Moby After His Wanderlust Speakeasy photo: Bonnie Hulkower
Wanderlust Festival, the eclectic four day yoga retreat/rock concert, just culminated its second year in Lake Tahoe's scenic Squaw Valley. The festival didn't suffer from a sophomore slump, the three and four day packages, as well as Friday and Saturday day passes sold out in advance. Even halfway into the final musical set Friday night, people were still lined up to buy tickets for the concert. Moby had top billing at the event. Friday night he DJed until midnight, Saturday afternoon he played an acoustic set with Kelli Scarr, and Saturday before the concert, he gave an intimate "speakeasy" talk on why he was a vegan. Music fans were disappointed when Moby's DJ set was promptly shut down at the midnight curfew, but only a few of these fans took advantage of the speakeasy to meet Moby in a more personal setting. There was plenty of space and most walk-ins were accommodated in the cozy room where they were served tea, evol burritos and a dollop of Moby's philosophy. One might have guessed that Moby speaking to a small group of yoga practitioners about veganism was preaching to the choir, but only a handful of the forty people in the audience were vegans, most came to listen and learn or to simply meet Moby.
As Moby listed reasons for veganism that would be familiar to many TreeHugger readers, namely meat production's negative impact on water quality, land use (deforestation) and climate change, he also delved into the story of how he became a vegan. While growing up, Moby enjoyed eating meat and was wary of his mother sneaking tofu into meals, he even scoffed at a schoolmate who wouldn't play softball because the mitts were made out of leather. This all changed for Moby when he took in a sick cat named Tucker. This little sick kitten got under his skin and he realized that not only did he not want Tucker to suffer, he also didn't want any animals to suffer and therefore decided to stop eating them. Although the vet only gave the cat a life expectancy of two days, Tucker lived about 20 years and Moby has now been a vegan for at least two decades.
Moby, during the informative talk came across as funny and approachable. He used to proselytize and was so strict with his diet that he wouldn't eat vegan food if it had been cooked in a pot that ever had meat in it. Moby admitted to the audience that he "had a long period of being very annoying" and considered not speaking to his meat eating friends, but realized this wasn't an effective way to influence people. He is now trying to educate people through Gristle a book of essays co-authored with Miyun Park on the "consequences and ramifications of factory farming."
Moby assuaged attendees that his issues were with agri-business and large slaughterhouses and not with their free range backyard hens and goats (he still would not eat free range eggs or milk). He confessed that one of the most difficult parts of being vegan was that his very presence at dinner parties makes his hosts uncomfortable as they scramble to find something he could eat. He would prefer that his hosts feel at ease, as he often eats beforehand or would rather not eat for a few hours and simply enjoy the conversation. The other difficult part of being vegan for Moby as as a New Yorker is that he couldn't understand if we could land a man on the moon, and map the human genome, why couldn't he find a decent vegan pizza slice in NYC and not be tempted by the greasy smells of pizza shops.
Moby advised attendees that if they want to make a difference, they should be compassionate consumers and lobby their elected officials to no longer subsidize large corporate farms. Attendees gave Moby some advice of their own, a few recommending favorite places to get vegan slices in U.S. cities. All in all, Moby's speakeasy was food for thought, but he phrased it best when simply asked what he thought about Wanderlust: "It is a remarkable gathering of well intentioned people. It is also just a lot of fun".
More on Moby and Veganism
Hi, My Name's Moby, and I'm a Vegan (Exclusive Video)
Moby vs. Fried Chicken
More on Wanderlust
Wandering Through the Wanderlust Festival
Wanderlust Festival Co-Founder Jeff Krasno Speaks About the Festival's Green Initiatives