I was lucky enough to be one of the six HeadCount volunteers to be awarded a trip on Jam Cruise for our contributions to the organization in 2012. I'm just getting my feet back on dry land and while I'm readjusting to life in the real world, I thought I'd relive this amazing experience by telling you all a bit about HeadCount's presence on the 11th annual Jam Cruise.
First off, Jam Cruise clearly loves HeadCount. We can't thank all of the folks at Cloud9 enough for the opportunity be on the boat and to have so much support from them. Almost all of the bands that performed are HeadCount artists who each year, go out of their way to support the organization. It's a great feeling to walk onto the boat wearing my HeadCount shirt and have fellow cruisers and artists give me props or start up a conversation about voting.
For all of us who won our trips through HeadCount the non-musical highlight of week was definitely the HeadCount dinner we had on our second night on the ship. The dinner was open to anyone on board who had volunteered for the organization in 2012 and included some Jam Cruise 11's most popular artists. Over 40 people showed up and ate dinner with HeadCount artist like Joel Cummins (Umphrey's McGee), Steve Kimock, Eric Krasno (Soulive/Lettuce), Ivan Neville (Dumpstaphunk), Rob Mercurio (Galactic), Jeff Coffin (DMB) and Steve Adams, Dan Lebowitz, and Zach Gill from ALO.
I sat down to dinner with Joel Cummins, Steve Adams, and Rob Mercurio and watched as each table around us dove into conversations about why HeadCount was an organization they put so much time into in 2012. It was an amazing opportunity for the volunteers to chat with the artists about why we work together to encourage participation in the political process. What was so cool about the whole thing was that afterward, I had multiple HeadCount volunteers come up to me just to tell me how amazing it was to have a sit-down dinner with some of their favorite artists. To them, it was just one more of the many benefits to volunteering with HeadCount.
If you haven't already been on the boat, your imagination can probably tell you that Jam Cruise is one hell of a good time. The music is practically nonstop and the artists full-on embrace the opportunity to jam with one another. I've never seen so many collaborations happen at one event. To give you a sense of this, reggae legends Steel Pulse had Ivan Neville, Ian Neville, Eric Krasno and Bernie Worrell sit in with them during their pool deck set. Where else could that happen?
The HeadCount dinner was just one of many amazing things that happened on the cruise. As volunteers, we give our time to the organization because of our love of democracy and music. We weren't expecting a free trip but I really can't think of a better way to get to know some of my fellow volunteers from around the country than to bond on boat for five days and talk with some of our favorite HeadCount artists about our shared passion. We're refreshed, inspired, and ready to continue rocking with HeadCount in 2013.
Check out an album of photos from our dinner here.