For the second year in a row, the Gulf Restoration Network partnered with the Voodoo Experience to educate festival attendees about the issue of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands crisis. Voodoo Experience is one of New Orleans’ largest and most popular musical festivals. As the festival’s official nonprofit partner, GRN worked with event organizers to educate performing artists about the issues.GRN had a major presence in the private musician’s lounge and organized a press conference in the media tent with artists Marc Broussard, “Big Sam” Williams and Dan Dyer. GRN’s artist gift bags proved to be a big hit, and featured our Defend New Orleans – Defend the Coast tee (printed on Alternative’s 100% organic cotton tee) a green AlternativeEarth blank tee, a signed copy of Bayou Farewell (special thanks to author Mike Tidwell, a dvd of Walter William’s coastal documentaries, some Aveda beauty products (thanks Aveda) and some other great items. A highlight of the musician’s outreach came when REM lead singer Michael Stipe announced to the crowd that they should support GRN and visit our table at the festival. (Though our volunteer Liz might disagree and point to the photo below of her with NIN’s Trent Reznor as the highlight).A team of fantastic volunteers worked hard all three days to illustrate to festival goers the fate of the Gulf coast, letting people know with every song they heard at Voodoo, an area of Louisiana wetlands the size of the massive main stage turned to open water due to our national need for oil & gas and dependable shipping lanes. The message apparently sunk in with hundreds of people texting “COAST” to 77007 to support the cause, or stopping by the table to sign up as a member (and receive GRN’s special limited edition CD No Coast – NO Music featuring Louisiana Voodoo artists Marc Broussard, Theresa Andersson, Galactic, the New Orleans Bingo Show and others). Head here to support the cause that the musicians were so fired up about.On Monday we took our artist outreach to new heights (HA) by arranging a coastal flyover for Clint Maedgen (Bingo, Preservation Hall, Liquidrone, etc.), Stanton Moore (Galactic, above, rockin’ the defend the coast tee), and a great last second addition, Angelo Moore from Fishbone! As a longtime Fishbone fan, I was thrilled. Special thanks to Gulf Coast Aviation for cutting us a great deal, and our pilot Leigh Smith (also known as the guy that threw javelin for the USA in Beijing). We look forward to continued collaborations with the great musicians who are helping spread the cultural value of coastal Louisiana to a national and international audience.Aaron Viles is GRN’s Campaign Director.

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