This post is part of a special NowPlayingNashville.com Stories Series titled CMA Fest Gives Back, focusing on how artists use the Festival as an opportunity to raise money and bring attention to the many charitable causes they support.
After several years of sold out shows at the Wildhorse Saloon, Darius Rucker and Friends’ Benefit for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is moving to The Mother Church of Country Music, The Ryman Auditorium, on Monday, June 5.
In its first seven years, Rucker raised over $800,000 for St. Jude Research Hospital between the concert, silent auction and golf tournament. With this year’s 8th Annual event already sold out, that number is approaching $1,000,000. The artist made a commitment to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital after touring the campus in 2008. “[Dierks Bentley] and I went to the hospital together and I was just so moved by everybody,” Rucker told Taste of Country during a recent visit to the hospital. “It was just a no brainer for me to get involved with St. Jude.”
In January, the country star and former lead singer for Hootie & The Blowfish was honored by the hospital with the Randy Owens Angels Among Us Award, which recognizes individuals who have made exceptional and lasting contributions to St. Jude through their unique commitment and humanitarian spirit.
Artists who will perform individually and alongside Rucker this year at The Ryman this year include Brooks and Dunn, Dan + Shay, Ronnie Milsap, John Oates, Michael Ray, and Tommy Thayer.
Giving back has always been a priority for Rucker. “Growing up, my mother instilled in me the importance of giving back. Whether it was mowing a neighbor’s yard or helping during the loss of a loved one, it’s important on so many levels,” Rucker said in an interview with The Boot, “Just like St. Jude, I’ve been given so much from the music community over the years, so this is one of the ways I know how to say thanks. Not only is this one of my favorite shows all year, but it’s a great platform to remind so many of the incredible work done by St. Jude.”