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On September 21, a group of our young staff members had the opportunity to represent the Prevent Cancer Foundation at this year’s Virgin Mobile FreeFest, an annual music festival that attracts between 30,000 and 50,000 attendees of all ages. FreeFest is unusual in that the tickets are free though the event features major headlining bands, making it one of the must-see festivals on the East Coast. This year’s diverse lineup included pop sensations Robin Thicke and Icona Pop, indie bands MGMT and Vampire Weekend, as well as a little bit of country flavor with the Avett Brothers.

This was Prevent Cancer’s second year participating along with other nonprofit groups and vendors. We encouraged concertgoers to load up on sunscreen and SPF lip balm through our engaging “shot bar” (the recommended amount of sunscreen to use) while sharing skin cancer statistics and risk factors. Setting ourselves apart from everyone was easy as visitors were intrigued by the shirtless guy wearing a sandwich board sign that said “Ask me what I’m wearing”. (The answer: sunscreen!) Our bright green table also featured “Sun Safety Survivor Packs,” which included tank tops designed exclusively for FreeFest and Prevent Cancer sunglasses in exchange for a small donation. Visitors also eagerly entered our contest to correctly guess the number of buddy bracelets in a jar for a chance to win a $100 gift certificate to the 9:30 Club.

A few memorable moments from FreeFest:

  • The young man who wanted to know more about preventing cancer because of his family history with the disease
  • The dozens of people who gave an enthusiastic “YES!” when offered “shots” of sunscreen
  • A few people that almost drank the sunscreen thinking it was something edible
  • Everyone who shared their personal stories about their own connection to cancer with us

Most people don’t attend music festivals thinking they’re going to be educated about reducing their cancer risk, so we were pleasantly surprised that so many visitors were willing to make donations, take sunscreen and ask great questions. Our bright green booth stood out and allowed us to provide important health information in a fun and engaging way!

We’d like to thank everyone who stopped by the Prevent Cancer booth on Saturday. We had an amazing time and left Merriweather Post Pavilion inspired that so many concertgoers were interested in the Foundation. We know that you came for the music, but it’s our hope that you left with a better idea of how to Stop Cancer Before It Starts!

Check out more photos from the event in our FreeFest Album on Facebook.