Sunday, May 20, 2018
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Musicians backing Kerry try to strike a chord with voters

COLUMBUS - Pearl Jam will rock Toledo on Oct. 2 as part of a series of concerts, called Vote for Change, featuring 20 performers trying to raise millions to help elect John Kerry to the White House.

Bruce Springsteen, R.E.M., James Taylor, the Dixie Chicks, the Dave Matthews Band, James Taylor, John Mellencamp, Bonnie Raitt, Pearl Jam, and Jackson Browne are among the artists who will perform simultaneous concerts in Toledo, Cleveland, Dayton, and Cincinnati on the same Saturday night.

In all, more than 30 shows are planned in 28 cities over the course of one week.

Every ticket purchased will represent a contribution to America Coming Together, a nonprofit committee unabashedly working to oust President Bush on Nov. 2.

"We feel we're headed in the wrong direction," said Ms. Raitt, the singer-guitarist who previously has supported Ralph Nader, Howard Dean, and Dennis Kucinich.

"I'm throwing my support to Kerry-Edwards," she said. "We're primarily trying to get people to vote, get involved, come to shows, and learn about a different way to look at our future."

No venue or ticket price had been set as of yesterday for the Toledo event, which will include the Seattle band Death Cab for Cutie.

On Sunday, Oct. 3, the Vote for Change Tour will target Michi-

gan. The Springsteen-R.E.M. combo will perform in Ann Arbor while the Dave Matthews Band and the Dixie Chicks-James Taylor combo perform at separate venues in Detroit.

The series of concerts in nine battleground states will benefit ACT, a committee created under the federal McCain-Feingold campaign finance law.

ACT is aligned with the MoveOn Political Action Committee, which, in turn, is a spinoff of, the nonprofit committee financing many of the anti-Bush, pro-Kerry commercials airing across the country, particularly in Ohio.

By law, the nonprofit committees cannot coordinate their efforts with the Kerry-Edwards campaign, but all have the same goal. Those purchasing tickets will have to provide personal information such as their names, addresses, and employers in order to comply with federal campaign finance disclosure rules. Tickets go on sale Aug. 21.

"This is an important election with serious issues and clear choices between the candidates," said Heather Layman, spokesman for the Republican National Committee. "It's not about celebrities.

"Folks in Ohio know well the ads they've been running," she said. "This is money going to groups that are working against President Bush. It's clear what the money is for and what the agenda is here."

The artists will donate their time with all proceeds after expenses going into an ACT fund financing mailers, phone calls, and door-to-door efforts.

Mike Mills, bassist for R.E.M., said the artists know they're setting themselves up for criticism, especially after seeing the reaction to recent comments made at a pro-Kerry concert by Whoopi Goldberg and the CD burnings that followed comments made by Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks last year.

"I believe the outcome of this election is far more important than my career," he said. "I'm willing to risk that."

Contact Jim Provance at:

or 614-221-0496.

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