A Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival panel discussion this year tackled how people can turn their passions into advocacy. Rolling Stone contributing editor Mark Binelli moderated the conversation, which attracted a crowd of interested festivalgoers.
Comedian Sean Patton addressed the importance of creative people, no matter what discipline they’re working in, to embrace advocacy. “If you’re a performing artist on any platform, be it music, comedy or even theater, you should say something,” he said.
Linda Qian, who works in executive communications at Intel Corporate Affairs Group, explained how she got involved in corporate responsibility. “I would say until about my junior year in college, I really had no clue what I wanted to do with my life,” she said. “Then I took a class on corporate responsibility. And there’s this idea that there are big corporations in the world, and if you work through them from the inside you have the potential to make a lot of change.”
Guitarist and singer Anthony Thogmartin of the live-tronica group Papadosio said they realized early on how difficult it was to be a band and that they drew inspiration from their audience’s passions to keep things going.
Finally, Bob Ferguson who works for the poverty-fighting organization Oxfam America explained how he worked with the New Pornographers on creating a music video that dovetailed into their interests in social activism. “I think that’s what music activism is about,” he said. “It’s putting an artist together with a cause and finding a way to amplify each other along the way to cause more passion.”