ANDERSON, SC – The crowd lined up outside the William A. Floyd Amphitheater faced down the threat of a summer storm for Upcountry Fiber’s inaugural charity concert event on Friday, July 28th. Three-time Grammy Award-winning country music artist, philanthropist, and South Carolina native Darius Rucker was on site to headline the special event. After a short weather delay, fans proceeded to pack the lawn and kick off the celebration with standout country music female artist Lindsay Ell, who opened the show.
Upcountry Fiber Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Upcountry Fiber, supports non-profit organizations in Anderson, Northern Greenville, Oconee, Pickens and Northern Spartanburg counties that serve the community with education, youth, culture, arts, and health and human services. Proceeds from Southern Fried Circuit benefit the continued effort to raise funds for the foundation’s endowment. The foundation’s three inaugural grant recipients were Golden Corner Food Pantry of Seneca, SC, Lakes and Bridges Charter School of Easley, SC, and Upstate Institute of Youth Programs, Inc. of Seneca, SC.
Daja Davidson of Upcountry Fiber shared a few insights about the Southern Fried Circuit charity concert, the Upcountry Fiber Foundation, and how to get more involved.
Digital Beat Magazine: Music can bring us together for different reasons. With Southern Fried Circuit being the charity concert created by Upcountry Fiber, what is it about music, especially the musicians involved with the event, that can help deliver the message about what Upcountry Fiber Foundation is and what is important to you?
Daja Davidson: Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative, one of Upcountry Fiber’s parent companies, held a charity event for 23 years that focused on bringing our community together around music and classic cars, so culturally, music has always been a part of who we are. Local utility cooperatives like ours have supported the communities where we work and live for decades – by providing power, telephone – and now broadband internet services – to our neighbors located in rural unserved and underserved areas where other companies historically have not gone.
Great music has a unique way of bringing people together from different walks of life to feel joy, love, hope and sorrow in a way that nothing else does. Darius Rucker was an obvious choice to headline our Southern Fried Circuit charity concert as he is a beloved South Carolina native whose fan base crosses many demographics, and whose personal philanthropic philosophy very much aligns with ours. Lindsay Ell, who is an amazing musician and singer/songwriter from Canada, also shares that deep philanthropic spirit. We couldn’t have had two better country music stars for our event.
DBM: Tell us more about the Upcountry Fiber Foundation, what makes it tick and who do you aim to support?
DD: We’ve always been about helping the underdog. Upcountry Fiber Foundation (UFF) was created because we care deeply about our community, so it enables us to create a long-term, sustainable investment in local Upstate charities that really need financial support to serve people right here in our community.
Upcountry Fiber Foundation supports initiatives throughout the Upstate of South Carolina with a special focus on youth development, arts and cultural enrichment, human services, and basic needs for people and animals alike. Those in our community might not always feel seen. But we see them. We care about them. We appreciate them. And we’ll continue to do our best to make their lives better through our businesses and our foundation.
DBM: When you think of the many hands and hearts it takes to coordinate Southern Fried Circuit, what have been some of the biggest positives or successes you have heard about or experienced leading up to the event itself?
DD: We could not have done it without the incredible team of professionals we pulled together to help make Southern Fried Circuit a reality. The creativity and level of execution that was at the table from Contemporary Productions, Hughes Agency, Anderson Civic Center, Brains on Fire and the Upcountry Fiber teams was tremendous. We collaborated to pull this off and we are proud of this event – and the positive impact it will have on local non-profits in our community under the Upcountry Fiber and Southern Fried Circuit brands.
DBM: If someone cannot make it to this event but would like to learn more about ways to contribute, can you give our readers information about how to go about that or future events they could get involved with?
DD: If they would like to donate directly to the Upcountry Fiber Foundation, they can reach out to us at email@example.com or by filling out the contact form on our website. Grants are given on a quarterly basis to UFF board approved local nonprofits. They can also sponsor Southern Fried Circuit and other future Upcountry Fiber Foundation events. Proceeds from the events go directly back into the foundation.
Photos © Carrianne Elizabeth 2023
Event Date: Friday, July 28, 2023