If there is one thing that inspires me more than music, it is when people come together for the common good. Chicago’s annual music festival, Lollapalooza, brought together my twin loves for a weekend of fun. With a clipboard in hand, a smile on my face and a couple other great ONE members by my side, I was able to help in the effort to add almost 3,000 new voices to ONE.
The festival began at 11 a.m. on Friday, and we were unsure about how many people would stop by our tent. But by noon, with more than 100 new members, it was clear that we were going to need to run out to a copy store for more sign-up sheets — a good problem to have. The weekend was off to a fast start. When we finally packed up after the first day, we had filled more than 70 sign up sheets: 705 new ONE members.
The next day I had the morning off of volunteering and had a chance to wander around the festival grounds, meeting some of the other nonprofits there and seeing some great bands. After enjoying the jazz vocal stylings of Bostonian Julia Easterlin, I made my way back to the ONE tent for another round of volunteering. It was just midday, and my cohorts had already signed up more than 600 new ONE members! I decided then that, despite my faltering voice, I was going to push through and keep telling concertgoers about how easy and important it is to be a part of ONE. It was worth it: at the end of the second day, we had signed up more than 1,200 new members.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to help out on the final day of the festival, but from what I heard from my fellow volunteers, they rocked the last day of Lollapalooza. Despite intermittent driving rains they added more than 1,000 new names to our member list. These new members are from all over the world: from Australia to Germany to Ireland to Canada to right down the block in Chicago, people from diverse corners of the world will now be able to take their ONE bands home and strike up a conversation about what we’re doing in the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease.
I took the train into Chicago without knowing how much success we should expect in recruiting new members to the cause. But after three days of hard work, sore throats and farmers’ tans, I can rest easy in the knowledge that the ONE Campaign made just as much noise at Lollapalooza as the bands did.
-James Watt, ONE member