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June 17, 2019

In Shadow of new Tennessee Voter Registration Law, HeadCount sets Voter Registration Record at Bonnaroo

HeadCount, the organization that partners with musicians to register voters, broke it’s all-time record for any single festival by registering 1,390 voters at this year’s Bonnaroo, smashing the previous high mark of 1,211 voters set in 2016. The grassroots team of volunteers registered voters from all but 5 U.S. states.

Since 2004, HeadCount has registered nearly 600,000 voters at over 7,500 concerts and music festivals.

“This is incredible. Essentially a year and a half away from the 2020 election, we are already seeing this level of excitement from young Americans about voting” says Andy Bernstein, HeadCount’s Executive Director. “2018 saw a more than 50% increase in youth voter turnout in Midterms, I can only imagine what this type of momentum this will create for 2020.”

This all is in the shadow of a new law in Tennessee which would call for criminal penalties against voter registration groups for missteps in the voter registration process.

This law, which won’t go into effect until October, creates civil and criminal liability for any registration efforts that do not follow new legislative mandated procedures for voter registration drives. This could potentially harm organizations like HeadCount, which helped add voters to rolls across the country this weekend at Bonnaroo and dozens of other events, including Ariana Grande concerts, Pride marches and the Mountain Jam festival in Bethel, New York.

“It’s clear that Tennessee has a need for community voter registration drives like the one we hold every year at Bonnaroo,” said HeadCount’s Director of Engagement Tappan Vickery. “I just hope that we will continue to be able to provide these services in the future without risk of fines or prosecution.”

HeadCount has plans to register voters at thousands more concerts, festivals and cultural events before the 2020 election, with the goal of registering more than 200,000 voters by the next presidential election.


Contact: Aaron Ghitelman, aarong@headcount.org, 718-938-5325

About HeadCount:
HeadCount harnesses the power of music to drive social change. Since 2004, HeadCount has registered over 580,000 voters, and helped organize various initiatives in the live music community to promote civic participation. In their role as the organizing arm of the live music scene, HeadCount has hosted activism villages at over 100 concerts & festivals and has raised close to $10 million for other music-industry non-profits. With 30,000 volunteers, street teams in most major U.S. cities and affiliations with over 200 touring musicians, HeadCount ranks as one of the largest and most active music-based non-profit organizations in America.