Dierks Bentley on Raising Money for Vets at ACM Party for a Cause: 'It's a Good Chance to Give Back in a Really Meaningful Way'
Dierks Bentley holds on to the things he believes in, and being a strong supporter of the military is one thing he will always live up to.
In the days leading up the Academy of Country Music Awards, the show is first putting on Party for a Cause – a three-day music festival in Las Vegas – to help raise funds for veterans and their families, and Bentley will be headlining the concert on Saturday. The show’s charitable organization, ACM Lifting Lives benefits from the proceeds.
“You’ve got all these artists in town anyway for the ACM Awards, so why not help out a great cause while we’re there?” the country star tells PEOPLE. “It’s a good chance to give back in a really meaningful way.”
He continues, “ACM Lifting Lives is involved with helping the military families get back on their feet and readjust to civilian life. I can’t even imagine how difficult that must be … these men and women spend their whole lives training for one particular skill set and then have to come back here and adjust to this world.”
While Bentley has always been too focused training for his own skill set – music – to serve our country, the cause really hits home for him because his grandfather was in WWI and his dad fought in WWII.
“People have told me they’ve listened to my music overseas and it’s helped them get through hard times, and then I’ve had people back home tell me the same thing when their husbands or wives are gone in the service,” Bentley, 40, says. “It means a lot and music is a powerful thing. You can’t understate the power of a song and how it can help someone get through tough times.”
• Don’t miss a beat of country music news, photos and videos! Click here to get all this and more in the PEOPLE Country Newsletter.
And being one of country music’s biggest stars is one of life’s greatest blessings, but Bentley’s life on the road reminds him just how hard it must be for those who go extensive amounts of time without seeing their loved ones.
“I travel a lot and I know the toll that can take on my family, and I’m just gone for bits and pieces of time in a safe environment,” he says. “I can’t imagine what these military families go through. Being away and in harm’s way for years at a time, coming back wounded … that’s where we need to come in and help veterans readjust.”
As Bentley plans to give it all he’s got and “try to lift people up” at the same time, he will be joined by superstars Carrie Underwood and Kenny Chesney, who will also be headlining the festival. But charity aside, Bentley says he is really looking forward to rocking out to the up-and-coming artists.
“I always love seeing the new acts – it’s their first time, they’re excited and just to check them out,” Bentley says of the star-studded lineup, which includes Cam, Kelsea Ballerini, Chase Rice, Chris Stapleton and many more.
For much more from Dierks Bentley on how he empowers people overseas through his music, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.
It’s the weekend that keeps on giving. Once Bentley is done “leaving it all on stage” at the festival, he will then go on to co-host the actual award show – he’s also nominated for Male Vocalist of the Year – alongside his pal Luke Bryan.
“This is my first TV hosting experience, and hosting is a real skill because you have to be the jack of all trades. It’s a chance for me to see what I got and how I can do it,” he says. “I’ve got Luke there, who’s a pretty good co-host to have because he’s funny as hell and he’s done it for four years now. I figured if you’re going to do a hosting gig, going in there with Luke Bryan by your side is a pretty good way to do it.”
Tune in to the ACM Awards live from Las Vegas on Sunday, April 3 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.