By Laura Ferreiro
There’s one day a year that Switchfoot look forward to more than any other. Surpassing even their biggest concerts, award ceremonies, and holidays is Switchfoot’s Bro-Am, which stands out as the highlight of the Southern California band’s year. The one-day music festival and surfing competition — now in its eighth year — allows the band to give back to their fans, their community and support the causes they care about most.
“It’s an amazing event and it’s grown so much in the past eight years,” Switchfoot drummer Chad Butler tells Music for Good. “It really is our favorite day of the year, and the whole San Diego community gets behind it.”
The event is set to take place June 16 at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, California, where the band members surfed as kids, and all proceeds will go to the San Diego chapters of StandUp for Kids, a non-profit that works with at-risk, homeless street kids and aims to end the cycle of youth homelessness.
“Many of these kids have been forced out onto the streets and are living out of a backpack,” says Butler. “It’s a great thing to see people coming together and raising finances for them – letting them know that they matter and their story matters. They come down to the beach and get the chance to play guitar and surf for the first time. And they get a front-row seat at the concert.”
What started out as a small benefit concert and surfing competition has grown into an event with nearly 10,000 attendees and an army of volunteers who help Switchfoot put it together. “We have incredible volunteers who put countless hours into the event—it really strengthens the community,” says Butler. “Working side by side with people who are like-minded and want to see change is an incredible experience in its own right.”
Admission to the event is free, and funds raised from vendors, sponsorships, donations and a pre-event auction will go to StandUp for Kids.
“These kids are put in the spotlight and we get to tell their story,” says Butler, who says it’s incredibly rewarding to see the tremendous progress many kids have made in the years since they started Bro-Am. “There’s a kid named Sean who has been to several Bro-Ams, and he recently got his AA degree and is on his way to becoming a culinary chef. He serves as a mentor to kids who are going through tough time. It’s really encouraging.”
Butler says these kids inspired Switchfoot’s song, “Dark Horses,” on their most recent album, “Vice Verses. “It was inspired by the kids and their determination and not giving up,” he says. “They’re really the under dogs of society and we want to champion them.”
Check out the Switchfoot Bro-Am details here.