Darius Rucker held his 13th annual “Darius & Friends” Benefit on Monday night (June 6) at the Ryman Auditorium, followed by his corresponding golf tournament and silent auction on Tuesday, June 7.
This year’s event alone raised an all-time high of $516,000, bringing together a sold-out audience at the Ryman with at-home fans watching via live stream. This year’s successful show brings the total raised to over $3 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Reflecting on his first visit to the hospital in 2008, Rucker explained to the sold-out crowd, “I’m talking to one administrator and she said, ‘When you bring your kid to St. Jude, we fly you in, we put you up, we feed you and we never send you a bill.’ I started talking to people there and it’s true. That day I said, I want to do something to help. I’m doing this for St. Jude–thank you guys for coming out!”
The benefit concert, which serves as an unofficial kickoff to CMA Fest each summer, is famous for its surprise lineup of stars and this year’s guests included Sheryl Crow, Lindsay Ell, Sara Evans, Caylee Hammack and Rachel Wammack.
Prior guests have included Lauren Alaina, Jason Aldean, Brooks & Dunn, Brothers Osborne, Luke Bryan, Luke Combs, John Daly, Charles Kelley of Lady A, Ashley McBryde, A.J. McLean of the Backstreet Boys, and Tommy Thayer of KISS, among many others.
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