It has been 25 years since the first Lollapalooza debuted in 1991. Starting off as touring festival by Jane’s Addiction frontman, Perry Farrell, it has developed into a world-renowned music festival that hosts some of the most influential musicians of our time. For those who consider themselves festival aficionados, Lollapalooza is considered a festival MUST.
This year, as you find yourself navigating from stage to stage to stage, you are going to stumble across a very special area. No, I’m not referring to Chow Town. This area, known as Lolla Cares, is set to showcase select non-profit organizations that focus on enriching the lives of others as well as helping the environment and local communities. Twelve organizations have arranged to have a booth this year. Each non-profit has a unique purpose with missions that range from political activism, sober living, medical funding, natural disasters, and poverty. Here are a select few that stood out to us.
Lollapalooza has roots in Chicago and it’s no wonder why the festival gave the nonprofit Chicago Cares a platform for its cause. Chicago Cares is a organization that looks for volunteers in the area to help with projects that improve the immediate needs of the city. One of the events that the organization holds every year is called Warm Up Chicago. Warm Up Chicago is a clothing drive that asks residents to donate hats and gloves to thousands of children, adults and seniors who do not have access to these essential winter items. Their website has a daily calendar featuring events across the city in need of volunteers. An event that happens every Monday is Lakeview Seniors Pet Therapy where pet owners can bring their friendly animals to visit with residents of the Lakeview Nursing and Rehabilitation Centre to help spread love and joy. Every Thursday they hold an event called Bingo Fun at Symphony of Lincoln Park. This event asks volunteers to assist or play bingo alongside seniors of the Symphony of Lincoln Park rehabilitation center who otherwise may not have many opportunities to interact with others and have fun socially. There is an option on the website where you can enter your zipcode and find volunteer opportunities close to your neighborhood. Chicago Cares is a fantastic way to volunteer and create immediate change for the better in Chicago.
A organization that speaks to me personally is the Love Hope Strength Foundation. This charity founded by two cancer survivors uses concerts and music festivals as a platform to ask attendees to sign up for the International Bone Marrow Registry through a easy cheek swab that could lead to a life saving transplant. Adding names to the registry gives people with blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma hope across the globe. The foundation has added over 129,000 music fans to the registry. When Love Hope Strength Foundation began they focused on using funds raised “to purchase medical equipment and supplies, raise awareness through special events, documentaries and media, and help build cancer centers”. A documentary was commissioned by MTV called ‘Everest Rocks’ that featured the Love Hope Strength founders James Chippendale and Mike Peters plus performances by bands the Fixx, the Alarm, Stray Cats, Squeze, Nick Harper and more on a two week trek up Mt. Everest. On the journey, they raised money for the Nepal cancer center. The foundation can be found at concerts and festivals across the United States and is constantly looking for volunteers to run their booths.
In 2004, more than 200,000 people died due to the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. It is considered to be one of the ten worst earthquakes that have been recorded. In addition to the high death toll, cities were destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people were left with nothing. In response to this natural disaster, the band Linkin Park founded Music for Relief (MFR). The organization’s mission is to provide aid and support to victims of natural disasters and to reduce climate change. MFR is comprised of musicians and fans that organize online auctions, benefit concerts, and other events to assist those in need and help rebuild their communities. The humanitarian organization has helped raise over $7 million since it first began. They have helped survivors from all around the world including those who were affected by Hurricane Katrina, China’s Wenchuan earthquake, Zimbabwe’s cholera outbreak, earthquakes in Haiti and Japan, and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. If you would like to make a donation to help those in need, please visit here.
For more than 25 years, Rock the Vote has helped to created ways to make voting easier for young adults. It is currently the largest nonprofit and nonpartisan organization in the United States that is driving the youth vote to the polls. They utilize music, art, pop culture, and technology to encourage young adults to become politically active. The organization facilitates in voter registration, shows you how to contact your state elected official, and how to check your voter status. Rock the Vote wants the youth community to know that their voice counts and ensures that their vote does too.
So, when you have a moment to spare in between acts you want to see, you should visit the Lolla Cares area. Also, select organizations may be hosting a limited amount of giveaways throughout the duration of the event. Why not help out your local community and score awesome freebies at the same time?