As a musician, Warren Haynes is infamous for his improvisational prowess and his spontaneous guest appearances. So it might seem odd that he becomes so darn reliable — and charitable — each holiday season.
For 16 years, Haynes has coordinated the Warren Haynes Annual Christmas Jam. Like a family reunion, the annual, one-of-a-kind, semi-structured marathon of music brings together old friends on stage and in the audience at the Civic Center Arena in Asheville, N.C.
This year the event will be held again at the Asheville Civic Center Arena, Saturday, December 18 at 7:00PM. WNCW’s Pre-Jam Jam Broadcast Live from the Orange Peel is on Friday, December, 17. Past Performers Include: The Allman Brothers Band, Alvin Youngblood Heart, Blues Traveler, Bob Weir, Derek Trucks Band, DJ Logic, Edwin McCain, John Hiatt & The Goners, moe., North Mississippi All-Stars, Phil Lesh and Friends, Phish’s Mike Gordon, Robert Randolph and The Family Band, Sam Bush, Sonny Landreth, String Cheese Incident’s Michael Kang, and Widespread Panic’s John Bell, Dave Schools & Todd Nance.
Haynes, who will open the evening with a brief solo performance, will perform with his band Gov’t Mule, and, of course, join many of the artists for spontaneous collaborations. But the impact goes far beyond the entertainment.
The show thrives on the generous support of volunteer talent and behind-the-scenes personnel, with post-production proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity. In 2002, Haynes received the Key to the City by Asheville Mayor Worley. The benefit event raised $70,000 for the organization, selling 7000 tickets. Prior to the 2003 concert, Haynes gave keys to a family for their new Habitat for Humanity home, which was constructed with funds from the 2002 concert. The 2003 event raised $100,000 – bringing the total for the last three years over $200,000.
“Christmas Jam started 16 years ago as an opportunity for local musicians to jam at the one time of year they were all in town at the same time. Back then, we gave the money to whatever charity we felt like. As the event grew and we became aware of Habitat For Humanity, we settled on them because we believe in the organization and know the money goes where its supposed to. When your work is music, its easy and fun to give back.”