On the Road with Reverb and J.Cole

Laura Bedrick here! I'm reporting from the Reverb Campus Consciousness tour bus, where I have been living and traveling the country discovering how music can change the world.

The tour has taken us all over the place, from small schools in the middle of nowhere like Colby College to massive party schools like UMASS. No matter where we stop, I am consistently inspired by the conversations I have.

The other night I was eating dinner with J.Cole’s crew and talking about some of our favorite concerts: everything from Grateful Dead in ’69 to the R.Kelly & Jay-Z ‘Best of Both Worlds’ tour. We all agreed that music really brings people from all backgrounds together. Rashid, the drummer, shared his memory of being at a Public Enemy concert for the first time and feeling the power of Chuck D’s lyrics with everyone around him. For the past few weeks, I've witnessed the power of J.Coles music to unite fans and inspire them to share their love and passions, which the band and crew never had a chance to see because they were always back stage. I wanted them to get a glimpse of this side of things, so I invited Rashid to come upstairs and stop by the HeadCount booth to talk to some fans.

When Rashid joined me at the HeadCount table, all the fans began flocking our way for a chance to talk to him. Later, while registering voters, I overheard Rashid talking to a young man who also played the drums. Due to budget cuts, his school's music department had to start charging for instrument rentals, and the young man could no longer afford to keep playing the drums. Rashid offered to help pay for his drum rentals and even give some free lessons. The young man was speechless. I was also speechless because - on top seeing this awesome exchange go down - I got over 55 registrations and Reverb gave out all of their reusable water bottles, largely thanks to Rashid's appearance at the eco-village tables.

That day at the University of Illinois sparked so many ideas in my head. I realized that we, as a music community (fans, crew, and musicians) are all brought together by our love for music, but we can also be disconnected from starting a dialogue about helping each other and our planet. While repping HeadCount on this tour, I've seen that fans are looking for ways to use their voice and make a contribution.  I've seen that the musicians and crew back stage are following their inspirations and passions as well. How can we create a bridge for different parts of the music community to come together and change each other’s worlds?

Stay tuned as I continue to share my awesome, wild, and meaningful experiences on the Reverb Campus Consciousness Tour. If you want to be a part of this experience, you should volunteer!