When I was in college, I wrote a term paper on the social mores and norms of the people who followed The Grateful Dead. Minoring in sociology, I’ve always been fascinated by group behavior and the way in which cultural surroundings, including music, affect us individually. Thinking back to that assignment, what stands out for me were the patterns of sharing and generosity present between “Dead-heads,” and the fact that these same traditions exist among “Dave-heads” as well.
It makes sense that friends of Dave would turn out to be a magnanimous bunch for many reasons, including the fact that the band itself is into giving. Just this week, for example, the group announced that select premium seats for the Fall tour are up for auction with proceeds going to DMB’s charitable Bama Works foundation, which supports various efforts worldwide. Further, Dave and Tim are going to perform two benefit concerts in Seattle this December, in a very unique way. Warehouse members can purchase tickets for $135 each, and will receive a credit for $150 (more than face value!) to redeem at a site called justgive.org, which gives contributors a choice of organizations to support. This is a ground-breaking way for fans to donate to causes that they believe in, while securing great seats for shows at the same time!
It’s likely that a trickle-down effect takes place, where enthusiasts of the Dave Matthews Band get drawn into the vortex of gifting. But there’s also the old chicken and egg question of whether altruistic types are more attracted to this music in the first place. With so many songs like, “One Sweet World,” “Lie in Our Graves,” “Dive In,” and “Don’t Drink the Water,” focusing on protecting our neighbors, and the Earth; and others, like, “Granny,” and “Pig,” singing the praises of love, it’s easy to see the appeal that these tunes can have on humanitarians. My guess is that a positive cycle of good will exists and grows between the band and every one of their fans, which is part of why it’s so exciting to convert unsuspecting friends into DMB adorers!
Those of us who love these artists know that it feels good to stand behind musicians who understand the importance of giving back. But in a larger sense, it represents a global shift that is necessarily occurring. Where until recently the Western mindset has been to accumulate everything possible, it seems that we are now in an age of recycling, free-cycling, openness, and sharing. Partly, this is due to the explosion of social media, which is systematically unfastening our anonymity, and logistically making cooperation feasible in ways that it never was before. But also, it is just time, historically, for our evolution to progress past “Me,” into “We.” There is only so much that we can do alone. Whether it’s “two by two,” as the quintessential Dave Matthews Band hit, “Two Step,” suggests, or community by community, this “short, but sweet for certain,” life is meant to be celebrated collectively.
Hayley Bauman, Psy.D.
Author of Serendipity and the Search for True Self