In the day and age where everyone is connected at any given second of the day, I feel like it’s become increasingly easy to get hung up on the negative twitter trends, clickbait Facebook links, or general headlines in the news. We all somehow manage to push the positive things that are going on aside and ruminate on the negative, and it’s no different within the music scene. I’m writing this to draw some attention to the positivity pushers, people taking the platforms they are given to improve the world around them. I’ve been a fan of many of the people involved in the projects I’m about to describe, and am beyond proud of the impact. I’m hoping to shine a little light into the world, especially as we go into one of the most giving times of the year. I’ll leave links to these incredible foundations and projects so you can check them out for yourself and feel free to hit me up with more that I may have missed, I’d love to work on a follow up and highlight more amazing causes and people.
I’m saying this now as it’ll pertain to a few causes I’m going to write about: suicide prevention, and getting help for things like depression and/or anxiety are all causes that I personally stand for very firmly. Regardless of who you are, what you believe, who you love, or how you identify you are human. You deserve love, respect, and happiness just as the rest of the world does. You are wanted here. If you need help please don’t hesitate to ask someone for it, myself included. I can help direct you to some resources that have helped me in the past or just be an ear to vent to.
The band Imagine Dragons sells out stadium tours. At this point you’d have to been living under a rock since 2009 to not have ever heard a song by them. If you’re lucky enough, you’ve seen them live and you know exactly what I say when this bands whole reason for existence is to spread love. On tour front man Dan Reynolds spreads a message of not only loving one another and knowing your worth, but that it is also okay to get help and that you’re not “broken” just because you have depression or anxiety. I’m very happy to say that I was able to witness them live this past summer. I don’t know how I didn’t hear about LoveLoud Fest sooner, but I want to put it on blast and make sure everyone knows. In 2017 Utah had one of the highest suicide rates in the United States, and Reynolds wanted to change that.
The Trevor Project reports that LGBT youth are already 3 times more likely to seriously consider suicide then their heterosexual peers and for the youth from highly rejecting families and social circles that statistic jumps to 8 times more likely. Reynolds set out to look at LGBT youth and the impacts the Mormon church’s doctrines had on the community and the kids within it. If you have the time and access to it, I highly recommend watching the documentary on how they created LoveLoud Fest called Believer and read the piece Reynolds wrote for Rolling Stone. They cover the workings of the The Church of Latter Day Saints as it relates to the cause very well and overall is a great documentary.
2017 LoveLoud festival sold out, and is documented as a beautiful night full of love and a spread of awareness. Reynolds set out to create a space for which everyone could feel free to be themselves, but also an environment that provided room for growth, learning and acceptance. He’s gone on the record to say that he’s not trying to change the doctrines of the church, but awaken and open the hearts and minds of the Mormon people that he shares his faith with.
In 2018 Reynolds and a few friends by the likes of Tyler Glenn formally of the band Neon Trees, and Teagan Quin of the band Teagan and Sara, set out to do the same again, with an ambitious goal of raising a million dollars. I’m very happy to say that LoveLoud was a huge success this year. 2018’s LoveLoud was held in a bigger venue, partnered with companies like AT&T (who also donated money to the cause), and provided another sold out show to 30,000 people in Salt Lake City. The next evening Reynolds posted a video on his twitter account announcing that the festival had reached its goal of making a million dollars to benefit many charities on both the local and national scale. Benefitting non-profits like The Teagan and Sara foundation, The Trevor Project, and Encircle, and having partnered with 17 other charities, I can’t wait to see the ripple of Change that LoveLoud Fest is bound to cause. The ending of the documentary it’s also stated that LoveLoud fest will be put on annually until it is no longer needed and suicide is no longer a problem.
Known today for his work under the name Andrew McMahon in the wilderness, Andrew McMahon started The Dear Jack Foundation after being diagnosed with Acute Lymphatic Leukemia while on tour with Jack’s Mannequin during the summer of 2005. 22 at the time, and on the day McMahon had been just finishing up a tour and his first album, a trip to the doctor ended in his diagnosis. McMahon had a video camera from the record label to document his time making the album and his time on tour, and continued to film his time in the hospital and throughout treatment, thus giving birth to the film Dear Jack later down the line.
Founded in 2006, Dear Jack is a voice and change maker for adolescents and young adults with cancer. In their 2017 annual report, McMahon writes about how, though not to discredit the doctors and medical professionals working in the hospitals, adolescents and young adults have a different set of needs when it comes to treatment and survivor-ship. Things like mental health, college and career lives post treatment often gets forgotten about once you beat cancer. That’s what the foundation is trying to help with. Through various events, fundraisers, and concerts Dear Jack has been able to add people to the bone marrow registry which can be life saving for cancer patients. Through fundraisers they have been providing wellness retreats for cancer survivors and even have programs in place to get survivors to college.
Dear Jack is currently holding their 2018 200K Challenge, a competition that encourages fans to hold fundraisers themselves for the foundation and even provide resources and steps to help. The highest raising fundraiser will win a private living room concert with McMahon, others will win tickets to shows, and so on. The most incredible thing about this is that the fundraiser ends November 11th, but the goal has already been met and surpassed. The 200K challenge has (as I’m writing this right now) risen $241,904 through fans.
When I ask for important organizations within my personal realm of the music scene, most people around me say Hope for The Day (HFTD) and rightfully so. You see their brand everywhere now within the scene, artists, photographers, promoters, and fans alike all rep the brand, even down to my own wrist. I never take the bracelet off, and I’ve had people compliment the pin on my backpack. Reporting 121 completed suicides a day in the US alone, HFTD looks to decrease the stigma through a spread in awareness by providing access resources and education. The website has a wide range of resources for everyone, and have a range of education programs to spread in any community.
This past summer Hope for the Day was on the last ever touring Warped Tour as it been for 4 years, and it made its presence known. By working with various bands, speaking before others came on stage, and getting people to sign their pledge I’d be surprised if anyone left not at least knowing why they were there. Through Warped they’ve spread their message to crowds who are already populated with fans who openly admit to struggling with mental health and how a song, band or artist saved their life. Bands like Neck Deep on years prior and then this year bands like Sleep on It, State Champs, The Maine, and other’s in the scene talk about the organization on stage and online, wear their merchandise, and even have Boucher himself speak before a set. Patty Walters of As It Is partnered with Boucher and HFTD to host a free TEI course before gates that day at Warped that discussed taking care of your mental health, and important tools on how bring mental wellness into your life.
Hope for the Day has become a staple in the Warped Tour scene and I’m proud to say it’s reach is growing. Through Warped, HFTD over the past four years has been able to get their message out to over 400,000 people in 44 cities in just the US. Hope for the Day and Founder Jonny Boucher are doing some incredible work toward ending the stigma and silence around mental health and suicide.
Having been a part of the music scene I am in for the past few years and being annoyingly talkative in public, I’ve had the pleasure of talking to a great number of people coming from a plethora of different backgrounds at shows. We follow each other on things like Twitter and Instagram, and most of the time you form some form of friendship. The cool thing about this scene is the fact that most seem to get what you mean when you say “Oh that song/band/album etc. got me through a lot.” There’s no judgement, and you hear these incredible stories of how artists have helped people get through a tough time in their life whether that be physically, mentally, or otherwise. That exact feeling is what the album Songs that Saved My Life is paying homage to.
It’s no secret that music plays a great role in so many people’s lives, fans and artists alike. Through this compilation and working with the various artists on it, the brand is looking to share artist’s stories, covers of amazing songs, make merch and raise money for mental health benefiting and suicide prevention causes like the Trevor Project, Hope for the Day, To Write Love On Her Arms, and The Crisis Text Line.
The Compilation Album drops on November 9th, be sure to preorder and jam out to all your favorite bands cover some killer songs. Be sure to check out the merch they’re selling on their website and follow them on your favorite social medias. All the links are on their website!