To Chris Stapleton, the Fourth of July growing up in Staffordsville, Kentucky, was the hallmark of Americana.
“We had a small town fireworks display that everybody would watch from the Walmart parking lot or we’d set off some fireworks in our driveway,” Stapleton says over the phone.
But he made sure to stay out of any bottle rocket wars with friends. To him, the potential for a redneck accident was too high and the fun wasn’t worth the loss of an eye.
“I didn’t really see the logic in it,” he says with a laugh. “I just kind of stayed out of that probably out of fear of my dad.”
This Independence Day will be a special one for the CMA, ACM and Grammy-award winner. Stapleton has partnered with the military non-profit Folds of Honor and Budweiser to headline a Fourth of July concert for 40,000 service members and their families at North Carolina’s Fort Bragg. The celebration will feature sets by Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Cheap Trick and CMT Next Woman of Country Natalie Stovall and the Drive.
The event will include a big check presentation reflecting a donation to Folds of Honor to provide educational scholarships to spouses and children of fallen and disabled service members. During the week leading up to America’s 240th birthday, Budweiser will donate a portion of the total national sales of its “America” cans and bottles to the non-profit organization up to $1 million.
Giving back to the U.S. military is something Stapleton believes in wholeheartedly. Both of his grandfathers fought in World War II, and he has come into contact with several service members who have directly impacted his life.
“I had friends, their dad were Vietnam vets,” he says. “I’m constantly around musicians and people in and around the music business with brothers who were in the service. I don’t think you can be an American and not be impacted by [our military] or not be related to it or not have a story about it that impacts you, and if you don’t you’re just not paying attention. It’s an important thing to take care of these guys however we can and honor them whenever we can.”
“America’s military allow the rest of us to do what we do,” he adds. “I can’t think of a more appropriate thing to do on the Fourth.”