Dave Matthews Band Voter Registration: So Begins Another Inane 'Rock the Vote' Season

Categories: Music

davematthews.jpg

In a choice between voting, and dying for 12 months and never
having to hear an idiot musician tell me to "Vote or Die," I take
death. Liberty should mean not having to listen to this stupid crap:

HeadCount, the volunteer-run voter registration organization that registered nearly 50,000 voters in 2004 through alliances with Dave Matthews Band and other artists, has announced an ambitious plan to stage voter registration drives at more than 500 concerts over the next year, with a goal of registering 200,000 new voters.

HeadCount will be the only national organization to stage voter registration at
concerts on a large scale in 2008, employing registration methods it has tested
and perfected over the last three years.

Virginia McEnerney, the former Vice President of Corporate Relations at Time Warner Inc., has been named the first full-time executive director of the non-profit organization, which to this point had been run entirely by volunteers. Dave Matthews Band, the Allman Brothers Band, and members of Phish and the Grateful Dead continue to be aligned with HeadCount, along with new
artists such as O.A.R.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

HEADCOUNT PLANS TO REGISTER UP TO 200,000 NEW VOTERS THROUGH LIVE CONCERTS

Former Time Warner Executive Joins Forces with Artists, Volunteers to Lead Young
Organization

NEW YORK, NY -- November 6, 2007 - HeadCount, the volunteer-run voter
registration organization that registered nearly 50,000 voters in 2004 through
alliances with Dave Matthews Band and other artists, has announced an ambitious
plan to stage voter registration drives at more than 500 concerts over the next
year, with a goal of registering 200,000 new voters.

HeadCount will be the only national organization to stage voter registration at
concerts on a large scale in 2008, employing registration methods it has tested
and perfected over the last three years.

Virginia McEnerney, the former Vice President of Corporate Relations at Time
Warner Inc., has been named the first full-time executive director of the
non-profit organization, which to this point had been run entirely by
volunteers. Dave Matthews Band, the Allman Brothers Band, and members of Phish
and the Grateful Dead continue to be aligned with HeadCount, along with new
artists such as O.A.R.

“What HeadCount has accomplished to this point is nothing short of remarkable,”
said McEnerney, who spent 10 years with Time Warner before leaving the company
in 2005 to become an independent consultant to non-profit organizations. “I
believe we are poised to step from being an entirely grassroots operation, to
becoming a nationwide force and spreading participation in democracy to an even
broader audience.”

HeadCount is using the occasion of Election Day to announce details of its 2008
strategic plan and make a call for volunteers to join the street teams that
register voters at concerts.
Volunteers can sign up at www.headcount.org. For the first time, some will be
eligible for modest, performance-based stipends, marking another important step
in HeadCount’s evolution.

The volunteer network will form street teams in approximately 50 U.S. cities,
each working with affiliated bands and promoters to set up voter registration
tables at concerts. The organization will also send volunteers on the road with
major artists, an approach that helped register over 12,000 new voters on the
Dave Matthews Band tour in 2004 – an all-time record for a single concert tour.

In addition, HeadCount has invested in state-of-the-art voter registration
software and expects to register tens of thousands of voters through
www.headcount.org. This activity will be buttressed by extensive
“get-out-the-vote” activity, working directly with artists to encourage people
of all ages to head to the polls in 2008.

“If we don’t protect democracy today, there won’t be a democracy to protect in a
few years,” said former Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir, a member of
HeadCount’s board of directors. “I think for the younger folks this is
particularly important, because the decisions we make will largely affect the
rest of their lives.”

HeadCount not only gives people the opportunity to register to vote, it offers
thousands of young music fans a taste of activism. Volunteers receive intensive
training in voter registration guidelines and practices, and get hands-on
experience on community organizing.

Marc Brownstein, bass player for the popular electronic rock band The Disco
Biscuits, continues to serve as HeadCount’s co-chair.

“This was something we started as a dream, just a crazy idea that we believed we
could pull off,” said Brownstein, who founded the organization along with
longtime friend Andy Bernstein, author of a series of books about the group
Phish. “Now it’s almost four years later, and we are in it for the long-term. We
hope HeadCount leaves a permanent imprint on the live music community, forever
getting fans more engaged in the political system and democracy itself.”

# # #

View a short video profile of HeadCount at www.headcount.org or
http://youtube.com/watch?v=pmJtLZVxTfQ. Features interviews with Bob Weir, Bela
Fleck and many other top artists.

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