Music and membership: The best moments of summer advocacy
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Music and membership: The best moments of summer advocacy

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At ONE, we strive to be scrappy and smart as we mobilize, educate, and advocate across the USA. Every year, we put our abilities to the test at music festivals across the country!

Our teams of artists, activists, faith leaders, business leaders, students, and scientists spend their days at summer shows, fighting off the sunburn and amplifying a crucial message: everyone, everywhere, should lead a life of dignity and opportunity.

From Connecticut to Colorado, and Texas to Tennessee, you can find our volunteers serving at these festivals. We asked Maddie Marsh, a ONE Campus Leader at Auburn University in Alabama, why she volunteers. Maddie recently spent a week on a farm in Tennessee at Bonnaroo Music Festival for the first time, advocating to 85,000 attendees on the fight against preventable diseases by writing letters to their senators.

Q: Why did you choose to take off work, invest in plane tickets, and spend a week of your summer helping at the ONE booth at Bonnaroo Music Festival?

“I have grown up loving music fest environments and concerts. I also love to support nonprofits like the ONE campaign. The combination of the two opportunities was perfect! I knew I wanted to be a part of it.”

Q: Was the experience what you expected?

“It was definitely not what I expected! There were highs and lows — from pouring rain the first night causing our tent to flood, to being front row for one of my favorite artists. Ultimately, after hours and hours of hard work, being able to hold a huge stack of letters and see what a huge impact I had in just one day was so fulfilling. Overall it was so fun and I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Q: How did you feel talking to people about something serious when everyone is there to have fun? How did people respond, and were you surprised?

“For the most part, I was surprised in a good way that people wanted to help and felt good when they did a good deed. Some people had personal stories about themselves or their loved ones being affected by these diseases (HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis).”

Q: How did you feel after the week was done? Would you do this again?

“The experience was exhausting but I learned so much and would do it again in a heartbeat! Although it is a big-time commitment & camping every night is a challenge, it was so worth all the sweat and sunburn.”

Check out some of our favorite activist moments from festivals this summer:

Midwest volunteers gathered to collect letters and reminisce about the good ole’ days of summer camps at Summer Camp Festival in Chillicothe, IL.

Barb, a ONE volunteer leader, fought for extreme poverty on the beach at the Vans Warped Tour at Atlantic City Beach, NJ.

The water station attracted thirsty concert-goers and activists alike at Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, TN.

Fans of Christian music took a break from shows to learn more about how they can get involved locally with ONE at Lifest in Oshkosh, WI.

…And that’s only so far! Later this summer, we’re planning to be at Austin City Limits and more! As you can see, we make a difference at the largest festivals in America each summer, but these events wouldn’t be possible without volunteers like you!

Want to volunteer with ONE at a festival in your community? Email [email protected] if you are interested in sunburn, shows, and service!

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