Bon Jovi's Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation and Widespread Panic will be honored with special awards at the 2008 Billboard Touring Awards on Nov. 20 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York.
Additionally, Widespread Panic will play the intimate Fillmore at Irving Plaza in New York on Nov. 19 in a special benefit concert for the Bill Graham Memorial Foundation. Registrants for the Nov. 19-20 Billboard Touring Conference will be able to take part in a pre-sale on Oct. 16 for the "evening with" Panic show; the general public on-sale is Oct. 18.
Bon Jovi's Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation will be honored with the Humanitarian Award, which recognizes the philanthropic efforts of a touring professional. Jon Bon Jovi's mission to provide affordable housing to those in need has spread across the country and internationally, and began even before he and the ownership group of the Arena Football League's Philadelphia Soul decided to structure the nonprofit Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation in October 2006.
Most recently, 51 units of housing in partnership with HelpUSA were announced for Newark, N.J., bringing the number to 140 of affordable housing units Bon Jovi and the Foundation have been involved with since 2005.
Previous Humanitarian Award winners include Clear Channel Entertainment (2004), Dave Matthews Band (2005), Music Rising (2006), and Kevin Wall/Live Earth (2007). "Few efforts are more 'humanitarian' than helping provide shelter for people in need. We're proud to recognize the efforts of Jon Bon Jovi and the Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation with the 2008 Humanitarian Award," says Ray Waddell, Billboard's executive director of content and programming, touring and live entertainment. Also at the Billboard Touring Awards, Widespread Panic will receive the first-ever Road Warrior award. This honor was conceived to recognize work ethic, steadfast dedication to touring year after year, and a commitment to the art and craft of live performance.
"The Road Warrior award acknowledges a band that might not always grace the top of the Billboard Boxscore charts, but whose professionalism, on-stage charisma and ability to sell tickets over a long period of time provide a huge boost to the overall touring industry," says Waddell. "As promoters, venue managers and, of course, fans from coast to coast know, Widespread Panic more than meets all these criteria."
The Bill Graham Memorial Foundation was formed in November of 1991 following the death of the legendary rock impresario Bill Graham. The Foundation awards grants primarily in the areas of music, the arts and education, while also supporting social work, environmental protection, and spiritual and compassionate projects in communities.
"We're thrilled to give our conference attendees an opportunity to not only see one of the great live bands ever in this intimate setting, but to also support a wonderful cause in the Bill Graham Memorial Foundation," says Waddell.
The Billboard Touring Awards honors the most successful tours, artists and professionals of the year, primarily determined by the Billboard Boxscore charts. Also this year, the Allman Brothers Band will receive the Legend Of Live award.
by Greg Lake