Country music continues to mourn the victims of the October 1 mass shooting in Las Vegas. The shooting occurred during the final performance of the Harvest 91 Music Festival, a 3-day outdoor event.
ABC news reported that less than 24-hours after the massacre, some of the most recognizable names in country music gathered and held vigil. Vince Gill, Alison Krauss, Keith Urban, and other singers and songwriters memorialized those who lost their lives in the tragedy.
Actor Charles Esten, who presided over the ceremony, first expressed the warmth of Nashville. “This is the kind of city that will wrap its arms around you, and that is exactly what we’re here to do tonight,” he said.
Vince Gill took the stage and thanked the crowd “for the opportunity to come and lift up 58 families who lost somebody last night.” (Since his address, another person has died, raising the death toll to 59.)
He also added, “Honored to be here as a voice for the innocent. May we never lose our voice … may we never lose our voice for innocent people.” Gill sang his classic country tribute, “Go Rest High on That Mountain.”
Gill’s wife, singer-songwriter Amy Grant, joined him on stage with encouragement for each person to touch someone next to them in the crowd as they prayed.
Keith Urban commented that country music feels these losses especially hard. Speaking of the victims, he said, “They’re like family. It’s the one thing about country music that’s always been at the center of it, in that it is community. It’s about community. And so I did know those people, in that way, and it just really hit me.”
The ceremony closed with Alison Krauss and The Cox Family singing sang verses of the classic hymn “Amazing Grace.”
In truth to Urban’s comment of Country Music is a community, other artists have also publicly offered prayers and support for victim’s families and friends. Jason Aldean and his wife, Brittany, expressed their horror and grief over social media. Twitter also saw an outpouring of grief and prayer.
Country Music will continue on, and country music festivals will still be a place for fans to gather in community. What the incident revealed is just how strong that community is.