Warrens Haynes Asheville Christmas Jam: Bringing Music and Charity Together

While lots of people prefer tostay at home listening to Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra sing classic Christmas carols, others prefer a more upbeat rock-and roll style Christmas. The annual Warren Haynes Christmas Jam live from Asheville, NC  has previously featured famous acts such as The Steve Miller Band, Gregg Allman, John Bell and John Hermann of Widespread Panic, and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

Warren Haynes is an Asheville native blues and rock guitarist who has been putting together the Christmas Jam for over twenty years. In 1989, Haynes had the idea to invite musicians to play a Christmas show in Asheville to raise money for charity.  The response has been enormous. In the early years, the show was held at a downtown venue known as "45 Cherry". However, the Asheville Christmas Jam quickly outgrew that first venue which could only house 100 people.  It soon moved to the Asheville Civic Center, which holds up to 7200 people. Despite the large number of seats available, the  show sells out within a number of hours each year.

Throughout the years, many famous musicians have volunteered their musical talent to perform for the Warren Haynes show. Past musicians include Dave Matthews, Phil Lesh and Friends, The Derek Trucks Band, Bruce Hornsby, Peter Frampton, Blues Traveler, and many other well-known acts.

Overtime, the Christmas jam has become much more than simply a musical act. This year, many of the same attendees and fans of the show are spending time volunteering for Habitat for Humanity as a way  and raise publicity. The volunteer day known as "Before You Jam, Lend a Hand" is held the Friday before the show. Volunteers are able to work on new Habitat homes that are still in construction or at their store in Biltmore Village. According to the Asheville Citizen Times, volunteers have raised more than $850,00 for Habitat.

Though the actual Asheville Christmas Jam is sold out, Haynes and the many volunteers have created so much excitement around the event that there's three "Christmas Jam By Day" shows, plus a Warren Haynes Art Show. This year enjoy Phil Lesh & Friends, Gov't Mule, Bella Fleck, Los Lobos, and more.

The Warren Haynes Christmas Jam has become a tradition here in the mountains. Tickets usually go on sale in mid-October, so be sure to look out for the line-up early next fall. In the meantime, CDs and DVDs are for sale of the past Christmas Benefits Jams. Check out http://www.xmasjam.com/2010/cd_dvd.php or Amazon