Event honors victims, helps survivors of last year’s Route 91 shooting

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An annual event dedicated their special night to the victims and families of last year’s tragic shooting at a Las Vegas country music festival. Country Superstars Maren Morris, Florida Georgia Line, and Big & Rich all played a part in the night. 

The Inspire event, put on by The Onsite Foundation, benefits a scholarship fund and a trauma and grief intensive program specifically for those who have lost loved ones. Proceeds from last night’s event go directly to the cause, helping find healing for those impacted by the Oct. 1, 2017, shooting. 

A lone gunman fired several semi-automatic rifles from a hotel window and killed 58 people and injured more than 850 at the festival. Since that night, the country music industry has made its goal to not forget those impacted by the tragedy.

CMA nominee Maren Morris had played the event the night before the shooting. She told the crowd she remembered thinking the festival was one of the coolest ones she had ever played. 

“It was devastating to wake up two days later and read the news,” she said.

The event also honored Brian O’Connell, the President of Country Music Touring for Live Nation. A 25-year veteran of the business, he has helped launch the careers of Toby Keith, Rascall Flatts, Brad Paisley, Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, Lady Antebellum, Luke Bryan, Brooks & Dunn…the list literally goes on and on.  

“We can make our community and everyone that we touch that much better by humanizing mental health,” O’Connell said. “Anyone who has been touched by mental illness, everybody touched by loss, everybody that has felt the humanity of human life…it is not cool anymore to just be the person that holds it all in.”

“It is OK to reach out.”

Since the Oct. 1 shooting, O’Connell has made it a priority to help the victims and families of the tragedy in Las Vegas.

O’Connell said October 1 and the Route 91 music festival will never be defined about what happened in 2017. Instead, he said it will be defined by “what we do moving forward.”

“It will be defined when we come back to Route 91 and when we produce more shows and create more art and be human,” he said, finished his speech.

Jason Aldean, who was on stage when the Las Vegas shooting happened, talked about how O’Connell changed not only his life but so many others in the country music business. 

“Brian was always with us throughout our careers and helping us with touring,” he said. “None of us would be where we are without Brian O’Connell.”

The Onsite Foundation also helps victims of other mass tragedies as well as refugees, veterans, and first responders with their mental health. The funds raised during the Inspire event will aid in the healing and rebuilding of those who struggle from the effects of trauma, abuse, stress, and other mental health issues. 

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