While scores of acts took the stage at Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival this past weekend, voter registration non-profit HeadCount was onsite and hard at work getting music lovers both young and old involved in our country’s democratic system. Now, HeadCount’s Bonnaroo voter registration numbers are in, and they illustrate the incredible success of the organization’s efforts at the annual Manchester, TN festival.
In total, HeadCount registered 1,390 voters at Bonnaroo 2019, eclipsing their previous weekend record of 1,211 set at the 2016 edition of Bonnaroo. Included among the newly registered voters were residents from 45 out of 50 states in the U.S.
“This is incredible,” remarks HeadCount Executive Director Andy Bernstein. “Essentially a year and a half away from the 2020 election, we are already seeing this level of excitement from young Americans about voting. 2018 saw a more than 50% increase in youth voter turnout in Midterms, I can only imagine what this type of momentum this will create for 2020.”
This incredible turnout took place in the shadow of a new law in Tennessee which would call for criminal penalties against voter registration groups for missteps in the voter registration process.
This law, which won’t go into effect until October, creates civil and criminal liability for any registration efforts that do not follow new legislative mandated procedures for voter registration drives. This could potentially harm organizations like HeadCount, which helped add voters to rolls across the country this weekend at dozens of other events beyond Bonnaroo, including Ariana Grande concerts, Pride marches, and Mountain Jam in Bethel, New York.
“It’s clear that Tennessee has a need for community voter registration drives like the one we hold every year at Bonnaroo,” says HeadCount’s Director of Engagement, Tappan Vickery. “I just hope that we will continue to be able to provide these services in the future without risk of fines or prosecution.” We sincerely hope so, too. Since 2004, HeadCount has registered nearly 600,000 voters at over 7,500 concerts and music festivals, and music lovers all over the country remain eternally grateful for their continued efforts.
For more information about how to get involved with HeadCount, head to their website here.
Below, you can check out some photos of the HeadCount team in action at Bonnaroo (via HeadCount) as well as a full gallery of photos from the weekend’s events onstage (via photographer Christian Stewart).