Bands play at free concert to 'Rock the Vote'
Hip-hop group Nappy Roots and local band Troy's Bucket played Friday night for screaming students all with one thing in common - they were all registered voters.
The concert on Bear Down Field was free for all students as a part of Rock the Vote 2004, a national effort to get young people to vote in the upcoming presidential election.
"It's a good idea to have a concert to have people jump on the voting bandwagon," said Kyle Lynch, a psychology senior. "It's cool to see famous people trying to promote voter registration."
Ryan Patterson, Arizona Students Association director, said 1,830 students came to the concert and more than 100 registered that night.
"I think the bands got the message across about voting," Patterson said.
Nappy Roots, the No. 1 hip-hop group of 2002, headlined the concert, and the group made a point to promote political involvement.
"Vote or die," all members of the group said throughout their performance. "Make it a point to go out and vote!"
Although members of Nappy Roots did not tell the audience who to vote for or which candidate they preferred, they stressed the importance of some of the campaign issues.
"After Sept. 11, (2001), Nappy Roots will never do another show without paying respect to the dead," one of the group members said.
The hip-hop group played a tribute to the soldiers overseas and said they visited Iraq in June 2003.
Troy's Bucket, a Tucson punk and ska band, also encouraged students to go to the polls on Nov. 2.
Lead singer James Lesure, a music senior, said his band is happy to perform at an event that gets young people involved in politics.
"Music makes light of political issues, but there is an underlying seriousness about it," he said.
Lesure said it is important for young voters to be knowledgeable about campaign issues.
"Voters need to make their decisions and not just vote how their parents vote," Lesure said.
Steven Eddy, an Associated Students of the University of Arizona senator, said ASUA is trying to do everything possible to give students the opportunity to register to vote.
The deadline for voter registration is today, and the Rock the Vote concert was organized so students could register before it was too late.
"This was our last big push for voter registration," Eddy said.
Eddy said students in the 18-to-24-year-old demographic can have a dramatic effect on the upcoming election.
"With about 37,000 students at UA, we have a huge presence on our campus," he said.
Many students in the audience thought the concert was a great way to promote voter registration and make students more politically aware.
"Voting is necessary for the future of the country," said Mariya Weaks, a communication sophomore. "The only way to change government is to vote."
Brad Smith, a retail senior, said he thinks college-aged voters are more aware of the issues than they were a few years ago and students need to vote because of that.
"We are one of the few countries that can vote, and we need to use it," Smith said.
Other students responded to the mix of politics and entertainment.
"It makes students think because musicians have such a big impact on people," said Marina Treese, a veterinary science freshman.
Jimmy Matthews, an anthropology junior, said although luring students to a free concert by registering to vote could work, he worries students do not understand the responsibility of voting.
"It takes away the seriousness of politics," Matthews said.