'Devastated for Las Vegas:' Musicians mourn deadly country festival shooting
'I've never been scared before to do my job. And this is scary. This is definitely scary stuff'
The music community is in mourning after a gunman killed at least 59 people and injured more than 500 at a popular country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip.
Country star Jason Aldean was partway through his Sunday night headlining set at the Route 91 Harvest festival when the rapid gunfire started, coming from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel across the street.
He kept playing when the shots started before fleeing the stage, guitar in hand.
Insane.... this JUST happened. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PrayForVegas?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PrayForVegas</a> <a href="https://t.co/RWgjFW7BHy">pic.twitter.com/RWgjFW7BHy</a>—@LukeBroadlick
He later posted on Instagram, telling his followers that he and his crew were safe and sending his "thoughts and prayers" to the victims.
"Tonight has been beyond horrific," he wrote. "It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night."
Several other country acts who played at the festival shared their thoughts too. Jake Owen, who played the main stage just before Aldean, gave more detail than most.
"Gunshots were ringing off of the stage rigging and road cases," he wrote on Twitter. "No one knew where to go."
Praying for everyone here in Vegas. I witnessed the most unimaginable event tonight. We are okay. Others arent. Please pray.—@jakeowen
Owen told CNN he hopped fences to flee the festival and said the shooting went on for at least 10 minutes.
"We don't ever step on stage and think to ourselves something like this is going to happen."
Singer-songwriter Maren Morris, who performed Saturday night, said she was "in shock over this unfair, senseless tragedy." Albertan Brad Rempel played Friday with his band High Valley and told CBC Radio's q he was hanging out at the Mandalay Bay earlier in the weekend.
"I'll be honest, I've never been scared before to do my job. And this is scary. This is definitely scary stuff."
Pray for Vegas
The shooting sent ripples around the tight-knit country music scene, with some musicians worrying about what it meant for their community going forward.
"Such a disgusting and appalling shame that fear of something like what happened tonight in Vegas now has so much effect on me and all of us when we're up there doing our jobs, speaking something as innocent as the joy of music," country star Kacey Musgraves posted on Twitter early Monday.
Reba McIntyre, Carrie Underwood and Thomas Rhett offered their prayers to the shooting victims and their families and all mentioned God.
Woke up to such horrible news. We are praying for the victims and their families. May the Lord bring some comfort to them.—@carrieunderwood
Pop star Ariana Grande reacted too; she was in a similar situation last May when a bomb went off in the front of the arena she had just played in Manchester, killing more than 20 people.
Her response to the Las Vegas shooting was blunt and political — calling for gun control and labelling the shooting "terrorism."
My heart is breaking for Las Vegas. We need love, unity, peace, gun control & for people to look at this & call this what it is = terrorism.—@ArianaGrande
Thoughts from Celine Dion, Cirque
For Las Vegas musicians, the shooting was personal.
Rock band Imagine Dragons are from the city and posted a brief tweet when the news was first breaking, telling fans they were "devastated for Las Vegas" and to take cover if they were in the area.
They followed it up with some thoughts Monday afternoon, writing that the shootings were "senseless" and calling for "an abundance of love."
holding on to these girls a little tighter today. <a href="https://t.co/rdxqlasvtF">pic.twitter.com/rdxqlasvtF</a>—@DanReynolds
Singers Celine Dion, Donny Osmond and Wayne Newton, who has been nicknamed "Mr. Las Vegas," offered up prayers and heartbreak on Twitter for their adopted hometown.
All have lived and performed extensive residencies in the city — which Osmond called his "home away from home."
And Quebec's Cirque du Soleil weighed in too.
The troupe runs seven shows in Las Vegas, along with Blue Man Group, and said all of the theatres with shows running Sunday night were locked down post-shooting. All Monday performances were cancelled.
"Our deepest thoughts and sympathies are with the victims, their loved ones and all the people of Las Vegas," the troupe said in a statement.
Live Nation, the festival's promoter, said in a statement that this was a moment to "come together to prevent more tragedies like this from occurring."
"To think that anyone would want to inflict harm on a gathering of music lovers is beyond our comprehension."