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Christmas Jam fundraiser canceled
Monday, 02 December 2019 21:49

From Staff Reports

Warren Haynes‘ Christmas Jam will take a one-year hiatus. 

Haynes, a Grammy Award-winner, is an Asheville native and former member of the Allman Brothers Band, Gov’t Mule and The Dead.

Haynes announced in a Nov. 12 press release through a spokeswoman, “After three decades, and an amazing two-night 30th Anniversary last year, it feels like the right time to take a brief moment to press pause. We have poured our heart and soul into creating this annual event and our commitment to serve the Asheville community and Habitat for Humanity remains strong.”

Haynes said in the release that the event will resume in 2020 at the U.S Cellular Center.

Last year, the Christmas Jam spanned two nights, resulting in a donation of $400,000 to the Asheville Area Habitat For Humanity. The event has raised $2.7 million for the charity since 1999. 

On Nov. 13, the Asheville Citizen Times reported that both Asheville Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Andy “Barnett and a Haynes spokeswoman said the cancellation was not related to the firing of the musician’s brother Brian Haynes. “The city councilman worked 13 years at Habitat, but was let go Sept. 27 for refusing to take a drug test as part of what he said was a protest against a new anti-marijuana policy,” the ACT noted.

Morever, Barnett was quoted by the ACT as saying. “They’ve been very clear that this is unrelated, that this is just a logistical decision on their part. There were just challenges in putting the concert together. They wanted to take a year off and refocus after 30 years of what has been a tremendously successful event.

Carla Senft, Haynes’ spokeswoman, told the ACT that the musician was touring and unavailable to comment, but stressed that Haynes’ commitment to Asheville Habitat “remains strong.”

Further, Senft told the ACT, “‘Warren has previously commented about his feelings on this particular matter involving his brother, and decisions made regarding the Christmas Jam were — and are — completely independent of Brian.’” 

However, as the Citizen Times story noted, “It (the cancelation) will put a dent in what would have been a sky-high year for city revenues, the Cellular Center director said. And Asheville Area Habitat Humanity will be left without expected annual revenue, though a recent $400,000 donation from the 2018 concert more than doubled what the nonprofit normally receives from the Jam.”

The Citizen Times quoted Barrett as stating on Nov. 13, “There won’t be proceeds from this year. But what was given would certainly be one of our largest single donations. It’s great to see a very strong signal of commitment for the impact that Habitat has in this community.”

Barnett told the Citizen Times that about 40 percent of Asheville Habitat’s $8 million budget comes from donations. 

Haynes held the first jam in 1988. It was a fundraiser (and raised $1,700 for a hurricane relief project) and also a way for him to reunite with musicians friends coming home for the holidays. The first show was called “The Christmas Jam: Musician’s X-Mas Reunion” and was held at a local club. 

After a few years and as the jam grew, the organizers decided to donate 100 percent of the proceeds to the same charity each year – Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity. 

And, as crowds expanded, the event was moved to the Civic Center (now the U.S. Cellular Center) – which has a seating capacity of 8,600 people. The Jam has historically sold out every year.  

While there will not be a Christmas Jam this year, Haynes noted that, on Dec. 13 —“Warren Haynes Presents The Benefit Concert Volume 16” featuring highlights from Warren Haynes‘ December 2014 Christmas Jam benefit concert in Asheville — will be released. 

The live album/concert film will be available on CD/DVD, vinyl, Blu-Ray and digitally.


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