Rock & Road Trip To Get Out The Vote

A group of young music fans are doing their part to help promote participation in democracy by spending the summer on a road trip across the country, stopping at shows by Dave Matthews Band, Wilco, Phish and Furthur. This isn’t just another bunch of groupies but rather volunteers helping register tens of thousands of new voters.

Organized by the nonpartisan voter registration group HeadCount, “The Great American Road Trip” will collectively journey to 103 concerts, racking up more than 15,000 miles.

A team of two to four volunteers is assigned to each band and will attend nearly every show of the respective act’s tours. The teams will get help registering voters from up to 10 local volunteers in each city. More than 1,000 people will participate in the nationwide “Great American Road Trip.”

Photo: John Davisson
Bridge School Benefit, Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, Calif.

The team assigned to cover Dave Matthews Band’s summer tour is hitting the road in a Volkswagen Routan minivan, thanks to Volkswagen of America, Inc. and Dave Matthews Band’s Bama Works Fund, which are covering all of the volunteers’ travel costs. You can follow along on their adventures by reading the group’s travel journal posts on HeadCount’s blog. After leaving HeadCount headquarters in New York City, the group’s first show of the road trip was a May 18 stop in The Woodlands, Texas, at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. Tonight the volunteers will register new voters in Charlotte, N.C., at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre.


Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, Tenn.

Since being founded in 2004 by Marc Brownstein of Disco Biscuits and Andy Berstein, author of the Phish fan guide “The Pharmer’s Almanac,” HeadCount has held voter registration drives at over 2,000 concerts and signed up more than 175,000 voters.

In 2008, over 72 percent of the voters registered by HeadCount showed up to the polls to vote, according to an independent study by Washington, D.C.-based New Organizing Institute.

If you’re a music lover (age 18 or older) who’d like to help out, you can sign up to volunteer at