The artists who were at 2017’s Route 91 Harvest Festival are forever connected to the 22,000 fans who were there.
The event, which is the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, has forever changed its victims and the entire live event industry itself. There are still those who struggle to overcome the impact of the violence that played out on the festival’s final night. But as a community of survivors banded together “Country Strong,” they thrive.
Chris Young was backstage on a bus when the gunman started firing from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel across the street while Jason Aldean was performing the fifth song of his headlining set. Young tells CMT.com that he has since connected with a few Route 91 survivors on his Losing Sleep tour. He’s met some that have gotten tattoos but his most memorable experience connecting with a Route 91 survivor was in Tacoma, Wash. She was at Young’s concert with two girlfriends and a sign commemorating Route 91.
“I said, ‘I want to say thank you for coming to the show,’” Young recalled. “‘I’m sorry that you had to go through all that and that everybody had to go through that, but I’m really glad that you’re here tonight and getting to enjoy yourself and enjoy music, which is what a concert is supposed to be.’ She teared up, and we took a photo together. But little reminders like that, there’s definitely a lot of those that are going to happen. It’s nice to see people still going through something like that still able to come out and enjoy the experience and the music and the love of it.”
The country music community will observe a moment of silence on Monday (Oc. 1) at 1:05 p.m. ET/10:05 a.m. PT. All realms of the country music industry including CMT, radio, record companies, publishers, agencies and other organizations will stop for a moment (a minute or 58 seconds) to remember those who lost their lives and honor all who continue to be impacted by the tragedy.