By Annie Reuter
The country community came out in full force on Sunday evening (Nov. 12) at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena for Country Rising, a benefit concert aimed to help victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria, as well as the recent shooting at a country festival in Las Vegas that left 58 people dead and more than 500 injured.
Aimed to be an evening of healing, the lineup included Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Sam Hunt, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Jon Pardi, Chris Stapleton, George Strait and Keith Urban. Carrie Underwood was also set to play the event but she broke her wrist in a fall on Friday and was recovering at home.
Aldean was onstage when shots rang out at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas on October 1.
“I know I don’t have to tell you guys this, but it’s been a rough couple of months for us up here and it’s a lot of fun to get back out and play for the people that matter, which is you guys,” he said during his four-song set, which featured “Dirt Road Anthem,” “Any Ol’ Barstool,” “My Kinda Party” and “She’s Country.”
“I spent a lot of time and a long time trying to make it in this business and doing something that I really enjoy. I’ll be damned if anybody is ever going to stop me from doing that,” Aldean said from the stage.
It was a sentiment shared throughout the night from each act, including George Strait. “A lot of people are out there hurting and this will help them a lot,” he said. Strait went on to perform his hits “The Fireman,” “Amarillo by Morning” and “Troubadour.”
Several of the performers expressed their hope to bring change to their communities and pay tribute to the people affected by the October disasters.
“I don’t care where I was I would have fought to be out here,” Bentley told The Tennessean. “It’s about raising money and raising awareness, but also about coming together as a community and having a chance to talk about it and grieve about it and sing about it and laugh and cry about it. October was a heavy month. You realize what a fine line there is between anyone who straps on a uniform and goes out there and does what they do.”
Donations are still being accepted. Fans can support the cause by texting “NASHVILLE” to 41010 to make a $10 donation or by visiting CountryRising.org.