Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Back with a vengeance: Warped Tour!

Warped tour kicked off in California last weekend, with Lokahi in tow! This is actually the seventh summer we’ve been on Warped in some capacity, and we are very excited to get to talk to so many people – especially so many young people – about the work that our partners like ONE and Oxfam are doing. It seems like even more people are familiar and eager to get involved with these campaign than ever before – we are very excited about taking the message of ONE and Oxfam out to more Warped fans in the months ahead, and are still working to launch a pretty big voter registration effort as well. It never ceases to amaze me to see how eager people are to be involved – you can sense a real cultural shift happening, gradually fighting poverty and reforming the Farm Bill are becoming a part of every day life for a lot of people, something they are familiar and involved with.

Warped fans showing their ONE support

As always, we had some very cool crews of volunteers joining us each day. On Friday we had two volunteers new to the ONE Campaign – Sarah and Hazel. Both are students, Sarah is in high school, and Hazel is about to start graduate school. They were true troopers, going along with the occasional moments of chaos as the learning curve of the first day of the tour took place! We also had two new Oxfam volunteers – Victoria and Fernando. Both were eager to jump on in and get lots of fans involved with Oxfam and reforming the US Farm Bill. On Saturday Sonya and Shannon joined us. They were deep in conversation by the time I got back to the booth to meet them – I assumed they knew each other, but as it would turn out they had just met and found out that they were both local high school teachers that were working to incorporate the issues ONE works on into their classrooms. They worked together all day long, getting hundreds of people involved with ONE, and hopefully they’ll be doing organizing in the Ventura area in the weeks to come as well. We also got to work with Shelby and Brett, two Oxfam volunteers that came up from LA to help out for the day. On Sunday we had three Oxfam volunteers – Megan, who is heading up the Oxfam Action team in San Fran and Danna, who I met at an Arcade Fire show earlier in the year, and also Jerome, a documentary photographer. I barely saw any of them all day – they were too busy floating around and talking to people!

Oxfam volunteers Megan, Danna and Jerome.

And, finally, on Sunday in San Francisco, we had Danny and his mom, Julie, join us. Danny and Julie first learned and joined ONE when they were at the Warped Tour date in San Francisco last year. Danny was actually featured on the ONE blog earlier this year, so I was eager to meet him. He is doing a lot of work at his school, where he’ll be a sixth grader next year, to get his classmates involved with ONE. I always like having young volunteers join us – I teach during part of the year, and I like working with youth, so it’s always rewarding to see kids that are so engaged, and it’s double rewarding to know that it was our work on Warped that first got Danny involved with the campaign a year ago.

ONE volunteers Julie and her son Danny
After giving Danny and Julie an overview of what we’d be doing, I had Brian, part of our touring team, finish the training I started. He came back a few minutes later. ‘Um, so Danny is talking to people about the GNP.” Friends of mine on the tour – bands, other non-profits, etc – were teasing me about engaging in child labor of some sort, but it turns out that Danny really knows his stuff, and before we knew it he was off, coming back every hour or so to hand in sheets and sheets of names and letting me know which lines of people he’d already hit up. We figured he’d gotten close to 200 people to join by the end of the day! Danny is trying to get more students his age involved with ONE in the bay area, so if you are interested in working with him, be sure to send us a message.

The tour is up in Canada this week, so we get a few days to catch our breath, but watch for more updates to come soon.