Nine years ago Darius Rucker toured St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, an incredibly moving experience by almost any account, and immediately decided to do what he could to help the charity.
That pledge resulted in the Darius And Friends benefit concert and accompanying golf tournament, an annual Nashville event featuring Darius' best music-making buddies that's helped raise more than $800,000 for the hospital.
The list of past participants includes country hitmakers Luke Bryan, Randy Houser, Little Big Town, Brett Eldredge, Jamey Johnson, Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley, Colt Ford, Jon Pardi, Dustin Lynch, Eric Paslay and Kenny Rogers, to name a few. And it's extra cool that the concert helps kick off Nashville's CMA Music Festival week, which draws more than 80,000 daily visitors to Music City.
"This concert is a real highlight for me every year," Darius says through his publicist. "And I couldn't do it without the support of my friends who turn out to perform, tell stories and make this a memorable night for the fans, who are here from around the world."
This year's performers haven't been revealed yet, but the show has been set for June 5 at Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium, an event first. Tickets go on sale Friday (4/14) at 10am through Ticketmaster. Also new is a mechanism to ward off scalpers. Fans who register before Thursday (4/13) at 10am will receive a unique code ensuring they can buy tickets without worry. More on that program here. See you in Nashville!
Russ Penuell lives in Nashville with his girlfriend, three dogs and a lot of music.