Lifestyle

Darius Rucker Headlines Southern Fried Circuit Concert

SC native Darius Rucker became a household name in 1994 as the lead singer and rhythm guitarist of Hootie & the Blowfish. With hits like “Only Wanna Be With You,” “Hold My Hand,” and “Let Her Cry,” Rucker’s distinct baritone voice could be heard all over the radio throughout the 1990’s. Hootie and the Blowfish’s debut album, Cracked Rear View, remains among the Top 10 best-selling studio albums of all time.

In 2008, Rucker went solo, releasing a country album and gaining a whole new legion of fans. His version of “Wagon Wheel,” is one of the Top 5 best-selling country songs of all time. In 2012 Rucker was inducted as a Grand Ole Opry member and in 2014 he won his third career GRAMMY for Best Solo Country Performance of “Wagon Wheel.”

On July 28 at 6pm doors will open for Rucker to take the stage as the headlining act of the Southern Fried Circuit concert at the William A. Floyd Amphitheatre, hosted by the Upcountry Fiber Foundation, a philanthropic partnership of Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative and WCFIBER. Rucker is set to go on stage at 8:45pm. The concert is dedicated to celebrating and connecting upstate SC communities with all proceeds from the concert going to support small charities in local communities.

“Southern people like to celebrate and connect by breaking bread—eating, having fun, and listening to some great music. Darius was an obvious choice as the headliner, first because he is a SC native and we love his music and because he is a lifelong philanthropist,” says Daja Davidson, Marketing Specialist at Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative.

Rucker co-chaired the campaign that generated $150 million to help build the new MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital in his hometown of Charleston, SC and has raised over $3 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through his annual Darius & Friends benefit concert and golf tournament. Additionally, Rucker has advocated for over 200 charitable causes that support public education and junior golf programs in SC through the Hootie & the Blowfish Foundation.

At 7:30pm, Lindsay Ell will take the stage as the opener for Rucker. A native of Canada, Ell is quickly becoming a well known and highly anticipated artist. In 2021 she was named most-nominated female artist for Canada Country Music Association awards. Her #1 singles “Criminal” (2021) and “Want me Back” (2017) made her the first Canadian female artist to earn a # 1 single in more than a decade. Her first #1 in the U.S. was in 2019 with “What Happens In A Small Town,” alongside Brantley Gilbert. She has hosted Canada’s Got Talent and toured with Shania Twain. Like Rucker, Ell has philanthropic endeavors, most notably her charitable fund the Make you Movement that supports a variety of causes and organizations, with a special focus on disenfranchised youth and survivors of sexual trauma and domestic abuse.

When identifying a location for the concert, Anderson was an easy choice. Anderson is one of the larger service areas of Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative and they have had a long and wonderful partnership with Anderson County.

“When looking for a location, Anderson County administrators immediately stepped up and offered us the William A. Floyd Amphitheatre. They understood that this concert will be a big deal for Anderson and it will make a big economic impact in Anderson. This made sense toward our mission and goals of positive small town economic impact,” notes Davidson.

A fundraising goal has not been set for the concert, since this is the first year of the Southern Fried Circuit event, but attendees can expect that 100% of the funds will go toward small, rural charities in Anderson, Oconee, Pickens, North Greenville, and North Spartanburg, that need the funds to sustain their organizations. Upcountry Fiber’s tagline is “A stronger connection,” and this event is dedicated to strengthening the connection of residents to their communities and to each other.

“Co-ops in general have a history of going into small, rural areas to bring phone and electricity capabilities to residents so that they can connect to each other and the broader community. Now the way we connect is through the internet. This is a shared culture and history, and we want to celebrate this at the concert and use the funds to continue to strengthen our connection to rural communities,” says Davidson.

The Southern Fried Circuit concert will be a great time for kids of all ages. It is very much meant to be a family event for everyone to enjoy together. The show is planned to go on whether rain or shine. All are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets, and dancing shoes. Once Rucker goes on stage at 8:45pm, there is no set end time.

“We’re hoping of course that Darius will play an encore, but other than that, it will end when Darius decides for it to end,” says Davidson.

To learn more about Southern Fried Circuit, visit their website at https://www.southernfriedcircuit.com or find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/southernfriedcircuit and on Instagram @southernfriedcircuit

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