SOURCE: Virgin Mobile USA

Virgin Mobile USA

June 24, 2009 00:30 ET

Let Free Ring! Virgin Mobile USA Announces 2009 "FreeFest" to Give Back in Bad Economy

Weezer, Blink-182, Franz Ferdinand, and Public Enemy Plus More Than a Dozen Others Scheduled to Perform August 30, 2009

WARREN, NJ--(Marketwire - June 24, 2009) - Speculation and predictions that have filled blogs and discussion boards can be put to rest. The Virgin Mobile Festival is returning, but with a catch. Admission will be free.

Virgin Mobile USA, creator of one of the largest and most critically acclaimed music festivals in the U.S., announced today that it would host the 2009 Virgin Mobile FreeFest on Sunday, August 30, at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD., with admission free of charge. All tickets will be given away, and previous Virgin Mobile Festival ticket buyers and Virgin Mobile customers will have the first crack at securing the 35,000 tickets.

The move celebrates both a giveback to music fans in a bad economy as well as an effort to solicit donations to homeless youth agencies in need around the country via The RE*Generation, Virgin Mobile's charitable arm. Most sponsors, including premier sponsor Kyocera Communications, will be building awareness for the cause in their marketing efforts around the festival.

"Instead of focusing on layoffs or the state of the economy, we want to focus on concrete ways to provide assistance to those in need," said Dan Schulman, CEO, Virgin Mobile USA. "People need outlets to both lend a helping hand and to escape and relax, for free, even if just for one day. We want to throw some good news in the mix."

The 2009 Virgin Mobile "FreeFest" will be hosted on the beautiful, 40 wooded acres of Merriweather Post Pavilion. The grounds and facilities of Merriweather will be expanded to accommodate the multiple stage and dance tent set-up from prior Virgin Mobile Festivals. Those scheduled to appear at this year's FreeFest include Weezer, Blink-182, Franz Ferdinand, Public Enemy, Jet, The National, Girl Talk, The Bravery, The Hold Steady, St. Vincent, Wale, and Taking Back Sunday, as well as dance tent favorites that include HOLY F*CK, Pete Tong, Danny Howells and Lee Burridge. The lineup of bands is now available at www.virginmobilefreefest.com.

"In a time of economic challenges and daily sacrifices, we wanted to throw a fantastic party so people could let loose and have a great time -- on us," said Sir Richard Branson, Founder and President, Virgin Group. "Virgin Mobile FreeFest offers music fans a brilliant day of fun and music and a chance for them to give back to those even less fortunate."

To respond to the sharp decrease in national social giving, Virgin Mobile FreeFest will also host a special VIP seating area for those who donate their time to community service at designated homeless youth shelters around the country. Virgin Mobile is also encouraging people, regardless of wireless carrier, to text "FREEFEST" to 20222, with a $5 donation which will go to select youth homeless centers around the country.

Tickets to the 2009 Virgin Mobile FreeFest will be available to the public at www.ticketmaster.com at 10 am EDT on Saturday, June 27th. Virgin Mobile customers and previous Virgin Mobile Festival ticket buyers will be invited via email to a private "free-sale" (much like a pre-sale, except free) to be held Thursday, June 25th and Friday, June 26th.

"Taking care of our loyal customers comes first," said Seth Hurwitz, chairman of I.M.P., promoter and producer of the Virgin Mobile Festival. "And when we say free, we mean it. The tickets are free. The parking is free. Ticketmaster really stepped up on this. Everybody just wants to make this the party of the summer. It's gonna be nuts."

Ticketmaster is waiving the convenience charge when fans pick up their FreeFest tickets at Merriweather or the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. Customers also have the option to pay Ticketmaster to deliver their tickets. For more details on the ticketing, including options for donating money to youth homelessness and buying limited edition FreeFest T-shirts, check out virginmobilefreefest.com.

Repeating the unique, eye-catching experiences that attracted more than 180,000 fans over the past three years, the 2009 Virgin Mobile FreeFest will take the word "free" to new levels. Inspired by the downturn economy, Virgin Mobile USA, along with returning premiere sponsor Kyocera Communications Inc., will host several attractions, including a Lucky Layoff Lounge, a special area open to the public that offers surprising treats to those who present proof of unemployment. The concept extends Virgin Mobile USA's Pink Slip Protection, a plan that offers three months of free wireless service to eligible customers who lose their jobs.

"When Virgin Mobile first suggested to me that we throw this year's festival for free, I was like, 'Um...Ok.'" said Hurwitz. "I thought they were crazy. But then again, Virgin Mobile's always done things a little differently. It's that truly alternative attitude that makes them so great, and so much fun to work with." Last year's Festival garnered a coveted nomination for Best Festival of the Year by Pollstar Magazine and was named by Event Marketer as Best Proprietary Property.

About Txt2Donate: Standard messaging rates apply to all messages sent and received in connection with Txt2Donate. All charges will be applied to individual’s wireless carrier account. Donations are collected by Virgin Unite by the Mobile Giving Foundation for the benefit of The RE*Generation and are subject to the terms found at www.hmgf.org/t. Virgin Unite will deduct $0.50 of the donation to cover administrative costs and the rest will benefit The RE*Generation.

About Virgin Mobile USA

Virgin Mobile USA, Inc. (NYSE: VM), through its operating company Virgin Mobile USA, L.P., offers more than 5 million customers control, flexibility and choice through Virgin Mobile's Plans Without Annual Contracts, with coverage powered by the Nationwide Sprint Network. Virgin Mobile USA also offers unlimited all-in contract plans with advanced devices like the Ocean 2.

More than 90% of its customers report satisfaction. Virgin Mobile USA service recently announced its Pink Slip Protection program*, which provides eligible monthly plan customers who lose their jobs and become eligible for state unemployment benefits free service for up to three months*. Its full slate of smart, stylish and affordable handsets are available at approximately 40,000 top retailers nationwide and online at http://www.virginmobileusa.com/, with Top-Up cards available at almost 150,000 locations.

*Subject to certain terms and conditions

About I.M.P.

Formed in 1980, I.M.P. is a Bethesda, MD-based concert promoter and event production company. In addition to launching Virgin Mobile Festival in the U.S., the principals at I.M.P. own Washington, D.C.'s award-winning 9:30 Club,www.930.com, renowned as the premier place to see and hear cutting-edge live music of all varieties. I.M.P. also programs and operates Merriweather Post Pavilion, www.merriweathermusic.com, in Columbia, MD. Over the last 29 years, I.M.P. and the 9:30 Club have put on nearly 10,000 events, hosting millions of music fans.

About Kyocera Communications Inc.

Kyocera Communications Inc. (KCI) is the sales, marketing, customer engineering and service headquarters for Kyocera- and Sanyo-branded wireless products and accessories in the Americas. The company's devices are driving the convergence of telecommunications, broadband and multimedia. KCI was formed in April 2009 through the combination of Kyocera Wireless Corp. and Kyocera Sanyo Telecommunications Inc., two wholly owned subsidiaries of Kyocera International Inc. The former was created when Kyocera purchased QUALCOMM Incorporated's consumer wireless phone business in 2000, while the latter was formed when Kyocera purchased the wireless phone business of Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. in 2008. Based in San Diego, KCI leverages Japan's history of creating advanced consumer technologies around humanism and respect for the environment and blending them with a Western entrepreneurialism and style, resulting in a unique design language and a natural, user-friendly interface. For more information, please visit www.kyocera-wireless.com.

Kyocera Corporation (NYSE: KYO) (TOKYO: 6971) (http://global.kyocera.com/), the parent and global headquarters of the Kyocera Group, was founded in 1959 as a producer of fine ceramics (also known as "advanced ceramics"). By combining these engineered materials with metals and plastics, and integrating them with other technologies, Kyocera has become a leading supplier of telecommunications equipment, office-document imaging equipment, solar power generating systems, semiconductor packages, electronic components, cutting tools and industrial ceramics. During the year ended March 31, 2009, the company's net sales totaled 1.13 trillion yen (approximately US$11.5 billion). Kyocera marks its 50th anniversary in 2009, and the 40th anniversary of its U.S. operations. It is ranked #418 on Forbes magazine's 2009 "Global 2000" listing of the world's largest publicly traded companies.

Contact Information

  • Media Contacts:

    Corinne Nosal
    Virgin Mobile USA
    908-607-4235
    Email Contact

    Audrey Fix Schaefer
    Schaefer + Co. for I.M.P.
    301-947-1133
    Email Contact

    John Chier
    Kyocera Communications Inc.
    858-882-3543
    Email Contact