Lessard chooses to look forward to the future and the endless possibilities that await.
Village Green | Open 5-10 p.m.
Live music | 7-10:30 p.m.
Village Green | Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Live music | 2-10:30 p.m.
Village Green | Open 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Live music | 3-6 p.m.
This weekend he will be joining musical contemporaries Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, Mike Musburger of The Posies, Sully Erna of Godsmack and Nate Ruess of Fun. to create supergroup Secret Stash. They will be playing a special Saturday night concert at the base of KT-22 along with Dispatch and Allen Stone at Squaw Valley in support of the inaugural Creating Equilibrium conference from Aug. 25 to 27.
“It’s a really smart move to think outside the box and put together groups that can be in a beautiful place while some amazing work is going on. To be the entertainment for this event is an honor and right down my alley.” – Stefan Lessard
The conference, which is the brainchild of visionary author Steven Kolter, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Gabrielle Hull, Squaw Valley Institute’s Matt Readon and music producer Antony Randall, bills itself as a “radical solutions forum, immersive laboratory and music festival focused on generating environmentally impactful innovations in a progressive space.” It will feature two days of conferences with leaders from professors and CEOs to pro athletes and YouTube celebrities — set to a backdrop of music by rock, pop and indie superstars.
There will also be public art displays focused on climate change as part of the conference including a 3D augmented reality art experience, sculptures of endangered species made from trash, a participatory metal sculpture, and the “Junk and Gyre” traveling show. All of the displays and music will be on the Village Green at the base of KT-22 at no charge.
“At this moment, it’s important to surround yourself with people who are looking for solutions to the different problems and equations going on,” says Lessard. “It’s a really smart move to think outside the box and put together groups that can be in a beautiful place while some amazing work is going on. To be the entertainment for this event is an honor and right down my alley.”
Secret Stash played its first show a few years back at a birthday party for snowboarding pioneer Jake Burton in Killington, Vt.
“Mike [McCready] and I took the reins and started bringing people in,” says Lessard. “When a bunch of guys get together who’ve never played before, we talk through music. We all have our homework to practice and we’ll get together in Tahoe a few days before the show to rehearse. If anyone wants to play any of his songs, it’s all on the table. It’s kind of like going back to our youth and being a garage band again. We are really just a super-glorified cover band.”
The band and its revolving cast were named after the members’ shared love of snowboarding. In fact, Lessard met his wife while riding at Heavenly.
“We crashed into each other at 50 miles per hour and we’ve been together ever since,” he says.
Lessard believes that artists hold both the opportunity and obligation to positively affect their world. For example, Dave Matthews Band regularly sources its food locally while on the road and offsets their carbon emissions of their biodiesel tour buses.
“Music is vibration that can be both negative or positive,” he says. “It’s the responsibility of bands who are successful to be aware of their surroundings and leave behind as little as possible.”
Lessard also sees music as a metaphor for the necessity of progression, authenticity and broadmindedness in the approach to sustainability and change.
“Playing music from your heart and not trying to be someone you’re not is of utmost importance,” he says. “Miles Davis was always criticized for changing his style, but it did a lot of good for himself and the people around him to explore those new domains.”
Likewise, Creating Equilibrium seeks to bring to together visionary leaders of diverse disciplines in order to find solutions to the fundamental problems facing the world today.
“It’s good for humans to get together and discuss what’s working and what’s not when it comes to the environment and economic systems,” Lessard says. “It’s even better with people who have opposing ideas because then you get different angles to it. The old school might stand up to some of these ideas going forward, but you can’t stand against the current of progress.”
The full musical lineup was still being finalized as of press time. For more information and the full schedule, visit creatingequilibrium.com.