How The Festival Community Gives Back

| October 10, 2017

There is a misconstrued perception that music festivals are just about partying, but little do people know the festival community is about making change. Music festivals embody a cultural movement of expression, acceptance and progression. When you go to a festival you become inspired by the love and freedom that is all around you, which pushes you in to embodying your true self.

Whether it's people advocating for serious topics such as voting, climate change, or fracking, or even social injustices such as gender norms and equality, there is activism everywhere. Many music festivals welcome non-profit organizations to come and educate their attendees. Major music festivals like Electric Forest and Summer Camp benefit non-profits every year. 

Here is a list of just a few organizations in the festival scene that are making a difference.


Advocates Of Change

Advocates Of Change was founded in the fall of 2014 by two inspiring and loving souls, Casey Papp and Kevin O'neill. First known as Share Your Cloud, this organization was created through friends and music enthusiasts about how to promote an atmosphere of activism within the music community.

At each event Advocates Of Change benefits a local cause or charity by holding an art raffle with artwork that has been donated by a number of artists. They also have action days, where people can volunteer to do things like help pick up trash, cultivate the earth and assist other non profit organizations. Advocates Of Change has helped countless of organizations and communities as well as inspired thousands of music festival goers to participate in activism. 


Conscious Alliance

Conscious Alliance is a non profit organization based in Boulder, Colorado who's primary objective is to support communities in crisis through hunger relief and youth empowerment. Since 2002 they have provided over 2 million meals to Native American reservations and communities nationwide.

Conscious Alliance has held awareness programs and foods drives at hundreds of live music events and festivals. For seven consecutive years they have teamed up with Electric Forest Music Festival holding a canned food drive where tens of thousands of non perishable food items are collected to feed those in need. 



HeadCount is a grassroots organization that uses the power of music to inspire participation in democracy. Established in 2004 they've held massive voter registration drives around the United States and signed up over 250,000 voters. Their primary message,  "Make your voice heard every day, not just on Election Day." 


The WaterWheel Foundation

The WaterWheel Foundation is a charitable partnership between Phish and their fan community that has been in action for 20 years. While actively benefiting non profits in Vermont where the band came together, The WaterWheel Touring Division also raises funds for pre-selected non-profits in each community that Phish visits while on tour. The Touring Division has donated over $1,000,000 to more than 425 groups.


Dollar Per Basshead

Dollar Per Basshead was founded by electronic music artist Bassnectar. They collect $1 from every Bassnectar ticket sold and donate the funds to organizations that are doing great things in the world in support of health, liberty, compassion, and equality. Dollar Per Basshead allows for bassheads to vote which charity they want their money to go to, giving music lovers the choice of who and how they want to help. 



Founded in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1998 by Emanuel Sferios, DanceSafe is a public health organization prioritizing health and safety in the nightlife and electronic music community. DanceSafe is a national organization with chapters in cities across North America.

Their principles include harm reduction and peer-based, widespread education. DanceSafe provides services in educating festival attendees on drugs and allowing them to test their substances in order to know exactly what it is. 


Live your life to the fullest by giving back. Find out how you can make a difference in the music festival community by visiting their websites!

Also check out how iEDM has chosen to give back HERE.

about the writer

Lauren Newey

Lauren Aura

Read More...Lauren Aura lives in Indianapolis, Indiana where she is currently majoring in Graphic Design at the Art Institute of Indianapolis. Art, dance and music are her greatest passions and expressions.

She attended her first music festival in 2013 which then ignited her passion for festival culture.

Her favorite artists are Papadosio, Emancipator, Imagined Herbal Flows Alejo, and Tycho.

Her favorite festivals include, Resonance, Hyperion, Good People Good Times, The Werk Out and Paradise.

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