Dave Matthews Band, O.A.R., and former members of Phish and the Grateful Dead are among the artists participating in the "Midterms Matter Tour," a multi-city voter registration campaign staged this summer by the non-profit, nonpartisan organization HeadCount.

HeadCount registered nearly 50,000 voters in 2004, more than any all-volunteer group in the United States. This year, the organization aims to bring voter participation back to the forefront by reminding young people that "Midterms Matter," referring to the midterm elections in which one-third of the Senate and all seats in the House of Representatives are up for re-election.

More than 30 major concerts and events will be part of the tour, including the giant Bonnaroo Festival in Manchester, Tennessee in June as well as a two-day festival in August on New York City's Randall's Island headlined by Dave Matthews Band. The first event with a Headcount presence will be Summercamp, a three day festival from May 26 - May 28 in Chillicothe, Illinois featuring headliners Umphrey's McGee, moe. and The Disco Biscuits.

Other artists participating include veteran Southern rockers Allman Brothers Band, Trey Anastasio and Mike Gordon (formerly of Phish) featuring the Benevento/Russo Duo, Gov't Mule, moe. and String Cheese Incident. Ratdog, fronted by former Grateful Dead guitar player Bob Weir, and Phil Lesh & Friends, starring the Dead's former bass player, are also part of the Midterms Matter Tour.

"Democracy seems to be slipping away from us year by year," said Weir, a member of HeadCount's board of directors. "The only true way to fight against that is with our votes, while we still have a chance."

At each event, teams of volunteers will register voters while major concert acts will encourage all their fans to vote in November. The artist activities will range from stage announcements to special branding of concerts to media interviews. Sometimes, they'll even go into the crowd to register voters themselves.

Marc Brownstein, bass player for the popular electronic rock band The Disco Biscuits, serves as the organization's co-chair. "Two years ago, everyone was talking about voting, and we set out to make sure our audience was well represented at the polls," said Brownstein, whose band will appear at five Midterms Matter Tour events. "This year, our mission goes beyond that. We want to be the sparkplug that gets all of America talking about voting again."

The complete schedule of the Midterms Matter Tour events is listed below. For more information on HeadCount, please visit the newly re-designed site www.headcount.org.

05.26-28 | SummerCamp | 3 Sisters Park | Chillicothe, IL
06.03-4 | Mountain Jam | Hunter Mountain | Hunter, NY
06.09 | moe. | Festival Pier | Penn's Landing, PA
06.08-11 | Wakarusa Festival | Clinton Lake, Lawrence, KS
06.16-18 | Bonnaroo Festival | Manchester, TN
06.27 | Allman Brothers and Derek Trucks | Jones Beach | Wantagh, NY
06.30 | Phil & Friends w/ Trey/Gordon/The Duo | Tweeter Center | Camden, NJ
06.29-07.02 | High Sierra Festival | Quincy, CA
07.01 | Phil & Friends w/ Trey/Gordon/The Duo| PNC Banks Art Center | Holmdel, NJ
07.01-02 | Dave Matthews Band | Alpine Valley | East Troy, WI
07.07 | Phil & Friends w/ Trey/Gordon/The Duo | Jones Beach | Wantagh, NYB 07.11 | String Cheese Incident | Penn's Landing, PA
07.15 | O.A.R. | Charter One Pavillion | Chicago, IL
07.14-16 | All Good Festival | Marvin's Mountain Top | Masontown, WV
07.19-22 | 10,000 Lakes Festival | SoPass Ranch | Detroit Lakes, MN
07.28 | Dave Matthews Band / Soulive | Dodge Center | Hartford, CT
07.29 | Dave Matthews Band / Gov't Mule | Dodge Center | Hartford, CT
08.5-6 | DMB, Flecktones, Gov't Mule, YMSB and TLG | Randall's Island | New York, NY
08.10 | O.A.R. | Tweeter Center | Camden, NJ
08.11 | O.A.R. | PNC Banks Art | Center, Holmdel, NJ
08.17-20 | Gathering of the Vibes | Indian Lookout CC | Mariaville, NY
08.25-26 | Camp Bisco V | Hunter Mountain | Hunter, NY
09.1-3 | Dave Matthews Band / O.A.R. | The Gorge | George, WA
09.1-3 | moe.Down 7 | Snow Ridge | Turin, NY
09.8-9 | DMB / Robert Randolph Family Band | Shoreline Amp | Mountain View, CA
09.15 | DMB w/ George Clinton and Parliament Funk| First Midwest Amp | Tinley Park, IL

HeadCount, the non-profit voter registration organization with ties to The Dead, Dave Mathews Band, members of Phish and dozens of other touring acts, announced the launch of a "Leadership Training" program to give young people hands-on experience in event production and community organizing in the summer of 2006.

The program will coincide with HeadCount's "Midterms Matter Tour," a nationwide effort to register voters at festivals and major concerts this summer. The Leadership Training program is a field internship where trainees will play an active role in staging the Midterms Matter Tour, which will include about 10 concerts and festivals in each of three regions (Northeast, Midwest and Northern California).

Trainees will and also work several hours per week on various projects related to HeadCount, and participate in weekly telephone conference calls with guest speakers including the musicians, band managers and promoters who support HeadCount. The organization will pay most travel expenses and also assist with job placement in the music or non-profit sectors once the program is complete at the end of the summer. To apply, go to www.headcount.org.


[Published on: 5/26/06]

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Bear starstarstarstarstar Mon 5/8/2006 11:25PM
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This is a great opportunity to do good through your musical passions. Thank You HeadCount!

anonymous star Tue 5/9/2006 12:11PM
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thanks headcount for giving one side of the political story....BOTH political parties are doing harm to the country, but every single politically motivated concert seems to skip over how the democrats are ruining this country as much (or MORE) than that other party....jerry had it right...

Easywind1975 starstarstar Tue 5/9/2006 01:01PM
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Easy there Rush,err.. barry2, if encouraging people to vote is partisan then I guess Headcount is guilty. Do yourself a favor and research things a little before spouting off, I mean your at your computer already. Headcount is non partisan. Now if your argument is actually that encouraging attendees of "jam" concerts to vote is likely to increase the number of left leaning voters, then yeah I agree.

anonymous starstarstar Wed 5/10/2006 02:54PM
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you are right easywind1975, they are there to register only...i should have been more specific...the ATTENDEES at most shows seem to give off the vibe that (most) everything republican is bad and (most) everything democrat is good....i just wish the democrats weren't given such a free pass (from the attendees)......they are just as power hungry as republicans... i wish we could get one item through congress.....TERM LIMITS..

Beartopia starstarstarstarstar Wed 5/10/2006 04:01PM
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Everything partisan aside, our country is obviously in great need of change. Barry2 you say that the attendees of shows give off the vibe that most everything Democrat is good...I beg to differ. Certainly the "jam" scene is left leaning, and considering its roots it certainly should be. Unfortunately, I have to disagree with you and say that a sad culture prevails in our beloved scene, one of apathy, excessive drug use and skepticism. The attendees have one thing in common that make them an especially unique demographic...the love for improvisational music! Whether Democratic, Republic, or Green it is important that the "scene" fulfill its potential as a cultural entity. The Jam movement is exponentially growing in our country and in various forms all across the world; the time has come for this culture to make its stake in the future of America and the World! We should all be supporting Headcount…the future is in our hands.

rustystrings Fri 5/19/2006 02:16PM
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cool idea, but they do NOT register everyvoter they get the info fron, as my wife and I are a testament to. If there are complications, a nice lil post card may help remove the false sense that you are in fact registered, which Headcount Failed to do for us. sorry to gripe, but that is a true story. Hopefully they are better organized, but im sure puffing dank nuggets and keeping all that organized ain't easy:)))

absurditruth starstarstarstarstar Fri 5/19/2006 10:54PM
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I wouldn't be working for HeadCount if it were a partisan organization. I don't believe in party affiliation. I am one of those voters who refuses to adhere to popular systems of thought because I am more in favor of making my own decisions on an issue by issue basis. If the democrats had a stronger leader for the past election (not to say that Bush is presently the best/strongest leader... he's absolutely not) they may have had a greater chance. Decide WHAT you believe, not WHICH PARTY you are loyal to. Educate yourselves on the issues and make informed decisions based upon your values and beliefs. Democrat, Republican, Libertarian or Green... Headcount's purpose is reinforcing the civil responsibility and right to vote. It is a privilege we have for being citizens in this country... something some people are currently risking their lives to attain. I don't take my right for granted and neither should you.

pheelalrights starstarstarstarstar Fri 5/26/2006 12:43PM
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Left leaning? I would hope so. I don't think anyone can honestly say they support all democratic ideals; however, it is without doubt the lesser of two evils. What's worse is that any other choice is a wasted vote. Look no further than Gore v. Bush, popular vote? Who gives a damn? My brother's the boss down there in the hurricane state.