Every year, thousands of music festivals take place around the world. Perhaps inspired in part by George Harrison’s 1971 arena benefit show, “The Concert for Bangladesh,” a multi-artist concert that raised money for East Pakistani refugees following the Bhola Cyclone, festivals now incorporate special activities that contribute to poverty relief in surprising ways. Here is a list of threee music festivals from around the country that play good music while contributing to relief organizations.

1. Firefly hosted by Red Frog Events
A relatively new music festival, Firefly began in 2011 and takes place every year in Dover, DE. Located “among lush wooded landscapes,” Firefly brings in notable alternative and popular artists such as Yeasayer, Lupe Fiasco, and Bassnectar. Unlike other festivals, Firefly offers a TOMS booth which allows festival attendees to purchase a pair of TOMS shoes and have them customized by an artist. As with other TOMS programs, including eyeware, for every pair of shoes sold TOMS will donate another as part of its One For One Movement.

2. Bonnaroo
Located in Tennessee on a 700 acre stretch of land, Bonnaroo celebrate camping, music, and global awareness. One section of their festival is dedicated to “Planet Roo,” an area dedicated to a “variety of nonprofit organizations committed to protecting our resources, promoting healthy lifestyles and making the world a better place,” states their website. Although unrelated to global aid, Bonnaroo has also asked buyers to donate an additional $1 when they purchase their tickets.  The proceeds go toward an on-site solar array and other eco-projects.

3. Lollapalooza
Chicago hosts this behemoth of a festival that began in 1991 by Jane’s Addiction front man, Perry Farrell. Over a three-day time period, the festival showcases popular and up and coming artists to over 225,000 fans. In addition to the concerts, Lollapalooza also offers informational booths dedicated to non-profit organizations, including One, a global grassroots advocacy organization, “dedicated to fighting extreme poverty, preventable disease and hunger around the world.” Alongside One is Oxfam, another global organization that seeks to correct the inequity created by poverty, hunger and injustice.

Emily Bajet

Sources: Lollapalooza, Lollapalooza Billboard, Rolling Stone, Fast Company

Ever imagine combining a love for music with a passion for social activism?  That is exactly what the Global Poverty Project did with the Global Citizen Ticket Initiative. This innovative initiative seeks to reward social activism with something music lovers seek: concert tickets! Social activists can now use their passion for changing the world to earn music tickets. The initiative builds off the Global Poverty Project’s highly successful Global Citizen Festival which was held in New York City in 2012. 60,000 people earned free tickets to that event by participating in social activist activities.

The initiative is supported by musicians such as Pearl Jam and music industry professionals who want to see engagement around global poverty and make the eradication of global poverty a reality.  Musicians can inspire and motivate individuals to action; their support is extremely important to the cause. The goal is to rally thousands around causes such as polio, malaria, women’s empowerment, and education.  By adding incentives, the Global Poverty Project hopes to reach a larger number of individuals and spread the message even farther.

Global Citizen tickets are earned based off of a point reward system.  The points are linked to levels of involvement in social activism. For example, posting a link on Facebook earns one point whereas calling your senator will earn five points. The points can be redeemed for local concerts as well as passes to major music fests like Bonnaroo. It’s a way of rewarding people for their actions and providing an alternative to purchasing concert tickets. Several artists who have signed on to participate include John Mayer, Kayne West, Rihanna, Tim McGraw, and the Dixie Chicks. A complete list of artists and festivals is available on the website.

Music fans and activists alike are invited to participate in the Global Citizen Ticket initiative.  Their is an innovative online platform as well as mobile application to make participation easy. To get involved, register at and get started raising awareness and earning rewards today.

– Amanda Kloeppel

Source: JamBase

Bonnaroo Music Festival Has Donated $5 Million

The internationally acclaimed Bonnaroo music festival has become one of the top, grand festivals in the world – and its philanthropic impact is greater for it. Event partner Rick Farman says, “One of our founding principles is to give back at the local, regional and national levels, and we are pleased that we’ve been able to significantly impact a number of organizations.” Since its inception in 2002, the event has donated a total of $5 million to regional and global non-profit organizations.

A portion of every ticket sold goes to the Bonnaroo Works Fund, and the fund then distributes the money to an amazing array of groups, including Doctors Without Borders, MusiCares, Habitat for Humanity, Boys and Girls Club of America, Rock the Earth, the American Red Cross, and the Sierra Club. The money also is allocated to emergency aid for natural disasters like the Haitian earthquake, and Hurricane Katrina. The fund is administered by the East Tennessee Foundation (ETF), which helps identify and vet organizations, looking for those that have the most impact, including arts, education, and environment sustainability. Additionally, Bonnaroo fans fully funded a solar panel system that will be used to generate power for the concerts.

This year’s outdoor festival is June 13-16 in Manchester, Tennessee, USA. A four day event with 150 performances ranging from musicians to comedians, performing on 10 different stages across 700 acres of farmland. An estimated 80,000 fans will camp out for the entire event. Some of the headliners for the 2013 Bonnaroo are Paul McCartney, Mumford & Sons, Tom Petty, Bjork, Wilco, R. Kelly, Wu-Tang Clan and many more.

Rick Farman further explained that Bonnaroo organizers have promised to significantly increase the amount raised over the next 10 years. The Bonnaroo Works Fund will provide for more innovative programs, and will upgrade charitable outreach and philanthropic support.

– Mary Purcell

Source:, Music News Nashville