The Shins, Death Cab for Cutie team up with to register voters this election year

By Laura Ferreiro

Death Cab For Cutie, Andrew Bird and The Shins are among the artists who have invited to join them on tour to register voters this election year.

HeadCount has worked with renowned artists for several years to register voters at concerts and make civic participation a part of the live music experience. “We usually register voters 200 to 300 at each concert,” Andy Bernstein, executive director of HeadCount, tells Music for Good.

The organization is recruiting volunteers in cities throughout the U.S. to work at concerts to encourage young people to register to vote and participate in upcoming elections. With the 2012 presidential election on the horizon, HeadCount is stepping up its efforts and will have volunteers on the ground at Wilco, Bonnie Raitt, Drive By Truckers, the Dave Matthews Band, Phish concerts and more leading up to the November election.

“We hope to register 100,000 voters this year,” says Bernstein. “We really want to make the election a cultural event, not just a political event. Concerts are a great bridge for doing this.”

HeadCount will also have a massive presence at the Hang Out Festival May 18-20 in Gulf Shores, Alabama, which will be headlined by Jack White, the Flaming Lips, the Dave Matthews Band and Skrillex. They recently offered the chance to bid on a package of two VIP passes to the festival and a meet and greet with Grace Potter and Widespread Panic Bassist Dave Schools.

Bernstein points out that HeadCount goes beyond registering voters and encourages civic participation on many levels. The organization recently encouraged people to write to their senators to let them know how they feel about climate change, and gave away a free download of the “Best of Bonnaroo” compilation to those who contacted their representatives. “Causes like this really fit with the values of the music world,” Bernstein says. “Our guiding force has always been, ‘What can we do to support the values of the musicians and their fans?’”

To find out more about or to volunteer at an upcoming concert, click here.