Dating back to HeadCount’s 2004 launch, we viewed the organization’s ultimate purpose as stretching well beyond voter registration. Our very first action plan called for HeadCount to serve as a “grassroots organizing arm of the live music community.” Our purpose, in the broadest sense, was to foster civic participation among fans of live music and to create an “infrastructure for action.” These are words I remember writing with great anticipation six years ago.
Now, with the launch of two initiatives – Bisco Power Mission and our Best of Bonnaroo climate change campaign (more info next week) – a key part of that vision is becoming reality.
Bisco Power Mission, specifically, is a model for the sort of activity we’d like to share with other bands or organizations. It all starts with a simple question: “What do you believe in?” For members of The Disco Biscuits, one answer is clean and sustainable energy. So HeadCount conceived, organized, and executed a plan with the band to fund a solar panel installation at a Philadelphia public school. We’ll do this by staging a special benefit concert on March 21 at Brooklyn Bowl, the nation’s largest LEED Certified (environmentally friendly) concert venue.
From the early planning stages right up to today’s official announcement, this has epitomized what we envisioned when we envisioned serving as the grassroots organizing arm of the live-music community. First we got a group of Biscuits fans together to work on the project. That group included several skilled artists, some experts on solar and sustainable energy, and a bunch of other really smart, creative people. Then we collectively created an application procedure for potential BPM grant recipients and figured out how to attract applicants. The band was heavily involved in this process. All four members participated in multiple conference calls and reached out to friends and family in search of a school to work with.
We ended up hearing from 22 different schools interested in the Bisco Power Mission grant. We narrowed it down to two public schools in Philadelphia. Project assessments and site visits will follow, and by the time March 21 roles around, we’ll know which school will be on the receiving end of some Bisco energy.
The project represents a true partnership between HeadCount and The Disco Biscuits. Half the cash proceeds of Bisco Power Mission will go directly toward the school’s solar installation. The other half will help fund HeadCount’s civic engagement activity – including voter registration and Get Out the Vote efforts. So every Bisco Power Mission ticket not only helps install solar panels at a school but supports HeadCount too.
We thank The Disco Biscuits for providing their time, talents, ideas, and passion for this project. We thank the incredible team of volunteers that has come together to guide this project along. And we thank you the fans for supporting both Bisco Power Mission and, at the same time, HeadCount’s mission.