Music and politics will fuse in Isla Vista when a “Get Out the Vote” concert kicks off Saturday afternoon.
The Beatnuts will headline the concert, lasting from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Anisq’ Oyo’ Park. The free event, hosted by UCSB Associated Students and the A.S. Program Board, is an opportunity for students and community residents to register to vote, listen to live music and get nonpartisan information about the candidates in the upcoming Nov. 2 election.
The concert will also feature reggae band the Irations, rapper and soul music performer Ed Slow, progressive rockers Lahara and the pop rock band Out of the Ashes. Chaz Whatley, the event’s organizer and A.S. Off-Campus Representative, said the variety of musical genres is meant to attract a wide range of people.
“I didn’t want to disenfranchise anyone,” Whatley said.
Travis Heard, A.S. Program Board commissioner, said that in addition to a place to listen to local music and register to vote, the concert is a rare chance to see a mainstream act for free.
“The Beatnuts are arguably bigger than Andre Nickatina,” Heard said. “This is a unique opportunity for a great cause.”
Two 6-foot sandwiches from Subway and water will be provided, Whatley said, although anyone wanting alcohol has to bring their own, since A.S. is not allowed to provide alcoholic beverages by state law. There will also be tables set up with voter registration forms.
Whatley said she hoped for a large turnout and a successful event that could become a tradition for future election years.
“Just come, get some free food, have a beer, listen to some good music and register to vote,” Whatley said. “I hope it will turn out wonderfully and 2,000 people will show up to this event.”
Whatley said that while the event is intended to be a fun day of music and relaxation, the main focus will be on encouraging people to register to vote and educating them about the candidates.
“If you don’t vote, you’re silenced,” she said.
A.S. President Cervin Morris, who suggested having the concert, said it was especially important to vote in this election.
“Since there was so much controversy over the last presidential election, it showed that each vote really does count,” Morris said.
Heard said this concert is the final push by A.S. to register voters, since the deadline to register to vote in the November election is Oct. 18.
Whatley also said many people who think they are registered might not be if they filled out the form incorrectly or did not know they needed to re-register if they moved, changed their name or changed their political party.
The funding for the $11,500 event has come entirely from donations, Whatley said. Wells Fargo was a major contributor, the Program Board covered all production and security costs, and all of the bands except the Beatnuts agreed to play for free. The talent fee for the Beatnuts was $7,500.
“The local bands aren’t being paid, didn’t even ask to be paid, and I really appreciate them for that,” Whatley said.
Morris said he got the idea for the event from Earth Day last year. He said the big turnout of that event inspired him and he wants this concert to be a day of fun and relaxation for everyone, including the students who have been trying to get voters registered.
“A lot of people have put a lot of time into registering people to vote,” Morris said. “This is a little present to them. Overall, I’d say just come out. It’s going to be the place to be.”