Langerado: My First “On the Ground” Experience with HeadCount

If you looked at my ankles right now, you would think I had Chickenpox. There are red dots everywhere, and they do itch. However, those red dots were not caused from the varicella virus. Nope, I was the victim of fireants!

Now that I have been back in D.C. for a few days, the fireant bites are healing. I am also sleeping now without the fear of a panther coming up to me in my sleep or stepping on a gator or snake on the way to the portable toilet in the middle of the night. But living on the edge like that is exciting. That edge was there throughout my visit to Langerado.

Not only was I nervous about the creatures prowling around me at night, but to be honest, I was nervous about my first experience in the field with HeadCount. Would we be able to get everything accomplished? After a few hours, my nerves about getting the job done and making sure the team was was working well together went away. I could not be more satisfied with the folks working with me. Our organization is so lucky to have leaders like them. They were so talented and dedicated.

We were well on our way to registering a lot of voters.

But then there was a different type of nervous energy that emerged. I saw all around me, 15,000 members of the live music community who could be organized to make a difference in our society, a difference at the polls and a difference in our communities. I saw so much excitement in the eyes glued to the big screen during setbreak of Phil and Friends as our documentary, A Call to Action, was screened.

I saw this same excitement in the 316 folks we registered. I met 19 and 20 year old students with dreams of becoming lawyers and working for the least well off among us. I met pre-med students wanting to give care to the uninsured. And I met musicians who in the footsteps of Brownie, Bobby and Franti, wanted to connect our community through music.

It reminded me of when I was in college, walking through North Campus at the University of Georgia, rushing to a final after after just getting back in town from a festival, djembe in tow and everything. It reminded me of how I wanted to register voters and organize the jamband community at festivals then, and how lucky I am to be helping an organization do exactly that.

At Langerado I saw so much potential. That kind of potential makes you a little bit nervous. But it's a good nervous. You realize that we can make a difference at the ballot box and in our communities. You realize that our time has come.

You see it in the smiles and bright eyes of folks jamming to a Government Mule or Keller show. You see it in the way people are coming together.

We must register our peers to vote. We must make sure they go the polls on Election Day. We must keep them engaged and develop them into leaders of our community, and the community at large.

Langerado was a blast...fireants and all. I am so happy to be working with folks who like me see the potential that lies within the live music community. It's going to be a terrific summer. Come November, we will be heard at the ballot box. And in years to come, we will see folks who were at Langerado emerge as leaders in our communities.