, the non-partisan, non-profit voter registration organization run by grassroots-oriented musicians, fans and promoters announced that it has eclipsed its voter registration goals for the recent "Midterms Matter Tour." The organization registered over 5,000 new voters on a budget of less than $25,000.
The Midterms Matter tour included over 30 events. Highlights included the Bonnaroo festival, the Phil Lesh
tour and a dozen dates with Dave Matthews Band
"We set out to bring attention to the Midterm elections and prove how efficient a grassroots, music-oriented registration group can be," said HeadCount co-chair Andy Bernstein. "This summer was all about creating a scaleable model. In 2008 we will have an even louder voice and broader presence."
Dave Matthews Band’s Bama Works Foundation
donated $15,000 to HeadCount, financing much of the activity. Relix Magazine also made significant donations to HeadCount, as did several private donors.
Artists supported HeadCount in other ways, and many actually sat at the HeadCount booths and helped fans register to vote. Among those taking a turn with a clipboard were Warren Haynes
of Gov't Mule
, former Phish
bass player Mike Gordon, banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck
, Al Schnier of moe
, and the entire lineups of Umphrey's McGee
and The Disco Biscuits
HeadCount is one of the few music-based voter registration organizations making an active stand during this election year, and is the only major voter registration organization run by volunteers.
Its artist-based efforts will continue through the election, as the group expects to generate over one million dedicated e-mails in the next month reminding people to vote, via affiliated musicians and their extensive e-mail databases.
HeadCount co-chair Marc Brownstein, bass player for the popular electronic rock band The Disco Biscuits, expressed his gratitude to every other artist, fan or benefactor who has supported the organization. "It’s amazing to see the great musicians of the world get behind our organization," says Brownstein. "We built HeadCount at the grassroots level, and I think that’s something artists big and small all identify with."
Headcount was formed in 2004 in advance of the presidential election, and lists artists such as Ratdog
's Bob Weir
as members of its board of directors. Weir, touring with the band RatDog regularly steps to the microphone and implores young fans to vote "Democracy seems to be slipping away from us year by year," Weir said recently. "The only true way to fight against that is with our votes, while we still have a chance."
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