In Minnesota, Republicans will be partying to the soothing surf pop of the Beach Boys and classic rock favorites Styx. Democrats in Denver get punk rock and Rage Against the Machine.
While the national political conventions take on serious business, like nominating presidential candidates, let’s face it: Many of those who attend go for the parties.
And there are hundreds.
The Beach Boys and ’70s rockers Styx are just two of the acts scheduled to entertain the 45,000 political junkies (plus 15,000 members of the media) descending on the Twin Cities Sept. 1-4. There’s also former Van Halen front man Sammy Hagar and country stars Gretchen Wilson, Cowboy Troy and John Rich.
In Denver, where Democrats are holding their convention a week earlier, the schedule is decidedly edgier.
Democrats will be treated to “Punk Rock 2008,” ”Naughty Pierre’s Burlesque and Comedy Extravaganza,” ”Sex, Politics, and Cocktails Late Night Dance Party” organized by Planned Parenthood and the “Tent State Music Festival to End the War” hosted by Rage Against the Machine and veterans opposed to the war.
Also planning concerts in Denver are Willie Nelson, Melissa Etheridge, Cyndi Lauper and Rufus Wainwright.
Rock the Vote, a nonpartisan group that promotes youth involvement in politics, plans a massive bash in Denver including a concert with Fall Out Boy, Jakob Dylan and others. Its after-party promises a room filled with the “hottest VIPS and celebrity guests.”
But in the Twin Cities? All Rock the Vote has planned is an event on the opening night of the convention targeted at women called “Political Chicks A Go Go,” sponsored by Lifetime television network and Right Now! No musical acts or celebrities are promised.
Rock the Vote spokeswoman Chrissy Faessen said the only reason the concert is scheduled in Denver is it was designed as a kickoff event for both conventions and the Democrats were first. Does it mean Democrats like to party more than Republicans?
“I don’t think so, no,” Faessen said.
There may be a simple explanation for why Democrats are viewed as bigger partiers than Republicans, said Scott Cottington, who is arranging lobbyist parties for GOP Convention Strategies.
“Their median age is about 20 years younger than our median age,” he said. “So I don’t think we can party as hard as they are now, but 20 years ago we could.”
Rowdy Republicans looking for a night out on the town will be able to find plenty to do. Bars that pony up a fee can stay open til 4 a.m.
And though Republicans probably won’t feel entirely welcome, a seven-hour Labor Day concert is being staged by the Service Employees International Union, which backs Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama. It will feature noted lefties Billy Bragg and Steve Earle, Mos Def and Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, among others.