AUBURN, Ala. - It takes a big act to follow a superstar like Kenny Chesney. With 22 No. 1 singles, Blake Shelton will fill the bill next April in the second Music and Miracles Superfest at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
“I really thought, ‘Oh my gosh, we are never going to get bigger and better than Kenny Chesney,” said Stacy Brown, co-founder of Chicken Salad Chick, whose foundation created the benefit concert.
“I feel like we continue to keep being blessed,” Brown said Monday at the original Chicken Salad Chick location. “Blake Shelton is the absolute epitome of country music, and fun, and a great heart, and that’s what we’re looking for. People who have a heart for this cause. He fits in very well with that, and we’re going to have a great party with him.”
Preceding Shelton on stage on April 22nd will be Thomas Rhett, Kelsea Ballerini, David Ray and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Brown hopes the 2017 event will be “an all-day festival,” with fans tailgating before the concert.
Former Auburn women’s golf coach Kim Evans says she got into the spirit of the first Music and Miracles Superfest.
— Jeff Shearer (@jeff_shearer) October 3, 2016
“I went out and bought the island shirt,” Evans said, referencing Chesney’s preferred destination. “And the jeans, and the flip flops that I wore today.”
Evans, a member of the Chicken Salad Chick Foundation board, says she believes in the foundation’s two goals of fighting cancer and feeding the hungry.
“A year ago, we all listened to Kevin Brown state that he was in the fight of his life,” Evans said. “I’m the other end of that, because this month, I am cancer-free three years.”
Kevin Brown, co-founder of Chicken Salad Chick, died of colon cancer last November, five months before the concert he envisioned became what Stacy calls “a magical reality.”
“I don’t know that I’ve met a fighter like he was,” Evans said. “He inspired me. While he was fighting for his life, he was still living his dream and fighting for what he believed in. And that was a huge inspiration to me.
“And when you have inspiration, you have hope, you have gratitude. And that combination is a miracle,” she said. “I’d like to thank Kevin Brown for that. Instilling the belief in me that we can fight cancer in a way that gives you a great life and you can still work and be a great part of the community.”
Proceeds from the Chesney concert, which attracted more than 50,000, allowed Chicken Salad Chick Foundation to give $200,000 to Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.
Stuart Dill, co-creator of Music and Miracles, read an email Kevin sent shortly before he passed away.
“We have a responsibility as people in influential positions to do extraordinary things for those who are not,” Dill read. “Let’s make Music and Miracles Superfest an event that will recognized around the world. Let’s rock this thing. Kevin Brown.”
With help from a country music superstar, some up-and-comers and Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, Stacy Brown is doing just that.
“To me, it is continuing my husband Kevin Brown’s legacy of helping others,” she said. “He was an amazing person who fought through a tough diagnosis. The entire time he was fighting, he was helping others. He could have focused on his own health, but he put his own health second, and tried to make a difference in this disease, and the research and cure of it, before he left us.
“It’s my job, it’s my duty, it’s my honor, it’s my privilege to continue that for him.”
— Music & Miracles (@MMSuperfest) October 1, 2016
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer