2015 not only brought us plenty of fun, exciting moments, it also made us unbelievably proud to be country music fans. This genre, as a whole, is one of the most charitable and sincere, always finding ways to help others and spread the good. Everyone from the artists to industry members, radio stations, even fan clubs, went above & beyond in 2015 and benefited a lot of well-deserving folks. Here are some of our favorite moments throughout the year.Dierks Bentley held his 10th annual Miles & Music for Kids motorcycle ride and concert, raising over $630,000 for Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, and other children’s hospitals throughout the country. Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett, Cole Swindell, The Cadillac Three, Canaan Smith, and Brooke Eden joined the lineup to bring thousands to Nashville’s new Ascend Amphitheater. Ticket sales, ride entry fees, and merchandise sales made up a large portion of the proceeds, however a $45,000 bid during the mid-concert auction not only resulted in one lucky (and generous!) attendee taking home a guitar autographed by every artist at the show, it also guaranteed a lot of sick children will get the care they deserve.After the horrific events that took place in Chattanooga on July 16th, proud military supporter, Brantley Gilbert, knew he had to step up and do something. Before long, it was announced that Gilbert would headline a star-studded benefit concert on the Tennessee riverfront, with all proceeds benefiting the families of the Marines and Navy officer killed in the attack. Emceeing Chattanooga Unite: Tribute On The River was actor Samuel L. Jackson, and fellow singers Harry Connick Jr., Aaron Lewis, Colt Ford, and Trace Adkins joined Gilbert as thousands turned out for the music. Buckets were passed around and filled with donations, and t-shirts, hats, and bracelets were sold to bring in even more.Chicago played host to several of country music’s biggest names on Veterans’ Day for Stars and Strings, which was held to honor our veterans and raise money for Folds of Honor, an organization providing scholarships to families of fallen or disabled servicemen & women. Lee Brice, Jerrod Niemann, Justin Moore, Jake Owen, Kip Moore, The Band Perry, Little Big Town, Chris Young, Hunter Hayes, Gary Allan, and Dierks Bentley (who surprised the crowd with guests Charles Kelley & Eric Paslay for their hit song, “The Driver”) all mentioned several times how proud they were to participate in the event, and how grateful they were for the people who defend our country and allow them the freedom to do what they love.Hunter Hayes kicked off CMA Awards week with his 2nd annual street party, to honor members of the military and the USO. Over 100 members of the military were brought to the event as guests of Hayes’ and during a break in the music, he brought USO Solider of the Year Army Spc. Christian Sheers onstage, along with his wife, to introduce him to the crowd and thank him for his service. Fellow musicians Charles Kelley, Eric Paslay, Striking Matches, Phil Vassar, Zac Brown, Danielle Bradbery, Will Hoge, Dave Barnes, Cole Swindell & Chris Janson joined Hayes for a great show that had music going well into the night.Most people don’t think of their birthday as a time to do something for others, but Charlie Daniels isn’t most people. To celebrate his 79th birthday, Daniels and several friends including Brenda Lee, Ryan Weaver, and Chris Young performed for guests at The Palm Restaurant in Nashville at his Birthday Bash. Money raised through ticket sales, live and silent auctions, and donations went towards The Journey Home Project, which assists servicemen & women as they return to civilian life.The Academy of Country Music may have taken their 50th annual awards show to Dallas, TX this year, but their charitable efforts went right along with them. Between the awards ceremony, the 3rd annual Party For A Cause (a 2-day festival packed with great live music and superstar artists) and all the other 50th anniversary events, one million dollars was raised for ACM Lifting Lives and all the charitable organizations it benefits to complete its mission of improving lives through the power of music.Craig Campbell gathered lots of his friends (and family, including his wife, Mindy!) for his 3rd annual Celebrity Cornhole Challenge in March. Over $100,000 was raised for the fight against colorectal cancer thanks to the donations and bids on auctions, including the opportunity to partner with your favorite country artists in the cornhole competition. Jerrod Niemann, Lindsey Ell, Charlie Worsham, Halfway To Hazard, LoCash, Blackjack Billy, and Ryan Kinder all turned out to do their part, with Brad Cummings of Blackjack Billy & his teammate taking home the title. A concert followed the event, with several of the stars taking the stage to play a few songs, and Campbell bringing up a dear friend who had fought (and won!) a battle of her own.For 10 years now, Tracy Lawrence has spent hours hosting and cooking during his Mission:Possible Turkey Fry, held Thanksgiving week to assist with feeding the thousands of Nashvillians who will spend the holiday homeless. This year, Lawrence gathered his fellow artists together for a show following the event at City Winery to bring in even more money. Although it made for an exceptionally long day for all involved, Lawrence, Halfway To Hazard, Darryl Worley, Lorrie Morgan, Charlie Daniels, and Brad Arnold of 3 Doors Down, all turned out in bright spirits to give fans a great show. Along with ticket sales, the auctions of Nashville Predators memorabilia and an autographed guitar helped to bring in over $63,000 to benefit the Nashville Rescue Mission and all the work they do for the members of the community who need their services most.
Even with all of these, there’s so many more moments we didn’t get to see in person. Kip Moore brought skate parks to lots of kids who will get to enjoy them for years to come, Brantley Gilbert helped bring Christmas to thousands of kids through his partnership with the Marines & Toys For Tots, Reba McEntire was named Outnumber Hunger’s leading artist for 2015, Jason Aldean held his 10th annual Concert for a Cure and handed over a check for $615,000 to the Susan G. Komen foundation. There’s countless more artists and stories we could mention, but one thing is for sure – country music knows how to give back and here’s to hoping 2016 brings even more examples of that.