Darius Rucker’s fifth annual Darius and Friends benefit concert took place June 2 in Nashville at the Wildhorse Saloon, benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Darius was joined by Clint Black, Eli Young Band, David Nail, Cassadee Pope, Kenny Rogers, Corey Smith and Thompson Square, with Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley making a surprise appearance to perform Hootie + the Blowfish’s “Hold My Hand” with Darius.
“This is one of my favorite events every year, and I’m so glad we’re able to support St. Jude for the fifth year in a row,” Darius said. “St. Jude does such amazing work for young cancer patients and their families, and I’m grateful to all my fellow artists and friends for coming together to have some fun and support such a great cause.”
Before the show, Darius spent some time visiting the W.O. Smith School of Music in Nashville to show his support of a mobile vision station set up by the Transitions organization. The station was brought to the school to help young musicians improve their vision.
St. Jude has not yet announced the amount of money raised from the benefit. Last year’s concert raised more than $95,000.
“A lot of kids don’t even know they need glasses until they read music,” Darius told WSMV. “The music is so small on something so far away, and then they figure out they need glasses. They’re getting eye exams, and if they need glasses, Transitions is going to supply the glasses for them.”
Darius’ benefit concert served as the unofficial kickoff to CMA Music Festival, which takes place in downtown Nashville June 5-8, and features hundreds of hours of live music and numerous opportunities for fans to get up close and personal with their favorite stars. Check out our special CMA Music Festival section for photos, videos and more from the festival!