This past Sunday, Phish completed their historic 13-night Baker’s Dozen run, cementing their place in the history books of both Madison Square Garden and live music as a whole. Throughout the run, voter registration and political activism non-profit HeadCount teamed up with Vermont ice cream purveyors Ben & Jerry‘s to encourage the hordes of fans passing through the Garden to get involved in their local political processes.
The HeadCount team set up shop in the concourse outside section 110 for each of the thirteen shows, inviting attendees to take a picture in front of their Baker’s Dozen photo backdrop with various props including cutouts of Jon Fishman and Mike Gordon holding #VoteLocal signs, an Electrolux vacuum, and a Languedoc Guitar. According to HeadCount’s numbers, an estimated 5,000 fans took photos at the booth, including Phish songwriter Steve “The Dude of Life” Pollak, renowned poster artist Jim Pollock, and musicians like Matisyahu, The Disco Biscuits’ Marc Brownstein, and teenage guitar prodigy Brandon “Taz” Niederauer.
As added incentive to get fans registered and involved, Ben & Jerry’s is awarding one lucky fan with free ice cream for a year. To enter to win, post your photo from HeadCount’s and Ben & Jerry’s Baker’s Dozen photo activation on Instagram with the hashtag “#VoteLocal” and follow HeadCount so they can contact you if you’re the lucky winner. As of publication time, hundreds of fans have posted their HeadCount #VoteLocal photos to help spread the word and throw their name into consideration for a year’s worth of free ice cream.
In addition to the hundreds of contest entries, 424 fans also registered to vote or signed up for TurboVote, which provides mobile alerts about upcoming local elections. Roughly 50 total volunteers helped run the HeadCount photo booth over the course of the 13 nights, and an original Betsy Ross 13-star American flag hung over the table throughout the residency, with a new limited-edition donut pin replacing a star on each successive show.
HeadCount was a guest of the WaterWheel Foundation, Phish’s non-profit. They also joined WaterWheel in a big opening-night party outside MSG for the debut of Ben & Jerry’s special “Freezer Reprise.” The Baker’s Dozen run also marked WaterWheel’s 20th anniversary, which they celebrated with pre-show festivities, an off-night party featuring Greensky Bluegrass and Marco Benevento on the Coney Island Boardwalk, and more.
Thank you to HeadCount, Ben & Jerry’s, WaterWheel, and everyone who helps to make Phish shows the socially active and politically conscious gatherings we know and love…and don’t forget to Instagram your photo from the HeadCount/Ben & Jerry’s Baker’s Dozen photo booth with the hashtag #Vote Local, follow @HeadCountOrg, and set your profile to “public” for your chance to win free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for a year! The winner will be selected next Tuesday.