Rocking the Homestretch at The Ritz in Raleigh

In 12 years of working with HeadCount, I’ve gotten used to seeing great things happen based on relationships. Usually you hear about the great successes and opportunities from relationships with our national partners, amazing board members, artists, and leaders in the music world.

But for me the true magic happens on the grassroots level. As HeadCount’s Volunteer Coordinator finding volunteers through community is the greatest success, but as a Raleigh-based music lover I’m extremely excited about new relationship with one of my favorite venues, The Ritz!

When I first walked into The Ritz with my husband we looked at each other and said, “this place is perfect for a HeadCount residency!” With a 2,000 person capacity, a great lobby space, unique size for the area market, and a wide range of genres coming through it met all our goals to do regular shows at a venue. But alas, sometimes it takes a while to turn interest into opportunity. The catalyst in this case was good old fashioned grassroots community building.

I put out a last minute call for volunteers after cancellations for our local Dixie Chicks show. Jennifer answered the day of and joined us. It was her first time volunteering, and we walked the amphitheater together in brutal heat and I told her about my history with HeadCount. We had a great time and she rocked the registrations that night.


A week later, while driving to LOCKN', I got a message from Jennifer that the manager at The Ritz wanted to host HeadCount to register voters at their shows. WHAT? We made various outreach efforts to the venue all year and now it was falling into my lap (through very spotty cell service) thanks to an amazing first time volunteer!

Before passing through the gates at LOCKN' I had our first show confirmed (Bone Thugs-n-Harmony on 9/1) and a list of shows we’d cover at The Ritz – thanks to the amazing team of local Team Leaders here in the Triangle – for the rest of the fall. I also had staff contacts at the venue for all our needs and the warmest welcome I’ve received since my first residencies back with Live Nation in San Francisco in 2008.

“Excited” doesn’t even cut it describe the positive energy emanating through our Triangle area team thanks to this opportunity. We simply love working shows at The Ritz; we love the vibe, the staff, the fans and the space. Moreover, given the legal changes and back and forth over North Carolina’s election laws this year our role in voter education is crucial. Any opportunity to get in front of folks is critical to our team.

What’s more, our energy has been matched by every contact we’ve had at The Ritz. The support creates what I know can only be a fruitful relationship with the venue. And I’m sure we’ll see some incredible music along the way.

This experience is a perfect example of the magic created by HeadCount’s community. Working with volunteers at shows, registering a voter, simply telling HeadCount’s story to an interested party – these personal contacts create opportunities for us across the county. These are the connections that sustain our field work in cities, large and small, in local and midterm election years, and what creates our family.

Thank you to The Ritz for your support, to Jennifer in her role as a volunteer and community builder, and to all those folks out there who create opportunities for us nationwide.

P.S. If you want to be a part of HeadCount at The Ritz, sign up to volunteer for any of the following shows: 9/16 ScHoolboy Q; 9/20 The Cult; 9/24 Glass Animals; 9/27 Tycho; 10/9 Dirty Heads