Less than three weeks after Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon covered Bob Dylan and Leon Russell at a Bernie Sanders rally in Iowa, the singer announced a trio of Wisconsin shows Monday that requires a “pledge to vote in order to gain access to presale tickets for all three shows.”
The fall concerts, set to take place at La Crosse’s La Crosse Center on October 5th, Wausau’s Grand Theater on the 7th and Appelton’s Fox Cities PAC on the 8th, will take place one month before the presidential election. Vernon has partnered with the 46 for 46 campaign, an organization that aims to “help elect the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee by working to increase civic engagement through music and pop culture,” the group says.
As Vernon noted in his announcement about the shows, President Trump won Wisconsin in the 2016 election, the first Republican to win the state’s 10 electoral votes since Ronald Reagan in 1984.
Bon Iver is not the first to partner with 46 for 46, who are staging “rally concerts” in each musician’s home state. Nathaniel Rateliff (Colorado), Lissie (Iowa), Patty Griffin (Maine), Houndmouth (Indiana), Dashboard Confessional (Florida), Sylvan Esso (North Carolina), Tacocat (Washington) and Cha Wa (Louisiana) have all signed on to participate throughout the year.
Managers Christopher Moon and Kyle Frenette — the latter acting as Bon Iver’s manager until 2018 before briefly running for Wisconsin’s 7th district in Congress — conceived the 46 for 46 project in 2019 in “the states that matter most during the lead-up to the 2020 election,” they told Billboard last year.
“I voted for [Obama], he was elected, he seemed like a very good leader, and I thought everything would be taken care of,” Frenette said. “It almost seems like that was this country’s M.O. in a way. Meanwhile, you’ve got the GOP sweeping in on the state level and putting all of these things in place and taking advantage of the political divide.” Vernon had previously headlined a rally for Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin around the 2018 midterms, an event that inspired Frenette and Moon to form the organization.
Most of the shows are set to place between August and October, with organizers asking fans, according to Billboard, to “pledge 46,” a wide-ranging initiative that could involve donating $46 to a campaign or the Democratic party, volunteering 46 hours or talking to 46 people about the whoever becomes the Democratic nominee.