Monday, September 03, 2007

We survived another weekend at the Gorge!

The Gorge shows this past weekend were a great success – even if they got off to a windy start! Immediately after setting up our booth, we were greeted with near hurricane force winds. Most of the other vendors around us broke their tents down, be we decided to keep ours up, even if it meant we spent most of the night hanging on, trying to keep them from going airborne!

We trudged on though, working to turn Washington (RED) and spread the word about ONE. Friday night we had veteran volunteer Sammi join us, coming in from Seattle, as well as Rachel and Carnie, first time volunteers who got involved via (RED) and drove all the way up from Portland. The crew did great – they kicked off the weekend in style, getting hundreds of DMB involved with fighting AIDS and poverty. Rachel and Carnie really seemed to have a good time – they were excited by how receptive people were to hear what they were talking about. As always, the night was full of unique stories – people planning trips to Africa, Peace Corp volunteers and more – I am always amazed at the extent of stories we get to hear doing this work.

We had a great team on Saturday night – Kelly and Jason are leaders of the ONE Spokane group. Kelly is a high school teacher who was in Uganda earlier this summer, and he also brought two of his students along, Jamie and David. David is property of the Navy as of Wednesday, so we were very honored that he choose to spend the last of his free time with us. He and Jamie have been active with ONE and other Africa focused organizations at their high school. Sandra drove in with Jason and Kelly – she to is active with ONE in Spokane. Kristina was a first time volunteer who signed up to volunteer via (RED) – she came in a bit late and missed part of our volunteer training, so we were concerned that she wouldn’t feel 100% in doing outreach, but she proved us wrong, and ended up getting more sign ups than anyone! Tim had joined ONE at a U2 show a few years back, he’s not totally sure how he got on my volunteer list, but he was glad he did! Ryan first learned about (RED) via the Vanity Fair (RED) issue earlier this year – this was his first volunteer experience and he did great. Rounding out our team was Sammi from Seattle, for her second night in a row. I couldn’t even find most of our volunteers while they were working – they took to the lawn as soon as we were done with our training and talked to hundreds of fans in the process. We ended up having one of our best nights of the whole tour thanks to this amazing crew!

DMB fans find room for (RED) and ONE amongst their Madis Gras beads...

Sunday brought more wind, and more great volunteers. Jennifer and Sean both are involved with the ONE Spokane group, and both are also teachers. Sean teaches college part time, and Jennifer is an elementary school teacher. We also had Colette and Zach join us, a couple from Seattle that got involved as volunteers through (RED). And of course, Sammi joined us again as well! Once again, our volunteer team proved to be rockstars, getting a ton of DMB fans involved with ONE and (RED).

All weekend long, we were greeted with flashes of white bands and thumbs up from those that had joined us at an earlier show or on another tour. I also met two fans who had to buy new bands because their dog ate theirs, the best story I heard all weekend! We met countless people who shared what they were doing to fight poverty and AIDS in their own community, and heard from dozens of people that had already bought (RED) products and were excited to learn they could do more.

ONE/(RED) volunteers Rachel, Carnie and Sammi

A special thanks to all of the volunteers that helped out this weekend – because of the location of the Gorge, everyone had to drive at least an hour and a half to join us, and we really appreciate the time and commitment of you all. A extra special big thanks to veteran volunteer Sammi, who went so far as to get a motel room so she could join us all three nights – AND she even brought me and Brian cookies!

On that note, I also want to give a quick shout out to our boy Brian 'Red Hawk' Averill – this weekend ended his summer touring as he has to head back to school tomorrow. Brian first joined us as an intern last summer and came on as a staff person this year – he’s been a true trooper, covering everything from Bonnaroo to Warped Tour to the Dave Tour, and he manages to do an amazing job in the face of constant teasing (for being from Wisconsin, for saying ‘bag’ funny, for wearing mandals, for having a red beard…) from me and the rest of our team!

We’re heading to Atlanta next (assuming that check engine light that keeps coming on in the truck doesn’t mean anything really bad…) where I’ll be joined by our New Guy Joe – watch for more updates soon!


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