Darius Rucker Plans 8th Annual St. Jude Benefit Concert
Darius Rucker has announced the date and details -- including a new location -- for his annual Darius and Friends concert, which benefits St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The event, in its eighth year in 2017, will be held on June 5, for the first time at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium, as part of the kick-off to the 2017 CMA Music Festival.
Rucker was originally inspired to support St. Jude, which provides free health care to children battling cancer and other diseases of the blood, after touring the hospital several years ago.
"They do such amazing work at St. Jude," Rucker tells The Boot. "I always tell the story of going there years ago -- probably almost a decade ago now -- with Dierks [Bentley]: Dierks and I were on tour together with Brad [Paisley], and he and I went to the hospital together. I was just so moved by everybody; I was moved by the doctors, the administrators, and the kids, of course, who were all running around trying to get better but being as happy as they can be.
"I found out, just talking to everybody, how nobody ever gets a bill, and how much it costs a day to run the hospital and stuff like that," Rucker adds. "I just felt like I wanted to do something on a regular basis that could help."
A father of three, Rucker says that it was his role as a parent more than his role as a celebrity that inspired him to become involved with the work of St. Jude.
"The toughest part of being a dad [and visiting St. Jude] is going in and seeing the kids while they’re being treated and everything," Rucker shares. "You never know when it’s going to happen to you -- you pray it never happens to you -- but it’s great to have a place like St. Jude, where you know the kids are being taken care of.
"Being a dad and talking to the doctors and knowing that the second they come up with some treatment, it’s on the internet for everyone to use," Rucker continues. "It was a no-brainer for me to be involved with St. Jude."
See Photos From the 2017 Country Cares for St. Jude Kids Event
However, as a star singer-songwriter, Rucker hopes that he can use his platform to inspire his fans to donate to St. Jude and help the organization continue its incredible work.
"Keep giving," Rucker urges. "It’s an amazing place, it does amazing things. The fact that no parent goes there and has to worry about getting themselves there, where they’re going to stay, how they’re going to eat ... I’d tell my fans, keep giving. Keep supporting St. Jude because they’re doing amazing things.”
In years past, Rucker has invited artists such as Kenny Rogers, Luke Bryan, Charles Kelley, Cassadee Pope, Justin Moore, Drake White, Little Big Town and more to participate in his Darius and Friends shows, which to date have raised more than $800,000 for St. Jude.
"Getting people to come play my Darius and Friends show is so easy, because it’s for St. Jude," Rucker admits. "That’s a great thing. That’s one of the reasons I love being a part of the country music family."
Artists performing at the 2017 Darius and Friends benefit show will be announced in the coming weeks; tickets will be available beginning on April 14 via Ticketmaster. To donate to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, visit their website.
See Photos From the 2016 Darius Rucker & Friends Benefit Concert