The organizers of the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas have released a statement about Sunday’s mass shooting, which killed 59 people and injured more than 500.
“On behalf of the entire Route 91 Harvest Family, we are completely devastated by the event that occurred Sunday night. 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,” reads the statement. “Our eternal gratitude goes out to the [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,” it continues. “We will not let hate win over love. We will not be defeated by senseless violence. We will persevere, and honor the souls that were lost. Because it matters.”
Jason Aldean was onstage performing on Sunday night, the final day of the festival, when gunman Stephen Paddock began firing an automatic weapon into the crowd of 22,000 from his hotel room window across the street. Aldean also released a statement, writing in part, “At the end of the day we aren’t Democrats or Republicans, Whites or Blacks, Men or Women. We are all humans and we are all Americans and it’s time to start acting like it and stand together as ONE! That is the only way we will ever get this Country to be better than it has ever been, but we have a long way to go and we have to start now.”
Route 91 Harvest Festival is a three-day country music concert presented by Live Nation. Named after the original thoroughfare that is now Las Vegas Boulevard, the festival was first launched in 2014. This year’s headliners included Aldean, Sam Hunt and Eric Church. Luke Combs, Jake Owen and Big & Rich also performed on the day of the shooting. Big & Rich’s Big Kenny tells Rolling Stone Country that the tragedy will only strengthen the resolve of country music artists.
“We get up again the next day, put one foot in front of the other and go out into the world and do what we’re supposed to do: Love one another, make our music and bring together people to celebrate all the wonderful things we have in life,” he says. “Which is what music does. Music is such a part of community, where everybody comes together.”
The website for Route 91 has since been scrubbed of this year’s lineup, replaced by the image of an orange ribbon.