For me, the tentative approach of spring here in the Northeast always means one thing—more concerts, especially at outdoor venues. In fact, this week our Oxfam Action Corps and CHANGE Leaders will be leading outreach teams at our first shows on new tours by Spoon, Nada Surf, and Devendra Banhart.
In the months ahead, you’ll probably see our Oxfam tables at all types of shows, of all kinds of genres, in venues large and small (and you can find our latest tour dates here). But perhaps the largest venue we’ve ever worked is the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, TN, which accommodates approximately 80,000 music fans each June. Bonnaroo gives us the chance to work side-by-side with a host of other organizations doing important work with environmental and social justice issues.
One of those organizations is HeadCount, whose mission is to register voters and inspire participation in democracy through the power of music. Oxfam and HeadCount worked together on a voter’s guide for the 2008 election, where we enlisted the voices of artists like The Decemberists, O.A.R., and Bob Weir of Ratdog and The Grateful Dead to help educate new and young voters on issues of poverty and injustice.
Last month HeadCount invited Oxfam America to participate in Music for Action, an initiative that offers fans a full album’s worth of live tracks recorded at Bonnaroo by some of music’s biggest artists. When fans download the album, they’re given the opportunity to take action on climate change by sending a letter or email to their legislators.
So far, Music for Action has been a roaring success. Of the 39,000 people who’ve downloaded the album (which features Pearl Jam, Wilco, Guster, Death Cab For Cutie, My Morning Jacket, and more), 77 percent have chosen to take action, sending a total of 52,000 emails to US Senators. And with a crucial climate change bill now on the table, the timing couldn’t be better.
“The musicians we work with are very passionate about this topic and have great power to drive change,” said HeadCount’s Executive Director Andy Bernstein. “Their music will serve as a soundtrack for action.”
Check out Music for Action to add your voice and download some of the Best of Bonnaroo.