On November 19, The Avett Brothers and Cheerwine will host their Legendary Giveback 5 concert in Maryland, a charitable event now in its fifth year.
But for bassist Bob Crawford and the rest of The Avett Brothers, the concert is about so much more than music — it's about coming together to change lives.
This year, the concert will benefit three charity partners: Wags & Wishes, Hungry for Music, and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. So far, past concerts have raised more than $200,000 for charities.
And Crawford, whose young daughter was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in 2011, understands just how important these concerts are: He and his family were recipients of one of the charities that the legendary givebacks support — St. Jude's.
"My family knows what it feels like to have nowhere to turn, and to be in a terrible situation ... and to be on the receiving end of that kind of kindness and how life-changing that can be," Crawford tells A Plus.
Moreover, "When you do charity [work], it makes everyone look good ... but for me and for the band, it's a matter of realizing that there's a human being on the other end," Crawford continues. "So we play a concert, people donate money and come to the concert ... maybe they win a guitar, celebrate ... but [at the] end of that chain is a family in need. Or a person in need. And so what we're able to do through the 'legendary giveback' program is, hopefully, change lives."
When asked why music is such a powerful platform for bringing people together and giving back to others, Crawford credits its universalness.
"It's an international language," he says. "It crosses every kind of line, be it race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, religion ... [you] get to touch people in a really special way, no matter where they're from, or where they're going, or where they've been."
It's also a source of comfort to get people through difficult times, Crawford adds.
That said, Crawford hopes that the concert experience is truly a way for people to enjoy themselves, despite any heaviness associated with doing something for charity.
"For the night of the Legendary Giveback, I hope everybody just comes to have a good time."
Beyond the concert and in an effort to continue the fight against pediatric cancer, Crawford and his family partnered with the Press On Fund, a group of three (including Crawford's) families on a mission to find a cure.
In a letter announcing the partnership, Crawford writes:
"There is strength in numbers," Crawford tells A Plus. "We know we can defeat this enemy. But we need to join together to do it."
When it comes to inspiring others to join in creating positive change, the bassist tells us that it's important to hone in on our own special skills and use them to our advantage.
For Crawford, it's music. But "do what you do to bring about change," he says.
And with that, in the words of Crawford himself, "we keep going."
Hear more from Crawford in the video below: