After an all-night bender of a presidential election that ended in what we thought could only be imagined in some kind of joke dystopia world written by former TV writers, there was actually some optimism. People were marching, people were voicing concerns, and most importantly people were informing themselves. And then like the day after Memorial Day Weekend at work, the city of San Antonio called in.
The San Antonio mayoral election voter turnout came in at just about 12% and any momentum that may have come from the marches that followed the election was lost. While many took to social media to voice their disappointment and concern, local artist and Yoshimoto drummer Mauricio Gudiño decided to take action.
“I started offering a ride on social media whenever, I myself, was going to the polls before recent info,” he says. “After I was made aware of the dismal numbers, I’d offer rides on my days off then I just started offering generally, whenever I had free time.”
From this, an idea emerged. Mauricio enlisted the help of Paper Tiger and a handful of local bands to put on a party that would not only motivate people to vote in the runoff election, but would chauffer you to the polls. This Friday, June 2, Paper Tiger will host Get in the Van.
The Facebook event page explains “Ultimately, this event is about setting the stage for those who don’t typically go out and vote to come out and feel comfortable with an otherwise unfamiliar process.” Mauricio has rented a van that will be shuttling anybody who shows up from the venue to a polling station to go vote.
“Building the right atmosphere was definitely important in terms of making this idea fully functional,” Mauricio explains. “All of the bands, from the spectrum of music the DJs will be playing to the wide variety of local talent that will be performing, I think, works not just as an incentive to get people together but to really see our local community in action.”
The party will begin at 3 PM when the bar opens while a DJ starts playing. At this time, Mauricio will begin shuttling until 6 PM when the polls will close. At 7 PM, a lineup of local bands will begin playing. The local bands consist of Mauricio’s own Yoshimoto, Usuguraidesu, Eye of the Day and will be closed out by local western cover band The Texases. The event is entirely free.
The event has drawn the attention of mayoral candidate Ron Nirenburg, who asked to take part in the event. He will be visiting with voters and perhaps even speaking to the crowd.
Despite all the fun planned, Mauricio stays grounded to the cause. “One of the hardest things about building this event has been attempting to develop the perspective where the “happening” takes precedent over our goal,” he says. “I’d really like for people to come out, literally take a good look around them. Once they are there, and physically SEE who actually is involved in the cities voter turnout.”
Mauricio is very frank on what kind of outliers he would like to accomplish with the event. “I think simply increasing voter turnout would deem it a success, but if the community comes out and really takes part in what’s happening and develops a dialog, then of course we’d welcome that with open arms,” he says. On the prospect of making Get in the Van an ongoing thing, he chuckles, “The idea of this becoming a constant for all elections came about. If I’m here and available, I’m down to party.”