ACM Awards: Reba McEntire Says “We Will Go On”

Opens Up About the Aftermath of Route 91

In just 12 days, country fans from all over America will come back to Las Vegas for the Academy of Country Music Awards on April 15. For many of them, it will be the first time they’ve made that journey since the Oct. 1 shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.

And that’s not lost on Reba McEntire, who will be hosting the night.

For the fans gathered in Las Vegas, and the fans watching from home, she knows that something needs to be done to honor the memories of the lives lost.

“That is a very critical and important thing to do. We do pay tribute. We pay honor to those who were victims of that shooting,” Reba told Billboard, “and then we remind everybody that we are Americans and we do not let that shut us down.

“We will go on, we will have a great time that night, and we’re going to have fun for them and remember them.”

But looking beyond the expected tribute at an awards show, Reba says, everyone needs to stay strong every day.

“We’ve got to be strong. Americans are strong. We’ve been through a lot of stuff where people have tried to tear us down and make us weaker, but we are not,” she says, adding this course of action:

“We will gather up and huddle up. We will hug. We’ll remember, we’ll cry and we’ll move forward, but never will we ever forget what happened.”

The ACM Awards will air live from Las Vegas on Sunday, April 15 on CBS.

While the Route 91 website is still just a landing page with a sincere apology and makes no mention of whether or not there is a future for the festival, the grounds may be getting a reboot. The site of the Route 91 Harvest festival — officially called Las Vegas Village — has been empty since the shooting, although there have been preliminary talks between the city and the site owner MGM about using the wide-open space for a SWAT facility. According to a statement from MGM, those talks are only in the early, conceptual stages.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.