With the 2018 midterms a mere 35 days away, there’s a fury of voter registration and empowerment events erupting across the country: in Nashville, Faith Hill led a rally just last week with the nonpartisan When We All Vote and, on Wednesday, a consortium of local artists and venues have joined together for the free East Nashville Get Out the Vote Festival.
Anchored by a night of performances at the Basement East featuring JD McPherson, Charlie Worsham, John Osborne of Brothers Osborne, Robyn Hitchcock, Kyle Daniel, Alanna Royale and more, the festival will also include voter registration provided by BriteHeart at record store Grimey’s New & Preloved Music and co-working space WeWork. Maggie Rose will also join Them Vibes, who appear on the singer-songwriter’s new LP Change the Whole Thing, for a set in the lobby of WeWork, located next door to the Basement East.
“Music brings people together, and we can celebrate that we have the right to vote,” says Mike “Grimey” Grimes, who operates Nashville’s venerable record store. Voter registration — and turnout, specifically — is an urgent issue in Tennessee, and the deadline to register is October 9th. The state ranked 49th in 2016 for voter turnout, and events like the East Nashville Get Out the Vote Festival seek to look past partisanship and focus on the importance of simple civil engagement.
“There’s a great Rodney Crowell song called ‘Ignorance Is the Enemy,’ and I find that to be true,” Worsham tells Rolling Stone Country. “I believe that ignorance and apathy are the greatest threats to American democracy today. Voting is the perfect antidote. If you inform yourself and cast your vote, you are fighting ignorance and apathy. To vote is just about the best thing you can do for your country, short of serving in the military or public office. Please register, vote, and encourage others to do the same.”
The East Nashville Get Out the Vote Festival begins with voter registration from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Grimey’s New & Preloved Music (which will offer a special storewide discount at its new home at 1060 Trinity Lane) and continues with the Happy Hour at WeWork (4:00 to 6:00 p.m.), followed by the free Get Out the Vote Concert at the Basement East from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.