On A Mission To Save The Royal Canadian Legions, Canadian Band Commits to Exclusive Touring Arrangement
(Hamilton, Oct 2) Andy Vickers, frontman of the acclaimed Hamilton based band “RING OF FIRE – A JOHNNY CASH EXPERIENCE, thinks Johnny Cash would have been as saddened as he is at the decline of Canada’s once great network of Royal Canadian Legions. So he’s using the music of The Man In Black to save them.
“Since 2006, 64 Legion branches have closed,” says Vickers. “That’s 64 doors that have closed on our Canadian Military Veterans and their families that rely on the tremendous support that The Royal Canadian Legion provides,” he says.
Most Canadians are familiar with the Royal Canadian Legion from the annual poppies at remembrance day tradition. They may be aware of the important work the Legion does in supporting veterans and their families, but they might not know that communities really depend on the work of local Legions. “Many Canadians don’t realize that the Legion is one of the largest supporters of community youth activities in the country,” says the official website, “Legionnaires comprise one of the largest volunteer bases in the country, committing millions of volunteer hours each year with youth leadership programs, sports and other activities, supporting seniors, raising funds, helping those in need…Legionnaires provide essential services in their communities.”
Vickers says he can’t help but think today’s music industry bears a share of the blame for the demise of the Royal Canadian Legion. “Canadian musicians of Johnny Cash’s era aspired to play at their local legions. It was understood by all performers & music lovers alike that this was a privilege, an honour….” he says, “Today, the Live Music industry has become a very difficult place for musicians to succeed and thrive in because too often bands are measured by the prestige and size of venue they perform in.”
Announcing their coast to coast Legion Support Tour, the band will be travelling cross country, performing ONLY at Canadian Legions.
He explains it this way : “The Ring of Fire: A Johnny Cash Experience have built a strong reputation in the Canadian public’s eye. We have had the wonderful opportunities to perform in prestigious theatre’s and music venues across Canada that often aren’t available to other hard working musical acts in our country. While we are grateful for these milestones and credentials, we recently discovered our destiny and mission and it doesn’t involve big fancy theatre shows anymore. When we lose a Veteran or a Legion member passes, it’s up to the younger generations to step in and continue carrying the torch or the number of Legion members will keep dwindling down and these sacred buildings will only be a memory. That’s wny we have dedicated our future touring locations to support The Royal Canadian Legions all across our big & beautiful country.”
Legion members couldn’t be more thrilled at the support and the opportunity it brings.Tony Bendel, Public Relations Officer and 30 year member in St Thomas, Ontario, in an open letter to members, said “it was totally heart-warming was to see Andy incorporate a portion of his concert to talk to the audience about our Legion, its membership and their mission across the country one legion at a time. Not just sharing their music but educating the non-legion member attendees about the importance of joining up and how they can help reverse our declining membership.”
The concerts, he says, are making a real difference. They are turning people who have never set foot in a legion before into supporters, and even new members. “From their show at our branch, we have seen a surge of new member interest and a few on the spot sign ups….The front table holds a pile of membership forms, legion brochures, and the touring schedule… They also run a 50/50 draw and donate the 50% to the legion. We as a whole in the Legions have been doing membership drives and have worked tirelessly on this issue with very little effect. Branches are still closing and membership is ever so dwindling down. BUT NOW we have an opportunity to grab hold of…Andy opens up his heart during the show and talks about why the Legions are so important and that he wants people to join. We have a NEW way of recruiting…”
For their part, RING OF FIRE – A JOHNNY CASH EXPERIENCE points out that all the members have joined the Royal Canadian Legion, and “No performance fee is charged to ANY Royal Canadian Legion Branch – The band will NEVER cost the Legion Branch a dime to host a concert.”
The Man In Black would be proud.
See https://experiencecash.com/legion-support-tour-mission for a complete list of tour dates
The October shows are :
Oct 5 Espanola https://johnnycash001.eventbee.com/event?eid=119666953
Oct 13 Smith’s Falls https://johnnycash001.eventbee.com/event?eid=136863211
Oct 14 Bobcaygeon https://johnnycash001.eventbee.com/event?eid=191176633
Oct 19 Fergus https://johnnycash001.eventbee.com/event?eid=186961911
Oct 20 Delhi
Oct 21 Newbury https://johnnycash001.eventbee.com/event?eid=156265902
Oct 25 Kapuskasing https://www.eventbee.com/v/johnnycash001/event?eid=198865633#/tickets
Oct 26 Red Rock https://johnnycash001.eventbee.com/event?eid=107565271
Oct 27 White River https://johnnycash001.eventbee.com/event?eid=161471344