By Hilary Gridley
Some events have tickets so sought-after, snagging them requires the perfect storm of a lightning-fast internet connection, a fluency in captcha, and a lot of luck.
Tickets for Virgin Mobile FreeFest disappeared a record two minutes after going on sale in August, but those who failed to hit “refresh” at exactly the right moment can still catch Jack White, Skrillex, M83, ZZ Top and more at the October 6 event by giving a few hours back to their community.
Now through September 28, anyone can sign up for a free ticket by volunteering at an approved homeless shelter in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington through Virgin Mobile’s FREE I.P. program. Participants will help with a range of activities, including assembling bag lunches and snack baskets, painting and gardening to brighten up youth homeless shelters, and donating school supplies or other needed items.
This year’s concert will also feature artists including Santigold, Alabama Shakes, Ben Folds Five, Porter Robinson and Nas.
Since the FREE I.P. program’s inception, Virgin Mobile volunteers and fans have given 75,000 volunteer hours and raised more than half a million dollars for The RE*Generation, Virgin Mobile’s initiative to address youth homelessness. Just last year, supporters raised enough money to enable the opening of The RE*Generation House, a homeless youth shelter in Washington, DC developed by Sasha Bruce Youthwork. Proceeds from this year’s FreeFest will go toward running programs for social entrepreneurship and urban agriculture at The RE*Gen House and other Sasha Bruce sites.
“The spirit of FreeFest has always been about giving back, both as a business and to music fans,” said Felicia Hill, manager of brand engagement and cause marketing at Virgin Mobile USA. “Homeless youth is still an overlooked issue that continues to need our support. We’ve been dedicated to transforming the lives of these young people and getting more people to take action to help the cause since we launched The RE*Generation [initiative].”
Now in its fourth year, Virgin Mobile’s Freefest has provided the Washington, DC area with a completely free music festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland. All they ask in return is that attendees “take care of the karma” and donate a minimum of $10 to The RE*Generation to empower a generation to help its own.