By Hilary Gridley
Some of the most coveted festival tickets don’t come with a price tag. For the fifth year in a row, Virgin Mobile Freefest has sold out in just seconds; not a surprising feat for a totally free festival featuring Vampire Weekend, The Avett Brothers, Pretty Lights, Robert Thicke, MGMT and more.
Why free? “Because,” as Virgin says, “you deserve it!” FreeFest, which falls on September 21 this year, was born from a desire to give back, give music fans a break in a rough economy, and draw more attention to youth homelessness.
That’s why anyone without lightning fast fingers could still secure tickets to the Columbia, MD-based event by volunteering her time at homeless youth shelters or donating hygiene kits through The RE*Generation, Virgin Mobile’s charitable initiative to address youth homelessness. Though the volunteer opportunities were scheduled to run through September 7, fans eager to catch Kaskade, Icona Pop, CHVRCHES, The Knocks, and Ghost Beach have already scooped up all the “Free.I.P” tickets.
Even those willing to cough up $50 to secure a place at FreeFest were quick to move: the “Freemium Package,” which includes tickets, a FreeFest t-shirt and a donation to The RE*Generation house, has already sold out just days after its release.
This all bodes well for a festival with a history of making an impact. Past FreeFests have raised nearly $800,000 for The RE*Generation, generated more than 75,000 hours of volunteer time and created more than 25,000 outreach kits. 2011 and 2012 donations helped build the Sasha Bruce RE*Generation House, a transitional living facility for homeless youth in Washington, DC. These funds not only keep the house running, but also support urban farming and entrepreneurship programs for its residents.
Virgin Mobile featured “The House That FreeFest Built” in their lineup announcement video, highlighting the deep ties between the festival and the causes it supports.
Other charitable partners include Virgin Unite, the non-profit foundation of the Virgin Group, and Sasha Bruce Youthwork, which provides housing, counseling and classes to young people in DC who need a place to stay for any reason.
If you weren’t able to grab tickets, you can still follow Virgin Mobile on Facebook and Twitter for spontaneous ticket giveaways leading up to the festival. You can also support The RE*Generation by donating online.