Music-centered voter registration non-profit HeadCount has named Peter Shapiro, the man behind Brooklyn Bowl, The Capitol Theatre, LOCKN’, Fare Thee Well, and more as the new Chairman of their Board of Directors.
Shapiro helped co-found the organization back in 2004 with the mission of reaching potential new, young voters where they congregate—at live concerts. As Shapiro explained to Rolling Stone, “The idea was to use shows, festivals, arena concerts and club gigs to reach people, get them activated, engaged and registered.”
As longtime HeadCount board member and Grateful Dead guitarist/vocalist Bob Weir added, “I’ve known Pete for over 20 years. He gets it. And then he knows how to get it to everyone else.
HeadCount estimates that they’ve registered nearly 600,000 new voters over the course of their 15-year existence. 2019 has marked a high point for the organization in a non-election year, with 17,000 voters already registered only halfway through the year.
HeadCount recently notched a historic weekend at Bonnaroo, where they registered 1,390 new voters, 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,” remarked HeadCount Executive Director Andy Bernstein about their big showing at Bonnaroo. “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.”
“Now is the time where HeadCount is more important than ever,” Shapiro told Rolling Stone. “Things are about to ramp up, and that’s why I’m ramping up my involvement, and I hope others will too. … When it’s done right, the combination of live music and activism, of something that has an element of really meaning something too, that’s powerful. That’s what we try to do, and now’s the time when it’s even more important than ever.”
For more information about HeadCount, how to get involved, and how to register to vote yourself, head to the organization’s website here.