Recently the music scene in Texas was set ablaze with the electrifying performances of Three Doors Down, Shinedown, and Candlebox at two exclusive benefit concerts hosted by Riptide Society. The concerts, held at the iconic Haute Spot in Austin and the vibrant Lava Cantina in The Colony, not only left the audiences in awe but also raised the bar for philanthropy in the realm of rock and roll. Riptide Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to making a positive impact in the lives of children and at-risk youth, pulled out all the stops for the dual benefit concerts. In addition to a trio of amazing performances by iconic bands, the evening also featured raffle items such as guitars autographed by the bands, designer purses and handbags, and a live painting by renowned artist Rolando that was painted on stage during the concert and then auctioned off at the end of the night. And while for the fans and concert attendees the events lasted only a few hours, the two nights were the culmination of years of planning. “It was exhausting,” Candlebox lead singer Kevin Martin, who is also a co-founder of Riptide Society, said with a laugh. “You know it’s funny, after all the years that I’ve been touring, and all of the experiences that I’ve had, I don’t think that I’ve ever been so emotionally attached to anything. And I think that emotion is so draining when you release that much of it in such a short period. But at the same time, it’s so invigorating and so exciting and it’s so real to me. I even said to one of our board members that night, ‘What have I signed up for? This is the most thrilling thing that I’ve ever done.’”
The driving force behind these events was not just the star-studded lineup but the commitment to a cause that transcends the boundaries of music - supporting and uplifting the lives of vulnerable children. “We work with kids of all ages,” Riptide Society co-founder Todd Young explains. “Kids in the foster care system, or aging out of the foster system but still need help because they aren’t prepared yet to be out on their own, at risk youth, young adults, we even have people where there was a death or mental issues from the military but there are kids at home and they need help. So if it’s anything in this big umbrella, we like to say yes. And that’s very different from most organizations, because we do not restrict who we will consider helping into a certain box. It’s more hands-on what we’re doing.”
The concert series unfolded at Haute Spot in Austin, and Lava Cantina in The Colony, venues renowned for their eclectic atmosphere and unwavering support for local philanthropic initiatives. The air was thick with anticipation as Three Doors Down took the stage, in a setting that added a new dimension to their already electrifying performance. Shinedown and Candlebox followed suit, each delivering sets that not only showcased their musical prowess but also emphasized the importance of the cause at hand. The artists, fully aware of the impact their music can have beyond entertainment, used their time on stage to amplify Riptide Society’s message of hope and support for children facing adversity. “I think being in a band, the reality of that is that you’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with,” Kevin explains. “You’re only as good as your last single, you’re only as good as the last record you release, you’re only as good as the last concert that you play. When you’re a musician your career is in everybody else’s hands. And in this environment, with Todd and everybody else that’s involved with Riptide Society, where you give so much of your energy and your time to something that you really love, that commitment is ours. And that energy is ours. And as exhausting as it is, next to my child being born and marrying my wife Natalie, it is the most fulfilling experience of my life. It is the catalyst for everything else that I want to do for the rest of my life.”
While the concerts were a success, the heartbeat of the events lay in the funds raised for children in the foster care system and at-risk youth. Riptide Society, through these benefit concerts, aimed to channel the power of music into tangible change, providing resources and support to those who need it most. “One hundred percent of the money raised goes back to the kids or to the foster parents who are handling all of that,” Todd says. In a world where the power of music is often celebrated for its ability to transcend boundaries, these benefit concerts showcased that it can also bridge the gap between the stage and the lives of those who need it the most. Riptide Society's commitment to creating positive change through the universal language of music is a testament to the transformative power of music, compassion, and collective action. Kristin Young, President of the Riptide Society Board of Directors, agrees. “My daughter has a t-shirt that says, ‘My brain is 99% song lyrics.’ Music is universal. And I love that we’re in Texas and we’re educating kids in Africa, we’re educating a young woman in Utah, we are going to help some people in Cuba. Because let’s face it, we’re sitting in the heart here of first world problems. We have things and we take them for granted, just like we take warm water for granted. And when people are no longer a statistic, but they are right there in front of you and share their story with you and you get to hear their heart; then you begin to understand that one hundred dollars actually can change their lives. Or a service that you can provide or a connection that you have really can change their lives.”
In addition to raising funds, the benefit concerts also fostered a sense of community and shared responsibility; proving that the impact of music can extend far beyond the realms of entertainment. The synergy between the powerhouse performances and the charitable cause created an atmosphere of unity and purpose, turning the concert attendees from passive spectators into active participants in a movement to make a difference in the lives of people all over the country, and even the world. “We’re building a very deep bench of resources so that we can tap into volunteer donated resources first, and then the donated money fills in the holes,” Todd explains. “It’s really unique to our organization, because most others have to cut check after check, after check. And there’s nothing wrong with that, we’re just doing it differently. I had a couple pull me aside at one of the benefit concerts that were both dentists and said to put them down right now, any kid or foster parent that needs their teeth cleaned, they will provide that service at no cost. We have an incredible amount of people offering to help, from cars to land, to clothing, doctors, to eye doctors, to dentists, to you name it. And that’s just the beginning.”
Riptide Society’s plans to grow the benefit concerts into an annual event and potentially an entire music festival are already underway. Yet as the echoes of the previous benefit concerts fade into memory, the call to action remains loud and clear. Riptide Society's mission continues, and their website, riptidesociety.org, stands as a gateway for those looking to contribute, volunteer, or learn more about the organization's ongoing initiatives.