Voting is one of the most important roles in a democracy. Though it’s clear electoral politics aren’t enough to create lasting change and America’s two-party system slaps true democracy in the face, voting is still vital. Taking a small part of your day for something as simple as voting can help more vulnerable groups who are quite literally fearing and fighting for their lives.
In the 2016 presidential election, however, 43 percent of eligible voters—nearly 100 million people—didn’t vote.
So how can we encourage Americans to vote? Many organizations are turning to musicians for encouragement. Below are just a few of the live stream festivals that orgs have set up that you can stream if you can prove you voted.
iVote, started by Wilco’s Pat Sansone and several others, has created a huge lineup of artists to encourage voter turnout. They concentrate on swing states and reach out to local bands in those areas, which includes both large popular bands and also smaller underground groups. Fans can attend the festival by RSVP-ing with a selfie either outside of their polling place or with their blank unmarked mail-in ballot. They also allow those unable to vote to attend—underaged fans can RSVP with a video explaining what election they intended to vote in once they turn 18 and international fans can gain access per their geo-location.
In partnership with HeadCount.org, Vote Ready is throwing Music Lives On via LiveXLive to encourage voter turnout. Tune in for free to hear musicians such as All Time Low, Portugal. The Man, White Reaper, and many more talk about the importance of voting while playing you some tunes. To gain access to this show you have to confirm your voter registration here.
— LiveXLive (@livexlive) September 29, 2020
Also in partnership with HeadCount.org, Democracy Comes Alive intends not only to raise voter turnout but also to educate. Between sets of their killer musical lineup, there will be nonpartisan discussions focused on the history of voting rights and examining what it took for everyone “from the original founding fathers to women to people of color, and more” to gain the constitutionally guaranteed right to vote. Democracy Comes Alive will also provide tips and information regarding best voting practices and the most effective ways to research representatives at a national, state, and local level. You gain access to this festival by proving your voter registration on the site or donating to the organization.
These two Kentucky-based organizations have partnered to put together the “Which Side Are You On?” virtual music festival to encourage voter turnout in their own state. Hosted by Rep. Charles Booker, the online event includes musicians like Pheobe Bridges, Bright Eyes, Kelsey Walson, and many more. They will also discuss important voting details, dates, and deadlines between sets. You can gain access by registering or proving you’re registered here.
Though the live stream event from this organization passed on Voter Registration Day (Sept. 22), When We All Vote is headed by Michelle Obama and many pop stars like Selena Gomez, Faith Hill, and Janelle Monáe—so more music events are very likely to come. The recent live stream takeover featured words from the wise Michelle Obama as well as performances by musicians like DJ Khaled, H.E.R., and many others.