You may have seen the news item over at Pitchfork about concerned musicians who want to make sure that the next President — whether it's John McCain or Barack Obama — doesn't forget about those still suffering in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
The artists — including several veterans of FMC's Artist Activism Camps in New Orleans — signed a letter (PDF) calling upon Obama and McCain to attend a September 18 presidential forum in the Big Easy and talk about their vision for the city's recovery.
R.E.M., Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor, My Morning Jacket, Pearl Jam, Galactic, the Coup's Boots Riley, Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, Buckwheat Zydeco, Jackson Browne, the Neville Brothers, Indigo Girls, OK Go, 311, and Howlin' Wolf associate Hubert Sumlin are among the musician and industry peeps who lent their name to the cause.
Ever since the disaster (and the woeful Federal response that followed), FMC has encouraged prominent artists to lend their time and energy to assisting displaced New Orleans musicians. To this end, we've organized benefit shows, house parties and more. Why? Because we want to make sure that New Orleans — with its unique musical character and amazing history — continues to be a cultural beacon to America and beyond.
Our annual Artist Activism Camp brings together musicians from a range of genres to discuss how to engage in positive social change. While in New Orleans, attendees visit affected communities to learn about revitalization efforts, and what they can do to help. This is incredibly important to the city's musicians, many of whom are still scattered across the country. By working closely with groups like Air Traffic Control and Sweet Home New Orleans, FMC and our artist pals help New Orleans' cultural ambassadors return to their homes and neighborhoods.
The next Artist Activism Camp takes place in December 2008; more details as they emerge!