(Photo by Shannon Cay Bowers)

On Saturday afternoon, bands and speakers will converge at Mother’s Brewing Company during Springfield’s first Votestock, a free music event designed to register young voters. 

Jacob Brower, secretary/treasurer of the nonpartisan Vote 417 PAC, said the event was created in response to a new wave of voting laws that will go into effect across Missouri starting Aug. 29. 

Missouri House Bill 1878 requires residents to present photo IDs to cast ballots and file absentee ballots in person, among other changes. For those who seek to register voters, the laws also change substantially. Solicitors are banned from being paid and also must register with the secretary of state if registering 10 or more voters and be registered to vote in Missouri. 

Brower described these changes as “voter suppression laws,” and said that when he looked at the calendar, the Saturday before the voting laws change caught his eye.  

“It seemed like that was a good opportunity to register as many voters as possible before the new restrictions take effect,” he said. 

Members of the League of Women Voters of Southwest Missouri will be on hand at Mother’s, 215 S. Grant Ave., to lead the registration drive. On Aug. 22, the League of Women Voters of Missouri teamed with the Missouri NAACP to sue the state and Missouri Secretary of State John Ashcroft, among others, arguing that the changes to voter solicitation laws violate the Missouri Constitution. 

Both Vote 417 and the League of Women Voters of Southwest Missouri are nonpartisan nonprofits. Brower said the event is being held to register young voters, and the acts performing at Votestock reflect the target audience. He said members of headlining act Catalina are supportive of the cause, and rallied some of the other acts on the bill to perform. Guinevere Sheafer, Annabelle Moore and Ashlynne Grey will also play at the Springfield brewery. 

Along with music from four groups, the event will feature speeches from Joan Gentry, director of the League of Women Voters of Southwest Missouri; Kai Sutton, president of NAACP Springfield and author Bon Tindle.

“We want to register voters, of course, but then again, we want everybody to enjoy the lineup and have a good time and enjoy themselves and celebrate our democracy, while still keeping in mind that we’re in very serious danger of losing it,” Brower said. 

Votestock schedule 

Musicians

4 p.m. Ashlynne Grey

5 p.m. Annabelle Moore

6 p.m. Guinevere Sheafer

7 p.m. Catalina

Speakers 

4:50 p.m. Bon Tindle, author, “Like The Air We Breathe”

5:50 p.m. Kai Sutton, president, NAACP Springfield

6:50 p.m. Joan Gentry, director, League of Women Voters of Southwest Missouri.

Cory Matteson

Cory Matteson moved to Springfield in 2022 to join the team of Daily Citizen journalists and staff eager to launch a local news nonprofit. He returned to the Show-Me State nearly two decades after graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Prior to arriving in Springfield, he worked as a reporter at the Lincoln Journal Star and Casper Star-Tribune. More by Cory Matteson