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Dierks Bentley’s Miles and Music for Kids Event Takes Over Nashville

Music City may have never seen so many country fans dressed in leather. Choppers, hogs, soft and hard tails and dozens of custom bikes lined Broadway and 2nd Ave. N in downtown Nashville on Sunday afternoon (Sept. 28), the culmination of the 2014 Dierks Bentley Miles and Music for Kids charity ride and concert at Riverfront Park.

It’s the ninth year the ‘Drunk on a Plane’ singer has invited fans and friends to rev up along middle Tennessee backroads and highways before celebrating on stage with a few songs and cold beers. The Monroe Carell, Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt is the recipient of the proceeds, and while totals from the 2014 event are not yet in, Bentley had helped raise $2.5 million before the first Harley fueled up on Sunday morning.

The father of three recalls his first year: Comedian Jeff Foxworthy, Montgomery Gentry and Eric Church helped out, he says, and they didn’t even know if they’d clear any money for the charity. Two venues later, he admits he’s amazed at what he’s helped create.

“It kind of feels like my own little CMA Music Fest in a way,” Bentley tells Taste of Country. The vibe downtown is similar.

As a successful artist, the singer found himself being pulled in a thousand different directions, so he and his manager sat down and decided to do more by doing less. “How can we do one thing?” they asked. “How can we can really focus on and bring as much awareness to one thing, as opposed to being scattered amongst a bunch of other things?”

At this year’s event, Jon Pardi, Kip Moore, Randy Houser and Chris Young all played for a packed Riverfront Park stage crowd, before Bentley took the stage just before sunset. Actor Chip Esten (Deacon from ABC’s ‘Nashville’) made a cameo, but didn’t sing. Dee Jay Silver and Keifer Thompson from Thompson Square were seen taking the day in. Shawna may be there in 2015. Her husband — looking every bit the biker dude part — admitted they’d just bought her a bike, and she was going through motorcycle training that day.

Bentley’s band backed most of the performers, but if fans didn’t know, they wouldn’t know. Moore’s energy could be heard in East Nashville as he sang ‘Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck’ and ‘Beer Money’ before going acoustic for a new song and ‘Hey Pretty Girl.’ Young’s ‘Aw Naw’ made the ground rumble, but he quickly turned to his most famous ballads and love songs, and the crowd was appreciative.

The energy wasn’t contained along 1st Ave., however. Bars up and down Nashville’s main tourist drag were open as Harleys lined up along the curb. The music could be heard blocks away — even those who didn’t come downtown to see the show no doubt left knowing a little more about the charity and Bentley’s mission.

“It’s been the best couple of years of my life,” the superstar — who road with his mom, Cathy — says. This era includes a few kids and the best albums of his career, but there’s no doubt that the success of the Miles and Music event is helping to push the smile on Bentley’s face a little wider.

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