After Sunday night’s shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas left 59 dead and over 500 injured, Nashville’s country music community came together for a night of music, mourning and charity.
The benefit vigil — held Monday night at Nashville’s Ascend Amphitheatre — donated 100 percent of the proceeds to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee’s newly-established Music City Cares Fund for Vegas shooting victims.
The evening opened with a speech from country music singer and star of the television show “Nashville,” Charles Esten.
“I know this is not where any of us wanted to be tonight, but it says something that this is where you are,” Esten said. “Nashville is the kind of city that will wrap its arms around you, and that is exactly what we are here to do tonight.”
“We are here to wrap our arms around Las Vegas.”
Legendary singer-songwriter Vince Gill started the evening’s performances after Esten’s speech.
“I’m honored to be here and be a voice for the innocent. May we never lose our voice for the innocent people,” Gill said.
After Gill’s performance, Amy Grant came on stage to offer a moment of prayer.
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry came onto the stage next, and shared condolences and words of hope, saying that now is a time to come together and spread love.
“The counterweight to grief is community, and that is what Nashville does so well,” said Barry.
Country music star and Nashville resident Keith Urban also showed up for a performance.
“The one thing about country music that has always been at the center of it is community, it has always been about community,” Urban said.
After his performance, Urban introduced country icon Alison Krauss and her band, who closed the show with a performance of “Amazing Grace.”
“They call country music an industry, and it is. They call it a community sometimes, and it is,” said Esten. “But in the end what it really turns out to be is a family.”
To donate to the Music City Cares Fund, clickhere.
Photos and article by Caitlin Alexander.