Since their inception in 1996, Dispatch have been fueled by the notion of giving back. Even when they reunited after a brief break-up in the early 2000s, the rootsy indie duo aimed to create more than just music for the world.
A definitive moment was Dispatch Zimbabwe in 2007. The three-night, sold-out benefit at Madison Square Garden supported the country as it faced an era of political upheaval and extreme poverty.
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The band’s Brad Corrigan recalls the joy of having the African Children’s Choir onstage with them during the event. “Maybe that was the first time where we’re looking at these kids and they’re singing and opening up for us, thinking like, ‘What world are they gonna inherit from us?'” he told SPIN backstage at the BeachLife Festival in May. “And just starting to move out of the self-centered band thing to like, ‘Wow, this is a lot bigger than us just kind of jumping up and making music.'”
Ever since, the duo has highlighted a different cause each tour, from education and hunger to mass incarceration and mental health. “It’s a great gateway to get people into it,” says Corrigan’s bandmate, Chad Urmston. “It can be an intimidating first step to kind of get into these different worlds sometimes, so if you do it through a band, you like, it works.”
“We get to be the ones that ask the questions,” Corrigan adds. “Because we’re not [an] expert on any of it. We can say, ‘This doesn’t seem right,’ ask a question, and then these incredible organizations can come and educate fans who are interested and us.”
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