by Matt Conner
To the Sidewalk Prophets, fans aren’t just like family. They are family.
On the verge of setting off on their headlining Christmas tour, joyfully titled The Great Big Family Christmas Tour, front man Dave Frey says the band simply wants to give back to their fans—er, family—who have given them so much in the past year.
If you somehow missed the headlines, Sidewalk Prophets suffered a horrific trailer fire that destroyed all of their equipment and nearly killed them in the process last February. On the verge of the first big touring run of the year, the band wasn’t sure what the future would hold.
“We lost so much in the trailer fire,” says Frey. “It was terrifying. It really was. I don’t think we even knew how deeply it affected us until a couple weeks after. Some of our band members had anxiety attacks and it felt almost like PTSD. That’s not to lessen what our service members go through and those who go to war, but I think maybe some of us felt a tiny, tiny bit of what it’s like to know we were this close to death. If we’d given it 60 more seconds, I might not be here.”
In response to the news, fans responded en masse with prayers and support—very real financial support that overwhelmed the $95K estimate of losses with a GoFundMe campaign that reached over $100,000.
“To see the response of people saying they didn’t want this tour to end was incredible,” says Frey. “We didn’t have the funds to go get everything back. Insurance can take months or even years to get worked out. When all is said and done, we thought we might have to stop the tour because we couldn’t afford it. Then our fans showed up and, in five days, gave from their hearts the money, the drive, the spirit, the reason to keep going. We felt their support. It was amazing.”
To keep things lively and festive on the Great Big Family Christmas Tour, Frey says the band will be having “big” giveaways throughout the evening and will incorporate plenty of interactive elements. He even hinted at an “indoor snowball fight.” The music will also be bolstered by a special cadre of music students from Olivet Nazarene who will accompany the band on strings and horns.
More than anything, however, Sidewalk Prophets are hoping their tour dates can serve as a night of joy for all—especially for anyone who struggles this time of year. “We want people to feel like, for this night, they’re a part of our family,” says Frey.
“For some people, Christmas can be hard. There are a lot of people with broken homes and things they’re not looking forward to. Christmas can be a drag if family is broken or hurting. So we want people to feel like no matter what they’re coming in from, they’re a part of this family and God who loves all of us. We just want people to feel like they’re a part of something.”