Music News & Reviews

Breathitt County concert and trail ride expand charitable reach

Chad Warrix
Chad Warrix Lexington Herald-Leader

After four years and having raised $465,000, the Crockettsville Charity Concert and Trail Ride is broadening its influence.

In the past, proceeds from the annual outdoor Breathitt County concert and all-terrain-vehicle trail ride went primarily to Buckhorn Children and Family Services, a Perry County organization that seeks to improve the lives of suffering children.

But as the event marks its fifth year weekend, it aims to spread the wealth to other agencies, including Trooper Island, the Kentucky State Police camp on Dale Hollow Lake, said Chad Warrix, who with David Tolliver makes up the country music duo Halfway to Hazard.

"We're not trying to take anything from Buckhorn Children," Warrix said during a late August visit to Lexington. "We're still giving all the proceeds from the trail ride itself to them, and we'll still allocate other money from the concert to them. But the charity is doing pretty well, so we want to make sure we're dispersing it in the area."

Some proceeds also bought new instruments for band programs in Breathitt and Rockcastle counties. The instruments will be delivered this week.

Warrix, 37, who grew up in Jackson, played bass guitar and drums in his high school band and credits that experience for igniting his passion for music.

"At the time we were kind of cutting-edge with our little pep band that had an electric guitar, electric bass and drums," Warrix said. "It was pretty cool. We were small. There were, like, only 10 people in the band, so we figured out a way to make ourselves louder with amplified instruments."

Another Kentucky-bred country music duo, Montgomery Gentry, headlines Saturday's all-day concert. Eddie Montgomery is a Central Kentucky native and brother of singer John Michael Montgomery. Warrix's family counts Troy Gentry and his family as friends. Halfway to Hazard has opened shows for Montgomery Gentry, Warrix said.

The Crockettsville festival attracted about 10,000 people last year, but some 25,000 came in 2009, when the big concert draws were country singers Tim McGraw and Dierks Bentley. McGraw's company produced Halfway to Hazard's debut album in 2007, and the duo opened for McGraw and wife Faith Hill's two-year tour.

Halfway to Hazard has been on a recording hiatus since 2010, although Warrix has promoted a solo single called Rain on the Roof. In March, the duo raised money for victims of the tornadoes that struck several Eastern Kentucky counties.

"Halfway to Hazard is not over. We just decided to take a break for various personal reasons," Warrix said. "David and I are still best of buddies, and we will always come together to do the Crockettsville event.

"I feel like where I'm from gets a bad rap sometimes, and I like to be a good ambassador for positive things," Warrix said. "I'm not trying to be a hero by any means, but I just truly like to showcase the area at its best and the people at their best."

In the recent past, the Crockettsville festival conflicted with the Kentucky State Fair or other big events, but steers clear of other draws this year, with one possible exception.

"The only thing we're dealing with on Sunday, it's the opening day for the NFL, so there may be people who want to watch football games," Warrix said. "But you can still come out and do the ride, and then go home and do football."

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