One of the great things about the Warped Tour is its desire to showcase activist and charitable organizations. Rock for Health is one such organization whose goals center around health care and advice for musicians who are frequently without any resources. Kristina Grossmann, president of Rock for Health, answered a few questions about the organization and its presence on the tour.
You are a relatively new organization, formed in October of last year. How much have you been able to accomplish in the last 10 months?
ROCK FOR HEALTH has accomplished a great amount in the last 10 months. By December of last year, when we were two months old, we already had Warped Tour confirmed. We received an invitation to SXSW this year, have done numerous press such as FUSE TV and Radio&Records Magazine, locked down a few tours, and have helped countless artists! The organization is growing very quickly – I’m very pleased!
With the election this year and health care being an increasingly big issue at the state and federal levels, do you do (or hope to do) any advocacy work?
Part of RFH’s mission statement is advocating health and preventative care for artists. The biggest misconception about my organization is that we are an insurance provider -which we are not. We partner up with health insurance and health benefit agencies to help artists get affordable care. In advocating preventative care, we work with nutritional companies and other health companies to educate and offer artists healthy alternatives. I created a tour manual for artists that contains locations of free clinics, hospitals, ambulance services, pharmacies, ear/nose/throat doctors, chiropractors – you get the gist – in every major touring city. It also has information on how to stay healthy on the road, such as tour exercises and what to eat when at a gas station. RFH is an organization that makes people thing – "Why didn’t I think of that?"
Is your goal strictly health advice for musicians or do you hope to ultimately provide a means for musicians to obtain health insurance?
One of the companies that we work with is a health benefit agency called MEDILINQ. We have a plan with MEDILINQ that for $39.95 a month, a whole entire band up to 15 members receives 40-60% off on prescription drugs, doctor visits, dental, urgent care, chiropractors, etc. We have already signed a few bands up for this service and they absolutely love it. I had a client save over $600 on a root canal! I have since been dubbed "The Healthcare Angel."
How has your presence with the Warped Tour helped?
Warped Tour has helped RFH immensely! With over 130 bands on the tour and an average venue size of 15,000 kids, Warped has been great. The best part is seeing how fast the company grows everyday while on the tour. I get more and more people coming up to me on the tour telling me how they heard about us or how they saw a certain artist on the tour wearing one of our shirts. More and more kids buy shirts everyday, more and more artists wear the shirts everyday, and we are helping so many more people in such a short period of time that we ever would have been able to. It’s very humbling meeting people that are so genuinely thankful for an organization like this, and seeing the happiness of bands when they find out that someone is
tackling an issue like this. We are the only non-profit on this tour that is for the musicians themselves. With so many bands on the tour and so many people within the scene with connections to other artists, this tour is a no-brainer.
Have you been able to enjoy the music or has it been all work on the tour?
With me, it’s always all work! But I love it. I absolutely get to watch bands on the tour – especially the bands that I am working with. Some of them are so hard to find that sometimes finding them at their set is the only option! I show them support for their support of ROCK FOR HEALTH.
How do you envision Rock for Health growing over the next few years?
In the future, I would like to have the funds to sponsor research on musician related illnesses, such as an ear/nose/throat doctor studying a singers vocal chords. I’m going to be having ROCK FOR HEALTH sponsored tours, benefit shows, etc, as well as being able to donate money to artists who are in some sort of health bind.
Other than donations, how can fans help?
To make a donation, you can visit our webpage or myspace. Donations are tax-deductible! Buying tee-shirts also helps, as that money goes into helping the artists. Fans can help by adding me on myspace and volunteering at shows and tours that we participate in. Everything from handing out fliers, posting our banner on your site, wearing tee shirts, to telling people about the organization helps us out so much!