Country performers The Josh Abbott Band and Michael Ray, both of whom performed during the recent Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas, plan on performing at the Heart O' Texas Fair and Rodeo later this month.
A gunman killed 59 people and injured more than 500 others Sunday night, firing on a festival crowd assembled to hear country star Jason Aldean. Abbott and his band has just finished their set earlier that evening and, in fact, some of Abbott's band and crew members were on the festival grounds when the shooter Stephen Paddock began. Ray and his band performed Friday at the fest.
Neither band has cancelled its HOT Fair dates — this Saturday for Abbott, Oct. 13 for Ray — said Charva Ingram, HOT Fair vice president for marketing and sponsorship development. Country star Jason Aldean, who was performing when the shooting began, cancelled his concerts this weekend "out of respect for the victims, their families and our fans," he said in a statement.
A spokesman for Abbott said Tuesday that neither Abbott nor members of his band would do interviews about their experience at the Las Vegas shooting. Caleb Keeter, Abbott's lead guitarist, had posted on Twitter Monday morning how the event had changed his views from being a longtime Second Amendment advocate to someone thinking some measure of gun control is needed.
Both Keeter's and Abbott's postings noted that some of their crew members were hit by shrapnel from the shooting.
Abbott's Facebook posting on the incident sticks to the emotions of the event:
"We are deeply disturbed by this horrific act of violence and send our thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families. It was a long awful night but we are blessed to be alive and healthy. Hug your loved ones tight."
In the aftermath of several weeks of hurricanes, flooding and a mass shooting, it seems like that last line is a country song refrain waiting for verses to be written.