About 750 attendees, many fresh off a hot day at the ACL Festival, were treated to an evening of musical and political conversation at the Austin, TX club Emo's last night, highlighted by Jim James, Kam Franklin of The Suffers, and appearances by seven different candidates for office including Austin Mayor Steve Adler.
It was the inaugural night of HeadCount's "The Future is Voting Tour," which will bring James and other performers to six college towns over the next two weeks. Each event is unique hybrid of a concert and a Town Hall meeting for candidates.
James performed a 45-minute solo set of many of his most politically-charged songs including "Over and Over" from his just released album "Uniform Clarity." He preceded it with a short talk about the power of finding common ground with people with opposing views. (See Video https://www.facebook.com/andy.bernstein1/videos/pcb.10156491731731421/10156491730846421/?type=3&theater).
The purpose of the evening and tour, as described by HeadCount executive director Andy Bernstein to kick off the festivities, was to create an experience that would leave music fans better informed and inspired to vote on November 6th.
Emcee Linqua Franqa, a PhD. student and elected member of the city council in Athens, GA, followed that theme with an uplifting mix of hip-hop and direct addresses to the audience.
Then the crowd heard from Austin Mayor Steve Adler, seeking re-election for the first time. He spoke to the audience about the importance of keeping Austin's nightlife vital and housing affordable, a theme repeated by the two other Mayoral candidates who followed.
The next musical performance featured Kam Franklin of the Suffers, a popular performer in Austin and all of Texas. Her soulful 30-minute set included talk about cannabis legalization, the importance of voting, and a Korn cover.
The night finished with appearances by Kyle Austin a Republican challenger to the incumbent Democratic Congressman Lloyd Doggett in the state's 35th Congressional district, and Libertarian challenger Clark Patterson. Promoter c3Presents and local organization Music Moves Austin were instrumental in bringing out many of the candidates.
Made of Oak (Nick Sanborn of Sylvan Esso) finished out the evening with a DJ Set.
In all, HeadCount registered over 800 voters in Texas throughout the weekend, including the nearby Austin City Limits Festival, two Odesza shows and The Future is Voting tour event. The deadline to register to vote in the state is October 9th. Anyone wishing to register to vote online can visit HeadCount.org.
The Future of Voting tour next visits Texas State University in San Marcos on Tue, followed by stops at the University of Milwaukee-Wisconsin on Oct 10, Athens, GA on Oct 15, Simpson College in Indianola, IA on Oct 16 and Champaign, IL on Oct 17. More information or ways to support or attend the tour can be found at bit.ly/TFIVTour