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“We are heartbroken”: Industry reacts to Route 91 tragedy

Promoter Live Nation and a host of industry associations are among those to have paid their respects to the 59 people known to have died in Sunday's 'lone wolf' attack

By IQ on 03 Oct 2017

Alison Krauss and the Cox Family perform at the Route 91 Harvest vigil in Nashville

Alison Krauss and the Cox Family perform at the vigil in Nashville

image © CMA

Live Nation, the promoter behind Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas, has issued a heartfelt statement in response to Sunday night’s massacre, saying the events are “beyond our comprehension” and promising to do “everything in our power” to support the victims and their families.

More than 59 people are now known to have lost their lives after a gunman, Stephen Paddock, opened fire on the open-air country music festival from the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay hotel. His motive is not yet known; jihadist group Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the shooting, saying Paddock converted to Islam earlier this year. US authorities, however, say there is no evidence Paddock was a Muslim, and described him as a “lone wolf” shooter.

“We are heartbroken over the tragedy that took place at the Route 91 Harvest festival. To think that anyone would want to inflict harm on a gathering of music lovers is beyond our comprehension,” reads the statement from Live Nation, which has organised the event since since 2014.

“To think that anyone would want to inflict harm on a gathering of music lovers is beyond our comprehension”

“And while we are stunned and grieving over this incomprehensible act of violence, we know that this is a moment when we must come together to prevent more tragedies like this from occurring.

“Live Nation will do everything in our power to support the victims and their families through the aftermath of this horrendous event, and extend our deepest gratitude to the heroic first responders who helped save as many lives as possible. To our Live Nation on-site employees, we cannot thank you enough for your bravery and perseverance over the past 24 hours and will ensure you have the resources and support necessary to heal from this.”

Live Nation president and CEO Michael Rapino also tweeted that the company’s “hearts are with the victims” of the attack.

In a joint statement, Megan Barry, mayor of country mecca Nashville, Sarah Trahern, the CEO of the Country Music Association (CMA), and Butch Spyridon, president and CEO of Nashville Music City/Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp, offered their “heartfelt thoughts and prayers” to everyone affected by the attack, and announced a candlelit vigil for the victims. The vigil, held last night, was attended by country stars Keith Urban, Vince Gill, Amy Grant and Alison Krauss, who also performed.

“Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in the tragic event in Las Vegas, especially the victims, their families and friends and the fans, artists and crews from our country community in Vegas,” they say. “This festival brought together people from all backgrounds united in enjoying life through music.”

Footage of the vigil can be viewed below:


Community Foundation Middle Tennessee, a charity based in Nashville, has also announced a fund for Las Vegas to “help with the immediate and long-term needs of victims” of the shooting. Announcing the Music City Cares Fund, foundation president Ellen Lehman comments: “Country music is the heart of Music City [Nashville]. We are reaching out to country music fans who fell victim to this evil. They must know we care and care deeply. Our prayers are with them.”

Neil Portnow, president/CEO of Grammys organiser the Recording Academy, says the academy plans to provide counselling and support to those affected by the Route 91 Harvest attack.

“The Recording Academy is deeply saddened by the unthinkable tragedy that occurred last night in Las Vegas,” he says. “As members of the music community, we will come together as we always do in defiance of this senseless act, and provide love and support to those affected.

“The Recording Academy’s charity, MusiCares, will be working closely with the music industry to provide trauma counselling and support to those in need. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families during this harrowing time.”

“As members of the music community, we will come together as we always do”

Music Canada Live, a concert industry association north of the border, similarly offered its sympathy to those caught up in the shooting.

“Music Canada Live, the voice of Canada’s live music industry, expresses our heartfelt sympathies to the victims and injured in last night’s tragedy in Las Vegas,” say chairman Jesse Kumagai and executive director Erin Benjamin in a joint statement. “The power of live music, and the artists that make it, will without question be a guiding light as we seek to heal from this unthinkable act.

“Our thoughts are with the families, festival organisers, fans and artists.”

Bonnaroo/Outside Lands co-promoter Superfly, which is launching a new festival, Lost Lake, in Arizona later this month, says its “hearts go out to those impacted by the tragedy in Las Vegas” – and that it’s doing all it can to protect patrons.

“At all of our events, and Lost Lake Festival taking place later this month, the safety of our patrons, staff, volunteers and artists is our highest priority,” reads a statement. “We will continue to work closely with Phoenix law enforcement officials to assess our safety and security protocols to ensure we host the safest event possible.”

“The power of live music, and the artists that make it, will be a guiding light as we seek to heal from this unthinkable act”

Caleb Keeter, guitarist for Route 91 Harvest performers Josh Abbott Band, meanwhile, says the attack has changed his views on gun control in the US.

Writing on Twitter, Keeter says he had been “a proponent of the second amendment [to the US constitution, which enshrines the right of Americans to bear arms] my entire life. Until last night.

“I cannot express how wrong I was.”

Keeter describes how he wrote a living will and a note saying goodbye to his parents as he “felt like I wasn’t going to live through the night”. That, he continues, “was enough for me to realise that this is completely and totally out of hand. These rounds were powerful enough that my crew guys just standing in close proximity [to] a victim shot by this fucking coward received shrapnel wounds.

“We need gun control RIGHT. NOW.”

“We will not let hate win over love. We will not be defeated by senseless violence”

As for the festival itself, a statement from local organisers says that while they will never forget the attack, the best way to honour victims is to persevere in the face of violence.

“On behalf of the entire Route 91 Harvest family, we are completely devastated by the event that occurred Sunday night,” it reads. “Our deepest sympathies go out to the injured and the deceased and their loved ones; senseless violence has claimed the souls of our fans and we have little in the way of answers.

“Our eternal gratitude goes out to the LVPD [Las Vegas police department], emergency services, security guards and fans for their selfless acts of bravery while trying to help those in need.

“While we will try and move forward, we will never forget this day. We will NOT let hate win over LOVE. We will NOT be defeated by senseless violence. We WILL persevere, and honour the souls that were lost.

“Because it matters.”

Route 91 Harvest ribbon


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