Two of the biggest things in Connor Barwin's life are football and music. And the popular Eagles Pro Bowler brings them together every spring for a terrific cause.
Barwin, who is beginning his fourth year with the Eagles, is holding his third annual charity concert at Union Transfer next month to benefit his foundation, Make the World Better, which restores parks and recreation areas in inner city Philadelphia.
As hard as Barwin works on the field, he works just as hard off the field to produce an annual event that helps fund programs that directly benefit Philadelphia youth.
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"It was natural for me because I go to a lot of shows and I also go to a lot of galas and benefits so when I started the foundation it was, ‘What am I going to do to not only raise some money but also promote what we're doing,' and a concert was a no-brainer," Barwin said.
"Then I met Sean Agnew at Union Transfer and he agreed to help and said they'd donate everything and that's when it all took off."
Agnew, a partner in Union Transfer as well as Boot and Saddle, Morgan's Pier, R5 Productions and just about everything else involving music in Philadelphia, is a sports fanatic and was more than willing to help Barwin fulfill his goal of holding an annual concert featuring primarily Philly bands to raise money for the MWBP foundation.
Barwin's first concert, featuring Philly's Kurt Vile and the Districts, from outside Lancaster, raised $170,000. Last year's, with Philly's Marian Hill plus the Suffers and Parquet Courts, raised $300,000.
This year's concert, scheduled for June 3, features Philly bands Waxahatchee and Hop Along, with at least one more artist to be added.
Everybody involved with Barwin's concerts - from the promoter to the venue to the artists - donates their time.
"The idea is to really try to promote Philly bands and get Philly bands behind it because it's all happening in Philly," Barwin said. "We've had people come down from New York and that's been great, but it's hard to book shows. Especially when all these bands are playing for free.
"(They have) music festivals and regular shows in clubs and scheduling is tough. You don't want to take anything away from the bands because it's hard for them. The bands, especially the size we're working with, they're up and coming and trying to make a living."
Barwin said the team that helps put these concerts together includes Agnew, AEG vice president Brian Dilworth (who books the Mann, Underground Arts and Electric Factory), Live Nation (which books the Fillmore, Tower, TLA and others) and WXPN, Philly's member-supported non-commercial radio station.
"It's really a testament to everybody in the music scene who don't always work together working together to make this work," Barwin said. "Everybody's kind of in it together, and I think that's the only way it works."
Tickets are only $20 but for $200 fans can buy a pass that includes an open bar, a barbecue and a meet and greet with 12 to 15 Eagles players.
Among those scheduled for this year are Vinny Curry, Mychal Kendricks, Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson, Zach Ertz, Nelson Agholor and Chase Daniel.
The 2014 concert raised money to rebuild Ralph Brooks Park at 20th and Tasker, and last year's event raised money to revive Smith Playground at 24th and Snyder.
Barwin will announce this year's project at the show on June 3.
"I think sports and the arts are incredibly important," Barwin said. "It's not something we're necessarily talking about, but we're trying to work in those two areas. And those are two areas where those (school) budgets get cut before anything else, so that's another reason we try to integrate music and athletics.
"And I think music and athletics are two things that kids look up to and have a big influence on kids, so that's why it's important."
Barwin, who will move from linebacker to defensive end this year under Jim Schwartz's 4-3 defense, has 26½ sacks in his three years with the Eagles. That's the fifth-most sacks ever by a player in his first three seasons with the Eagles and sixth-most by any NFC defender since 2013.
Turns out he's just as valuable in the community as he is rushing the passer, dropping back in coverage or setting the edge against the run.
"It's something that really kinds of brings the city, a community together," he said. "You've got me and my 15 teammates hanging out with just normal people in Philadelphia that are buying a ticket, and they're meeting three bands that are from Philadelphia.
"It's a great way for people to just hang out and relax for a minute and get to know each other."
TICKETS: Available at the box office at Union Transfer at 10th and Spring Garden or online at Ticketfly.com.