Independence Fund

Preparations underway for Lt. Dan Band Concert's debut in Charleston

Benefit for injured service members moves from Beaufort

emoody@beaufortgazette.comSeptember 13, 2013 

In this file photo, actor Gary Sinise plays with his Lt. Dan Band at the start of the Shrimp Festival and Lt. Dan Weekend on Oct. 1, 2010, at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park in Beaufort. Sinise and his band will play at the Citadel -- not in Beaufort -- during this year's Lt. Dan Week.

FILE/THE BEAUFORT GAZETTE

It's quieter in Beaufort this week than this time last year, without the flurry of activity that has accompanied the Lt. Dan Weekend for the last three years.

The community had flocked to support wounded veterans visiting for a week of events capped off by the Saturday Lt. Dan Band Concert.

But this year the concert and most of those activities have moved.

Independence Fund founder and Lt. Dan Weekend organizer Steve Danyluk said plans are going well for the event's first weekend at The Citadel in Charleston. More than 4,000 advance tickets have been sold, and he expects about 12,000 people to attend the concert Saturday in Johnson Hagood Stadium, if weather holds.

Danyluk said those numbers help solidify his conviction that moving to Charleston was a good idea to raise the profile of the events. Last year, about 4,200 tickets were sold for the concert in Beaufort's Henry C. Chamber's Waterfront Park.

"It's just the right thing to do," he said. "We're bringing more veterans, and we're reaching more people and getting more attention."

In August, Danyluk had considered canceling the Charleston concert because of lagging ticket sales, but the sales improved, he said. "Things are taking a turn in the right direction."

The Charleston events also include a 5K bike ride Saturday through The Citadel campus.

About 200 veterans are expected to come for the concert, Danyluk said. About 80 of those wounded warriors and their caregivers are staying all week and participating in activities at Palm Key Independence Center near Ridgeland.

Some Beaufort residents who were deeply involved with the Lt. Dan Weekend are still disappointed the events were moved.

"Quite a few people were so upset," said City Councilwoman Donnie Beer, a former volunteer, when the venue change was announced in April.

"It meant an awful lot to me and a lot of people who helped. ... True, we didn't have a big stadium, but it was something to see 4,000 people stand and cheer for the veterans in the park."

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.

Related content:

Lt. Dan Concert leader: Ticket sales needed to avoid cancellation, Aug. 8, 2013

Lt. Dan Band concert moved from Beaufort to Charleston, to some dismay, April 12, 2013

Actor Sinise, thousands rally for injured vets, Sept. 15, 2012

See YouTube videos of Sinise's performances at the Lt. Dan Weekend and elsewhere

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