SSDP at Bass Center 2019

Table set up: sign reading
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Bass Center XII was an intentionally socially conscious event that encouraged participation on multiple levels. While most music events just have music, the Be Interactive and Bassnectar team created intentional space outside of the venue for nonprofits to engage attendees. Before the venue doors opened, there were hundreds and hundreds of people congregating outside to talk to non-profit organizations, do yoga, and support local art and food vendors. Bassnectar’s team of “ambassadors” handed out free water and walked around with signs covered in empowering messages. Local police officers walked around and interacted directly with show attendees by passing out free cloth wristbands to commemorate the event. Attendees collected 2,237 pounds of food for the Virginia Peninsula Food Bank with Conscious Alliance, and Hampton Healthy Families collected hundreds of donations of feminine care supplies. 

The true rockstar of the event, however, was HeadCount. HeadCount distributed wristbands that say “The Future is Voting” and made an impassioned stand about the power of civic engagement. Team lead Emily Himes and her volunteers registered 415 voters in two days – shattering their registration count from last year, which ranked sixth in overall event voter registration for 2018.

Emily shared that “[t]he anticipation for Bass Center after such a major record last year (at 383 voter registrations) was something myself and the entire team felt a lot of honor to be pressured with. HeadCount is a nonpartisan non-profit, we are less interested in your political views and more focused on empowering you to act on what inspires you. The underground bass scene has cultivated a culture of mindfulness and empathy that is steadily growing. This fan base is eager to utilize the tools we provide, make more educated decisions, and take more deliberate actions when it comes to elections. As an organizer for HeadCount, I am constantly impressed by the desire and potential for impact within this community. This nation deserves to hear, see, and feel the values of this family.”

For SSDP members, tabling alongside HeadCount was a deeply inspiring experience, and we have never been so sure that 2020 is the year we will change everything.

With over 9000 attendees per day, Bass Center was also a powerful place to organize around drug policy reform. Our Phone2Action metrics included 9 engagements for the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act and 12 engagements for the Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE) Act, in recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day. Our Phone2Action metrics were lower than expected, but this is likely related to the lack of consistent cell phone service during peak outreach hours (so many Bassheads, so little internet). Be Interactive amplified our message by making posts on Instagram and Facebook encouraging Bassheads to participate in our International Overdose Awareness Day action. We also collected $50 in donations and gathered 50 SSDP sign-ups. SSDP volunteers connected with hundreds of participants and inspired the founding of at least one new chapter. 


Bass Center was also one of the events where SSDP promoted its People for Sensible Drug Culture campaign. The PSDC x Be Interactive campaign invites people to vote for “addiction” as the next Be Interactive grant theme. Young people are the largest voting generation in the United States, and we have the power to demand an end to the War on Drugs. A Be Interactive grant would amplify our message and empower us to center drug policy in the minds of young people for the 2020 election. Over the course of the event, we collected 80 PSDC sign-ups and had hundreds of conversations, and Be Interactive shared our Instagram story about PSDC to their Instagram story. This support from Be Interactive feels like a level up, and we will move into the final few weeks of festival season with all of these lessons in mind. The countdown to NYE 360 begins!