The country music community joins the nation and world in a state of mourning after a gunman rained bullets onto a sea of concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas late Sunday night, killing at least 58 and injuring more than 400 people in one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history.
Country star Jason Aldean performed onstage as the gunman, perched on a high floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, interrupted the three-day festival with a hail of gunfire from automatic weaponry.
About 22,000 people were at the concert, police said.
The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee established the Music City Cares Fund, with 100 percent of the donations going to Las Vegas to help with the immediate and long-term needs of victims in the shooting.
Donations to the Music City Cares Fund are tax-deductible. To give to the fund, visit cfmt.org.
“Country music is the heart of Music City,” said Ellen Lehman, president of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. “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.”
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry quickly posted on her Facebook page Monday morning, “An unimaginable scene of terror in Las Vegas has shocked and saddened our nation. This tragedy hits especially close to home, as so many of the artists and crew represented at this music festival are Nashvillians seeking to entertain and bring joy to country music fans around the world. My heart goes out to the friends and family members of the victims of this deadly shooting, and we pray for a speedy recovery for those injured.”
Aldean posted on Instagram early Monday morning, “Tonight has been beyond horrific. I still don’t know what to say but wanted to let everyone know that me and my crew are safe. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved tonight. It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night. #heartbroken #stopthehate”
Other places to give include the National Compassion Fund Las Vegas, with 100 percent of funds to be distributed directly to victims of the shooting. Donations to the fund are held separately from general donations to the National Center for Victims of Crime.
The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee has worked with a number of entertainers through the years, in the country music community and in other musical genres, both through benefit relief efforts and through funds established and administered by the Community Foundation.
The Community Foundation exists to promote and facilitate giving in the 40 counties of Middle Tennessee and beyond. It does this by accepting gifts of any size from anyone at any time and by empowering individuals, families, companies, nonprofits and communities to respond to needs and opportunities that matter. The Community Foundation works with people who have great hearts, whether or not they have great wealth, to craft solutions that reflect their intentions and goals. For more information, call 615-321-4939 or visit cfmt.org.