Switchfoot has not yet adopted Bruce Springsteen’s “From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come)” as the theme song for its annual Bro-Am. But the title of that early 1980s Springsteen classic perfectly captures the evolution of this Grammy Award-winning San Diego rock band’s annual fundraising concert and surf competition at Encinitas’ Moonlight Beach.
Since being launched in 2005 ago as a small, grassroots event, the Bro-Am has raised more than $500,000 for San Diego charities that aid homeless youth here. The eight annual edition takes place Saturday, preceded by Friday's Switchfoot concert at the San Diego County Fair’s Grandstand Stage.
“The first year we did Bro-Am, there were a couple of hundred people and there were no real expectations,” said Jon Foreman, Switchfoot’s principal songwriter and lead singer. “It was just a matter of seeing it through and making sure the (homeless) kids who came had a good time. We started off with just the band and some friends from high school. It’s incredible how this has grown.”
That it is.
After starting off small and decidedly low-key, Bro-Am has drawn more than 7,000 people to Moonlight Beach for each of the past several years. The 2010 edition raised a record $135,000, while last year’s Bro-Am also raised a six-figure amount. This year’s edition will include the debut of the Rob Machado Bro Junior, which surfing legend Machado created as a non-competitive event specifically for kids 16 and under.
Bro-Am’s beneficiaries are the Oceanside and San Diego chapters of StandUp For Kids, an Atlanta-based non-profit organization that was launched in 1990 and is now active in 40 cities in 21 states.
StandUp offers outreach programs to locate and aid homeless and at-risk kids, as well as providing backpacks with nutritional foods and snacks. Much like the Storefront, San Diego Youth & Community Services’ shelter for homeless teens, StandUp also offers programs to help young people get out of abusive situations and to assist them in becoming self-sufficient.
“These are all homeless kids, kids that have been abused by one or both parents, or have been neglected because of a lack of a parent figure in their life,” Foreman said. “Or, sometimes, the house they were living in was foreclosed on and they have nowhere to go...
“StandUp can’t provide a place for them to live, legally, but it can provide assistance to help get them off the streets. As the kids get older, they become more accustomed to surviving on the streets and their self-esteem is such that it becomes hard for them to think better of themselves. StandUp also helps people who are too old for the foster system but are still trying to survive.
Switchfoot’s eighth annual Bro-Am and the first annual Rob Machado Bro Junior
Presented by Hurley, featuring Jon Foreman & Friends, Dead Feather Moon, Le Blorr, Brandon & Leah, Makuah Rothman, and others
When: 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, June 16, (surf contest); noon to 5 p.m. Saturday
Where: Moonlight Beach, 400 B St., Encinitas
Phone: (760) 274-3930
Read George Varga's full story and more on utsandiego.com