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Bringing Democracy to Lollapalooza

By Jen DeSalvo, WLS-AM 890

(CHICAGO) More than being one of the most popular music festivals in the United States, Lollapalooza advocates that it is a place where music fans can learn more about how to help the world around them.

Lolla Cares, according to the website, “brings together the best of the world’s organizations and puts them in front of 100,000 festival fans to bring awareness to amazing causes.”

One of the 2016 exhibitors was HeadCount, a non-for-profit, non-partisan organization that works with musicians to promote participation in democracy.

Katie Lenza, a Chicago Team Leader for HeadCount explains that the mission of the organization’s involvement at Lollapalooza is, “to get people to vote and make sure that everybody is exercising their right.”

Since 2004, the organization has helped register over 300,000 voters across all 50 states in the nation at more than 1,000 concert events per year. Since many fans at Lollapalooza travel from out of state, festival goers were able to register no matter which state they reside in.

“It’s more people who are registered, so it has been either those who are 17 and will be 18 before the next election or people who have turned 18 since the last term,” Lenza said of the typical person who she encountered at Lollapalooza.

Lenza and the other volunteers have encountered their share of political questions over the duration of the event.

“The biggest question is ‘who are you voting for,’ but since we are non-partisan, non-for-profit we are not affiliated with a major party,” Lenza said. “We are getting a lot of ‘Go Trump,’ but also hearing ‘anyone but Trump,’ so it has been interesting.”

“I’ve had a lot of people say this is the first time that I’d be able to vote, but I’m not registering because I don’t want to vote…a lot of women,” Lenza added. “We haven’t had this right for that long, so it is interesting hearing how women say that they are not going to register, or if they are registered, that they aren’t voting.”

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