Activate The Band

Andrew Matthews, Daniel Newton, Todd Pollard

In our society today, the concept of gift giving has lost the kindness it once possessed. At the core, gifts are another form of economy. A gift is given to someone, and a gift is expected in return. To not do so would be unseemly and rude, yet this practice of gift giving is taken for granted now more than ever. In order to draw attention to this, our project focused on the inherent gift economy that exists within music. By playing a song for someone, a musician is giving them a gift. By listening to the song that is sung for them by the artist, the audience gives a gift in return. Activate The Band is a project for which we formed a band to stand at attention until someone underwent the formality of activating the jukebox we had constructed. Once the participant answers our prompt asking for an impactful song and why, they are allowed to chose one of nine pre selected songs for us to play. While many simply wrote a popular song with no explanation as to why they were passionate about it, some responses were incredibly inspirational, personal, and an important reminder as to why music is essential.

Activate The Band in Manitou Springs

“Projects for school are not usually fun, and when the idea to collaborate with other students to perform music came into fruition I was happy that I got to be part of something bigger. Although this assignment was a lot of work it was fun and it just points to the fact that music has a way of making things better.”

-Daniel Newton

Activate The Band at UCCS pt. 1
(Left) Activate The Band at Acacia Park, Colorado Springs (Right)Activate The Band at UCCS pt. 2

Activate the band underwent 12 hours of practice spanning three sessions and was successful in five locations. The upper plaza was the first location on campus at UCCS. The band played for two hours with 6 activations. Also on campus were two courtyard locations located in between dormitory buildings. The first courtyard yeilded 10 activations in two and a half hours, while the second courtyard performance recieved 4 activations in two hours. The fourth location was located at a transit stop in Manitou Springs. It was here that the band received its most diverse audience. The band received 12 activations within two hours. The final location was Acacia Park in downtown Colorado Springs. The band received 3 activations in two hours. The band spent a total of 10.5 hours available for audience participation and received 35 activations.

Conclusion: From this project, myself and my bandmates received the benefits of this gift economy. We worked hard and were able to bring joy to people. We were asked on one occasion who payed us to be there. We smiled and said no one. It was then that we realized the power of gift giving and the ability to receive gifts is equally powerful.

-Todd D. Pollard

Activate The Band Manitou Springs, CO 4/28/17
Activate The Band audience.
Manitou Springs, CO 4/28/17
Activation in progress.