New Horizons For Headcount
As a nationwide voter registration group, Headcount participates in a conversation about the importance of voting for all Americans. However, reaching beyond a niche social group dictated that the discussion start within our own circles. Our voice was usually heard by the same demographic time and time again: the Jamband fan.
The need to broaden the scope of Headcounts work seemed only natural during the buildup to this Novembers national election. To do this, we needed to bring our banners, clipboards, and message (VOTE!) to many new crowds. We started to look for new bands, venues, regions, partners, and people to encourage more civic participation throughout the country. Jambands are still the backbone of our organization, but we have extended to enter different scenes, both at national and local levels. Pearl Jam, Megadeath, Jack Johnson, John Mayer, O.A.R., and Colin Meloy of The Decembrists are just a few artists who have joined us. But its our networking, industry connections, and the strong reputation that Headcount boasts which will allow us to add many others.
At the local level, we have been able to develop partnerships with promoters, venues, and smaller bands. The San Francisco Bay Area team began working with Live Nation to register voters at their larger amphitheater shows. We kicked off this partnership with a Stevie Wonder show in Concord, CA on July 8. A hot, smoky afternoon at 113 degrees, we encountered mainstream music fans for the first time. Most did not know who HeadCount is and were apprehensive and distrusting. It was a difficult show. In fact, parents were telling their children to NOT register with us. One week later at a Police show at the same venue, we experienced a completely different sentiment, with parents bringing their children to our booth to register. Like the Jamband scene, our new friends in Concord were beginning to acknowledge and endorse Headcounts message as legitimate.
Our San Francisco team also went to the Shoreline Amphitheater for the Mayhem Festival. A day long heavy metal event, we saw fans of all ages pumping their fists, moshing, and head-banging to their music. Our fearless team set out into the crowd with the same message that we bring to any concert; VOTE! The crowd was different only in the way they expressed themselves through language and demeanor. Fans who wanted nothing to do with voting still gave a personal reason why, most saying they didnt believe in government. Those who did need to register brought the same feeling of optimism and curiosity that I have seen at a dozen Jamband shows this year.
Activism, in general, is an attempt to educate people about a certain issue that impassions the activist. Experiencing different climates for outreach as an activist is tantamount to the artist searching for new fans for his or her work. Artists express the feelings and emotions that drive their humanness, and its due to inherent qualities which we all share that these artists are able to connect with many different kinds of people. Similarly, so can Headcount connect with any American who wants to participate in the democratic process, and we look forward to engaging them, too!!