George W. Bush and John Kerry aren't the only ones concentrating their efforts on swing states.
The Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, R.E.M., Death Cab for Cutie, Bright Eyes, Jurassic 5, My Morning Jacket, Ben Harper, Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, the Dixie Chicks, John Mellencamp, Jackson Browne, James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt are among the artists taking part in the Vote for Change Tour, which will hit key battleground states across the country in early October.
The tour, presented by MoveOn's political action committee and America Coming Together (ACT), will feature more than 20 bands and artists. With all proceeds benefiting ACT's voter education and mobilization efforts in battleground states, the Vote for Change Tour kicks off on October 1 and runs through October 10, according to MoveOn.org.
"We plan to do something never done before," the artist declaration on MoveOn PAC's Web site says, "to concentrate our energies in the states where the election is expected to be closest."
Vote for Change, created by a partnership of artists four months ago, will stage approximately 34 concerts in 29 cities in nine states during the trek.
"A vote for change is a vote for a stronger, safer, healthier America," Dave Matthews said in a statement. "A vote for Bush is a vote for a divided, unstable, paranoid America. It is our duty to this beautiful land to let our voices be heard. That's the reason for the tour. That's why I'm doing it."
The format for the tour will be several concerts taking place in different cities on each night of the outing. Participating artists will be divided into six groups that will play together on each night.
Tickets for the concerts go on sale August 21.
The organization of the concerts is unique in that the artists grouped themselves. According to Eli Pariser of MoveOn PAC, Springsteen invited R.E.M. and Bright Eyes to share the bill with him, a decision momentous in itself since Springsteen does not employ opening acts on his own tours. What's more, Springsteen has never so openly participated in electoral politics.
Though many politicians will be visiting the same swing states that the Vote for Change Tour is hitting, Ellen Malcolm of ACT is confident that the artists will play a large part in inspiring fans to get out to the polls.
"I think a lot of voters would think that Bruce Springsteen and Dave Matthews understand a lot more about what's going on in their lives than politicians do," she said. "There are a lot of people turned off from the political system, and they think that the artists have a passion and an interest in regular folks that comes through in their music."
Pariser believes that the tour will help MoveOn PAC's goal of influencing the election. "This is an emergency," he said, "and rock and roll, the music of rebellion, can help lead the way."
Vote for Change Tour dates, according to MoveOn:
Pearl Jam/ Death Cab for Cutie:
- 10/1 - Reading, PA
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band/ R.E.M./ John Fogerty/ Bright Eyes:
Dave Matthews Band/ Jurassic 5/ My Morning Jacket:
- 10/1 - State College, PA
Jackson Browne/ Bonnie Raitt/ Keb' Mo':
- 10/1 - Williamsport, PA
Dixie Chicks/ James Taylor:
- 10/1 - Pittsburgh, PA
John Mellencamp/ Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds:
- 10/1 - Wilkes-Barre, PA
This story was updated August 4, 2004 at 4:37 p.m. ET