Event gives students chance to ‘rock the vote’

By Gus Bode

Four bands perform in free forum area

Event hopes to give students opportunity to hear music, register to vote

Organizer hopes to register approximately 1,000 voters


As a band member, Alvy Caby is used to the anticipation that precedes a performance. Because of this, he is also accustomed to the chaos that often takes place before it.

Caby experienced both emotions Monday while working with other groups, including the Undergraduate Student Government, to organize the Voting Rocks event, an opportunity for students to hear local bands while registering to vote.

“I don’t have a lot of resources to come up with something like this,” said Caby, a 1998 SIUC alumnus and member of the band Market Square Time Bomb. “But I wanted to see a benefit where people get into something like this and get involved in making a difference.”

From there, Caby, who said he was predominantly concerned with the present state of the economy, contacted Carbondale Mayor Brad Cole. Cole was able to share with him the appropriate means, including the location, to form such an event. After finding out more about use of the Free Forum Area, across from Parkinson’s Laboratory, as well as obtaining use of sound equipment, he began contacting bands about performing at the event.

According to Caby, all four of the bands were similar hard rock types, who agreed to play free of charge for the good cause.

Voting Rocks was a first year occurrence at SIUC. It took place in the area a small distance from the bridge known as the Free Forum Area. Although it was scheduled to begin at approximately 10 a.m., some delay on the delivery of the stage and other necessary props caused the concert and voter registration to begin a little behind the time Caby planned.

“We didn’t get the stage on time, the forms were a little late, some of my band members are late and it looks like they may not be coming at all,” Caby said as he waited for the crowd to arrive shortly after noon. “You’ve got to take the good with the bad.”


Despite running behind schedule, organizers, bands and individuals attempting to attract voters had seen about 100 potential registers by 12:15 p.m. Stacey Roman was one student who, although not involved with a particular band or organization, had taken the time to assist in registering students.

“I said if I’m going to stand here I might as well help register,” said Roman, a junior in English education from Granite City.

Roman said the number of students who agreed to register did not only excite her, but also those who informed her that they were already registered brought a smile to her face. While ecstatic about this, Roman realized that not all of the passers-by were telling the truth. Still, she said she believed that at least half were truthful about their registration status.

Howard Harper was one passer-by who did not attempt to lie about his registration status and took the time to listen to the performances at the Voting Rocks event, as well as to register to vote.

“I just wanted to hear some music and you get to get registered to vote and that’s important too,” said Harper, a junior in fashion merchandising from Evansville, Ind. “A lot of people may think that’s not important if they don’t see the cause or effect to it.”

One of the bands Harper enjoyed that afternoon was This Social Deathbed, close friends of Caby’s who rose to the occasion of performing at the free and charitable event. Members such as Christopher Stockdale agreed that apathy might be one reason for low poll attendance among college age voters.

“Some people think it won’t matter, especially after the last election they start to feel like their vote didn’t count,” said Stockdale, a senior in English from Carbondale.

Caby emphasized how much each vote does count, particularly in a town such as Carbondale, where the mayor was elected by a margin of around 200 votes. He also brought up the controversial issue in Florida during the 2000 election as a situation to encourage students to get involved.

Roman believes college-age voters have a pivotal role in coming elections.

“Our voice is under heard,” Roman said. “And the voice that is represented in America today is the voice that will be represented in the America of our future.”