Zippers, Hootie Play Debate Shows

ByABC News

October 10, 2000 -- You know the presidential debates are dull when a set from Hootie & the Blowfish is being touted as a way to enliven the proceedings. But that's exactly what some hopefuls are doing to rope folks in Winston-Salem, N.C. — seat of Wednesday's verbal skirmish between Vice President Al Gore and Texas Governor George W. Bush — into watching the event.

In conjunction with Wake Forest University, the Rock the Vote crew is hosting a free concert — featuring sets by Hootie, Rah Digga, and singer-songwriter Daniel Cage — and a big-screen showing of the second presidential debate in the University's Joel Coliseum Complex, roughly a mile away from the hot-air contest being broadcast from Wait Chapel.

At least Ralph Nader looks guaranteed to get in to see the debates this time. Nader — who hosts a rally featuring Eddie Vedder, Ani DiFranco, and Ben Harper at New York's Madison Square Garden on Friday — has been invited, along with additional third-party candidates Pat Buchanan, John Hagelin, and Harry Browne, to speak at the shindig.

The bands will take a break between 9:00 and 10:30 p.m. EDT while the audience watches the debate on two big-screen TVs. The promoters are anticipating a crowd of up to 10,000.

Meanwhile, big Al has asked North Carolina denizens the Squirrel Nut Zippers to perform at a post-debate party. No word on where that event is being held yet, but the group is expected to serenade Democratic Party supporters with selections from the Zippers' forthcoming Bedlam Ballroom CD, due in stores Oct. 17.

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