Detroit bands join Run The Jewels, Billie Eilish for virtual music festival to get out the vote

What’s happening: With the 2022 midterm elections taking place Tuesday, Nov. 8 — one week away, as of this publication — efforts to motivate voters to get to the polls are increasing by the day. The #iVoted Festival, a nationwide virtual music festival that first launched in 2018, aims to once again help drive voter turnout and especially among young people, rewarding those who voted with free access to festival performances. This year, the festival has organized several state-specific stages to complement the national event, with Michigan being among them. 

What it is: The #iVoted organization is a national and nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit that organized and launched the first #iVoted music festival in 2018. The festival pivoted to a virtual event in 2020 in what’s touted as the largest digital concert in history, featuring performances from more than 450 artists. It was founded by entrepreneur Emily White, producer Mike Luba, and musician Pat Sansone (Wilco, The Autumn Defense).

What’s planned: This year’s #iVoted festival features appearances and performances from Billie Eilish, FINNEAS, Run the Jewels, and dozens more — the full line-up and schedule is available online. This year’s Michigan Stage, presented by Lyte Technology, Inc., features several Detroit-based and Michigan-based artists. These include Laura Rain and the Caesars, Elijah Wolf, Chiasm, Crime & the City Solution, The Hacky Turtles, Tommy Marz ft. Jeff Schroeder, The Accidentals, Here Come the Mummies, Jaypitts, Shlump, Carl Craig, and Umphrey’s McGee; national headliners Yonder Mountain String Band and Black Stone Cherry close out the Michigan stage.

How to attend: Voters simply take a selfie outside their home polling location or at home with their blank, unmarked ballots and submit them to RSVP via the #iVoted website. An early sweepstakes allows voters to RSVP early, entering them into a drawing for prizes and local concert tickets.

What’s at stake: In Michigan, voters will decide the races for governor, attorney general, secretary of state, supreme court, and congressional leaders. Three statewide proposals will have voters decide on term limits for state legislators and financial disclosure requirements for elected state officials; voting rights; and reproductive rights — Proposals 1, 2, and 3, respectively. County- and citywide elections abound; the Michigan Voter Information Center is available online, allowing residents to view their ballots by county, jurisdiction, and precinct.

What they’re saying: “Voting is an action word — our voices of democracy must be shouted,” says Detroit musician Laura Rain, who’s performing with her band Laura Rain and the Caesars at this year’s #iVoted Festival. “Do not let outside influences and disinformation make you feel as though your voice does not matter. Our government in the United States is elected by its citizens, and thus, the act of voting is our collective right to decide how we shape the future of our country. If you give up your right to exercise your opinion, what else are you giving away? Drop what you’re doing, get out of the house, and get to your local polling station. Just VOTE!”

Visit the #iVoted Festival online for a complete breakdown of the event line-up, schedule, voter registration information, and more.

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MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.