One thing about elections and the democratic system of selecting leaders is that more often than not, young citizens fail to vote in local elections. A couple examples of elections that are overlooked way too often include mayoral and city council elections. It is extremely important for young people to vote in these smaller elections because these are the leaders that are closest to us. And it is their decisions that have the most direct influence on day-to-day life.
Fortunately, for the citizens of Greensboro, WUAG and Face-to-Face’s annual Show of Hands event aims to bring more voters to local election polls. This year’s event will be held on Thursday, Sept. 24 at Morehead Park in Greensboro. It will feature acts from all over the world, including performers from the nations of Peru, Niger, Sudan and England.
This year’s event will also be held in collaboration with Mosaic and Dance from Above, featuring an after party that will be hosted at The Crown at Carolina Theatre.
According to Jack Bonney, one of the event curators, “Show of Hands was first organized five years ago by an organization known as Face-to-Face. Their desire and inspiration was to get people involved in Greensboro. They wanted more citizens, particularly young adults and immigrants, to put their voting rights to use in local elections.”
A few other groups that sponsor Face-to-Face’s Show of Hands include Church World Services, WUAG and The City of Greensboro.
“I first got involved with Show of Hands about three or four years ago when I was contacted by Face-to-Face,” Bonney explained. “At the time I was working for WUAG, which is UNCG’s radio station. One of my jobs for WUAG was to book artists and performers, and curate events. And that was the reason Face-to-Face contacted me; they wanted me to book the artists for Show of Hands.”
WUAG has had a hand in Show of Hands for almost four years. This has helped the annual showcase event to grow over the last few years, and has also helped to bring more voters to the polls, which is the primary objective of the show. One of the things that make the event so attractive is the range and diversity presented by the performing acts.
Some of the performers from 2014’s event include North Carolina rappers like Rapsody, King Mez and Well$, and international acts like Malaysian Pop Star, Yuna. And like any other aspect of the show, there’s a process that goes into selecting the performers.
“As one of the event curators for Show of Hands, my primary job is to find and select different artists to perform,” Bonney stated. “Normally what goes into it is Show of Hands will explain to me the kind of sound that they are shooting for that year, and I’ll look into finding and booking the right artists from around the world. For example, this year they wanted a diverse lineup of artists from different countries, who perform upbeat electronic dance music and similar styles.”
This year’s lineup will feature !!! (Chk Chk Chk), a dance-rock band from California, Little People, an EDM producer from the United Kingdom, Sinkane, a jazz-funk musician from Sudan, Ismo One, a singer and rapper from Niger, and Quilla, a Canadian-Peruvian singer-songwriter who is currently residing in Greensboro.
All of these musicians are from different parts of the world and have different sounds. But they each provide the upbeat, high tempo aesthetic that Show of Hands is looking to provide for this year’s event.
Aside from the performances, there are many more things that attendees have to be excited about for this year’s Show of Hands.
“I’m excited about a lot of things for this year’s event,” Bonney explained. “First and foremost, I’m excited about the whole performing lineup. All of the musicians that we selected for this year make great music, give great live shows and are great at interacting with the crowd. I’m also excited about the location. This year we are doing Show of Hands at Greensboro’s Morehead Park. It’s a great spot and I’m excited to see how it will influence the crowd and the performers.”
“Another thing that has me excited about this year’s performance is the visual aspect,” Bonney continued. “This year the event will feature live visuals, courtesy of digital artist, Faces Blurred. It’s a new element, and I’m excited to see how it will affect the show. But most of all, I’m excited to see the crowd’s reaction.”
With all of the excitement that surrounds this type of event, and the performers that will be participating, it can be too easy to lose site of the primary objective at hand. Show of Hands is an event meant to empower and uplift the people, and it is important to remember that.
“Of course I want the crowd to leave having had a good, enjoyable time,” Jack Bonney elaborated. “But I also want them to leave feeling good about the city of Greensboro. I would like them to leave having been informed and encouraged to participate in their local elections, realizing that they have true power and a say in who gets elected to city council and other local positions. Ultimately, I want Show of Hands to become an annual event that Greensboro citizens look forward to every year.”
Show of Hands is an event that aims to empower the people, bring different demographics together and give a voice to people who typically go unheard in things like elections and politics. It uses the powers of art, dance, music and creativity to bring positive energy to the city. Show of Hands will be held on Thursday, Sept. 24 at Morehead Park. The after party, which will be DJ’d by Little People, will be held at The Crown at Carolina Theatre.
Everyone is encouraged to grab some friends and go have a great time!