Posted by: Nick | June 2, 2009

Bike to Bonnaroo from Kentucky? Ben Sollee Is Doing Just That!

Okay,Cellist Ben Sollee is running in the photo, but he will be biking to Bonnaroo through The Hills Of Kentucky & Tennessee from June 4 – 14.  I’m thinking about making the trip to Danville if my body can survive the 35 miles from Lexington on my Schwinn.  Ben’s going to update start points and times on Twitter (@bensollee)

Ben Sollee – Only a Song (ft. Jim James) (lyrics)
Ben Sollee – Mute Bullhorn

More info on the trip…

“Ben Sollee’s set was rousing and riveting; by the third song (a reworking of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come”)…By the time Sollee was halfway through the show, the crowd was fairly mesmerized…Sollee brings the cello out of the realm of classical music and makes it a part of the people’s music…He plays it as funky, country, Appalachian, classical, bluesy, and folksy. Sometimes all in the same song, and it works every time.” – Silas House

On June 4th, Kentucky-born songwriter Ben Sollee will help redefine regional touring by strapping his 1930’s Kay cello to his bicycle and pedal 35 miles from Lexington to Danville, KY – then onward to a different Appalachia town nightly until reaching Bonnaroo on June 11th.

“I always felt like I was missing something during the high speed transportation of conventional touring,” says Ben who aligned with Xtracycle (extended-frame bicycles) for the trip, inspired by its technology to haul gear with relative ease. “I’m hoping the limitations of traveling by bike will cause me to be more present at each place, and be a part of the community.”

The tour has also aligned with Oxfam America, a relief and development organization that works to find lasting solutions for poverty, hunger and injustice. “I suspect there will be some moments when I question the wisdom of hauling 60 lbs. of equipment on a bike through the hills of Southern Appalachia. But it’s important to me.”
Ben is currently touring in support of his second full-length ‘Learning to Bend’ and digital EP ‘Something Worth Keeping’ (featuring the duet “Only a Song” with Jim James of My Morning Jacket). Look for his a new project in late 2009 to promote awareness of the Mountain Top Removal organization, featuring Jim James and Daniel Martin Moore.


June 4 Frankfort, KY KY Coffee Tree Café
June 5 Danville, KY Danville Community Arts Center
June 6 Brea, KY Brea Coffee and Tea (a/k/a Berea)
June 7 Somerset, KY Carnegie Arts Center
June 8 Albany, KY Clinton county Public Library
June 9 Cookeville, TN Backdoor Playhouse at TN Tech
June 10 McMinnville, TN Capalano’s
June 11-14 Manchester, TN Bonnaroo


  1. “Brea” is actually “Berea.”
    Might make the trip back there to see him. It’s a lovely place. As is Berea Coffee and Tea.

  2. This is fantastic! I’ve been thinking about biking to Pitchfork, but not with my cello (which, coincidentally, is a Kay as well)

    Y’know, I think I just might bike to Frankfort on Thursday. Solidarity.

    But not with my cello.

  3. So, yeah, anyone up for riding from Louisville to Frankfort with me on Thursday (and/or back on Friday), let me know.

  4. Please! Some of you guys ride along with Ben, at least for one or another leg of the trip. More riders mean greater safety. I’d be there myself, but at my advanced age I’m too rickety.

  5. Ha! That bike ride through Austin video is epic! Those guys look like they’re having a ball and doing good stuff at the same time. Much respect to them. Great idea on the tour too. Wish I was on that side of the country to see one of the concerts.

  6. Hey guys,

    Be sure to swing out by the Community Arts Center in Danville to catch the show. I’m the program director there and want to be sure we have a big turnout. $7.50 at the door – and you don’t have to ride a bike – unless you want to …

  7. The Carnegie Community Arts Center is ready for a good showing for Ben on Sunday evening at 4pm! Hope to see everyone there!

  8. I’m calling off my solidarity trip to Frankfort. Cycling by myself with no rain is fine. Cycling with company in the rain is fine. But cycling by myself in the rain on state highways is no go.

    Good luck to Ben and the crew.

  9. Please help us spread the word about Ben’s show at CAPALANOS in McMinnville, TN – just 20 minutes from Bonnaroo.

    Be The Bean

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