This congressman is hosting a music festival with MUNA, Lin-Manuel Miranda to raise funds for equal rights

Left: The band MUNA poses in front of a light blue sky, Center: A poster for MadSoul Music Festival, Right: Lin-Manuel Miranda holds up an "I voted" sticker in a selfie

On March 2, Orlando, Florida’s Loch Haven Park will be home to music fans and activists at the MadSoul Music Festival.

Hosted by Florida Rep. Maxwell Alejandro Frost, the festival brings together his love of the arts and community organizing.

In fact, Rep. Frost and his friends — Niyah Lowell and Chris Muriel — started MadSoul in 2015. Their first festival welcomed 49 attendees — but this year’s, he told Good Good Good, will be “the biggest it’s ever been.”

The festival’s headliner is pop band MUNA, known for their queer cult following and bops like “I Know A Place” and “Silk Chiffon.” They also opened for a number of North American dates on Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour in 2023. 

MadSoul’s other performers are mostly local Florida artists — including Nervous Nature, Wahid, Venture Motel, and more, maintaining the festival’s commitment to being a community-focused event.

Some other big names are also on the lineup — but they’re not as likely to use their time on stage to sing.

A screenshot of an instagram post showing the MadSoul Music Festival lineup in Orlando, Florida on March 2, 2024
Photo courtesy of MadSoul Music Festival

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Tennessee State Rep. Justin Jones (of the Tennessee Three), Florida State Rep. Anna Eskamani, and Montana State Rep. Zooey Zephyr are some elected officials who will be in attendance to drum up enthusiasm for civic engagement.

Additionally, Lin-Manuel Miranda of “Hamilton” fame is slated to take the stage to deliver remarks on the importance of civic engagement and the role music, art, and activism have played in his own life. He will be introduced by a local student choir.

“The goal here is to engage with people who, a lot of times, don’t get engaged in the political process,” Frost told Good Good Good. “For people who don’t come to the political rallies — but they will come to the music festival — how can this act as a catalyst to get them involved in the fight?” 

The entire festival was planned with that goal of political engagement in mind. Tickets are available to purchase — or not — on a sliding-scale basis. Guaranteed entry tickets start at $20, and go up to $100, but folks can also register for a limited amount of free tickets

“You never know what people are going through. And sometimes a lot of times the people closest to the problem are going to be closest to the solution,” Frost said. 

“Someone who can’t spare even a dollar on coming to this festival, I don’t want to keep them from coming in, because this is something that is a community event for the people of Orlando.” 

Florida Congressman Maxwell Alejandro Frost
Photo courtesy of Maxwell Alejandro Frost for Congress

Those who attend the festival will be greeted with a “robust voter registration effort,” as well as a myriad of booths where attendees can connect with local advocacy organizations.

In fact, Frost said, if someone wants to be in the front row for MUNA’s set, they’ll have to complete a stamp card that proves they engaged with a certain number of activations at the festival. 

The Congressman, who is the first Gen Z representative in Congress, is eager to use the MadSoul platform to support his campaign, as well as local organizing efforts.

“This year, ticket sales benefit MadSoul Victory Fund, which supports Maxwell Frost for Congress and a Love Supreme PAC,” the event’s website shared. “Both will donate a portion of proceeds to local abortion funds, LGBTQ+, and community organizations.”

Frost’s reelection campaign will benefit from the event, but funds will also go towards four Florida nonprofits. They include Florida Access Network, Zebra Youth, Equal Ground, and SWAN of Orlando, which support access to reproductive care, LGBTQ+ youth, voting rights, and abortion clinic escorts, respectively.

In the past, MadSoul has featured organizations like March for Our Lives and Planned Parenthood and has raised money for local mutual aid funds.

“There’s always been a political component,” Frost said. “We’ve always had people talk on stage about those issues. We’ve also always given proceeds to local charities. So there’s always been that charitable component.”

Florida Rep. Maxwell Alejandro Frost speaks into a microphone on stage
Photo courtesy of Maxwell Alejandro Frost for Congress

Transparency is also top of mind, as the event evolves from a grassroots music festival, into a full-fledged political fundraising hub.

“When you donate your 20 bucks, we let you know it’s a political contribution to my campaign. We tell you, we are dedicating this money towards helping to pay for the festival and helping with our year-round organizing work,” Frost said. 

“And then we’ll be donating a portion of the proceeds to these four organizations and splitting it up. We don’t have an amount yet; we’re just waiting to see how much we are able to make in donations, and then cut four equal checks to these organizations.”

Ultimately, as a long-time music lover (seriously, he sang on stage with Paramore last year), Frost wants MadSoul to bring people together for a “memorable experience where art and activism intertwine.”

“It’s not just about making a bunch of money. It's really about providing this cool for the community, especially at a time where things are tough,” Frost said. “There's a lot of division. There's a lot of hopelessness. I hope people will leave this with a little bit of hope.”

Header images courtesy of Penélope Martinez for MUNA, MadSoul Festival, and Lin-Manuel Miranda/X

Article Details

March 1, 2024 8:02 AM
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