Joe Walsh has rolled out the initial lineup for his fourth annual VetsAid festival set to stream online on December 12th. Joining the legendary Eagles guitarist online for the event will be Eddie Vedder, Jon Bon Jovi, Daryl Hall, James Hetfield, Alice Cooper, Vince Gill, Willie Nelson, Blake Shelton, Steven Van Zandt, Brandon Flowers, Gwen Stefani, Jason Isbell, Ben Harper, and many more.
Walsh said in the event's press release, “For the past three years we’ve held this glorious traveling circus in cities across the country with a day-long rock and roll festival and jobs fair to support our veterans and their families. Typically, we fill up an arena, play for five hours, and raise a bunch of money — nearly $1.5 million to date — to help our veterans get the care and support they deserve. But because of COVID this year, we’re going virtual as so many things are.”
He went on to say, “Our veterans community already suffers from increased poverty rates, mental health issues, re-entry difficulties and personal crises in the best of times. During this pandemic they are especially vulnerable. I’m proud of this nationwide tradition we have built and I can’t think of a better way to remember and honor the men and women who have served our country this holiday season than by helping us raise funds to support their essential and basic needs.”
Walsh, who grew up part of a Gold Star family, told us that it's only in recent times that the trauma that veterans and their families were forced to carry has been able to be brought out into the light: “No, it's never discussed. My father died when I was two. He died in 1949 and there was no Gold Star designation. It was just, 'Oh, your father died? Oh, that's too bad.' It was never discussed with me, it was never really explained to me. And when you think of it, all the guys from World War II, which is all of our fathers; they all came back, and, and they never talked about it.”
We asked Walsh, what is the quickest way to help veterans and their families on a local, grassroots level: “Well, you can find out more about this at VetsAid.org. There's also a network of places, but I would say, anybody listening to this, there are vet organizations all around us. They're small, and they're predominately vet run, but ask around and find something near you, because that's who needs help. Because you can save lives and even if it helps them prevent suicide, you can make a huge difference.”