Justin Vernon, front man for the band Bon Iver and featured artist on Red Hot’s album Dark Was the Night, returned to his native Wisconsin in October 2009 to lead the opening ceremonies of the 20th annual AIDS Walk Wisconsin with a mini acoustic set and to perform a sold-out benefit concert at Riverside Theatre in Milwaukee.
The AIDS Walk and benefit concert raised close to $400,000, most of which will go to the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, an AIDS service organization that provides comprehensive medical and social services for HIV/AIDS patients regardless of income.
At his concert at Riverside Theatre, Vernon commented on Bon Iver’s involvement with ARCW:
This is a really big day for us and the history of this band on a lot of levels [...] We were a part of helping bring people together down at the Summerfest grounds as part of AIDS Walk Wisconsin and I kind of just basically stood on stage and talked about how humble we were to be asked to be a part of this for our home state. I felt a lot of pride today just in general for people that come from here and well kinda all over the place. This is our last show as a band for an indefinite amount of time [...] but it feels like a long time we’ve been doing this and its been an amazing ride and we couldn’t ask to do it in a better place than here tonight in Milwaukee.
Vernon, the honorary chair of AIDS Walk Wisconsin 2009, nominated ARCW as a charity to receive a portion of the proceeds from Dark Was the Night. To date, Red Hot has donated $25,000 to the organization, primarily funding ARCW’s medical center.