Monday morning, the Nashville community was stunned as the country woke up to the horrific news that at least 50 had been killed at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas — the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. The shooting started during the final act of the three-day country music festival, when singer Jason Aldean was several songs into his set.
Bobby Bones, the Nashville-based host of the largest syndicated country morning radio show, spent his hours on air talking about the tragedy, providing news updates. He read text messages out loud from artists and backstage crew members who had seen the shooting. “I don’t even know how to handle this right now,” said Bones, who played the festival Saturday evening with his band, the Raging Idiots. “I’m struggling to process this.”
Bones talked with singer Jake Owen, who performed before Aldean and was backstage when he thought he heard pyrotechnics and then realized it was the sound of bullets.
“We as artists, it’s our obligation. We put on a show so people can have fun and forget about some of the day-to-day life things,” Owen said, as he described seeing kids sitting on their parents’ shoulders during the concert. He said that, going forward, the artists and fans will “not be scared of these cowards that do this . . . we will prevail, that’s what we do as Americans.”
Bones talked about the tightknit Nashville country music community and how the tragedy hit so close to home, especially thinking about all the people in the Las Vegas audience. “I think for all of us in this room, and I think for all of us in Nashville and the country community, we’re all sitting here going, one, this is really terrible that it happened because our fans are the biggest, the No. 1 priority to us,” he said. “So we worry about our fans first.”
Throughout Monday morning, dozens of country stars mourned the tragedy, including many who had performed at the festival:
Tonight has been beyond horrific. I still dont 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
This is a photo from just a short few hours ago. I wanted to post a photo of what this festival was supposed to be about and not give this horrible person the recognition he so desperately wanted. I am incredibly saddened by tonight's events and while I'm thankful that me and all of my band and crew are alive and unharmed, I can't help but hurt for all the people who weren't as fortunate and the pain their loved ones must feel. Keep Vegas, these fans, and all of the country music community in your thoughts and prayers, we could sure use it tonight. Thank you.
Praying for everyone here in Vegas. I witnessed the most unimaginable event tonight. We are okay. Others arent. Please pray.
— Jake Owen (@jakeowen) October 2, 2017
I'm not gonna say anything else other than I'm lucky to be alive. As are many others… and so many people are gone… this is heartbreaking
— ChrisYoungMusic (@ChrisYoungMusic) October 2, 2017
I won't be sleeping tonight. Instead I am going to pray and pray and pray for the people in Vegas.
— Lauren Alaina (@Lauren_Alaina) October 2, 2017
P R A Y // F O R // V E G A S • My heart and prayers go out to everyone that has been affected by the tragic events that occurred in Vegas. pic.twitter.com/QKGy30JJnl
— Brett Young (@BrettYoungMusic) October 2, 2017
Praying for everyone in Vegas. We were there last night and many of our friends are still there. Praying for you all.
— LANCO (@LancoMusic) October 2, 2017
— Brothers Osborne (@brothersosborne) October 2, 2017
— HIGH VALLEY (@HIGHVALLEY) October 2, 2017
Thank you for the many txts & messages. I'm home safe from #Vegas. Praying for the many friends & fans that were there.
— Kelleigh Bannen (@kelleighbannen) October 2, 2017
My heart is breaking we were just there Friday! My prayers are with everyone @Route91Harvest
— Michael Ray (@Michaelraymusic) October 2, 2017
Hearts out to Vegas. Route 91 concert, stage I played two nights ago. Musicians, fans, workers, you are all in our prayers right now..
— Lee Brice (@leebrice) October 2, 2017
So thankful my crew and I made it out of @Route91Harvest b4 everything went down. This makes me so sad. I really can't even comprehend it.
— Jackie Lee (@JackieLeeMusic) October 2, 2017
We are ok. But our fans and friends are not. This is the worst of humanity at work. Praying for the victims in Vegas tonight.
— John Rich (@johnrich) October 2, 2017
This world is sick
— Kane Brown (@kanebrown) October 2, 2017
Really no words. Will never understand how people can do these things. Keep these people in your prayers… #vegas
— Tyler Reeve (@tylerreeve) October 2, 2017
Prayers to everyone at @Route91Harvest in Las Vegas. We are ok, had literally just left for the airport. What is wrong with this world!!
— Dylan Scott (@DylanScottCntry) October 2, 2017
Active shooter at Route 91 in Las Vegas. Us and the band are safe currently. Pray
— Muscadine Bloodline (@MuscadineBLine) October 2, 2017
Active shooter by us in Vegas. Say some prayers
— Josh Abbott (@joshabbottband) October 2, 2017
Those who weren’t in Vegas also weighed in from Nashville and around the world:
There are no words to express the helplessness and sorrow my broken heart feels for the victims in Vegas and their families.
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) October 2, 2017
Words can't begin explain my sadness. My family and I are praying for the victims of this tragedy. Truly heartbroken.
— Luke Bryan (@LukeBryanOnline) October 2, 2017
Woke up to such horrible news. We are praying for the victims and their families. May the Lord bring some comfort to them.
— Carrie Underwood (@carrieunderwood) October 2, 2017
Watching this horrific news from Las Vegas and Route 91 Festival. We played this festival last year. Praying for everyone's safety.
— Martina McBride (@martinamcbride) October 2, 2017
My deepest sympathies and prayers to anyone has been affected by the Vegas shooting last night. I don't even know anymore… Why?
— Blake Shelton (@blakeshelton) October 2, 2017
Stilled and speechless… Our hearts and prayers are with everyone involved and affected. – KU
— Keith Urban (@KeithUrban) October 2, 2017
My heart is sick over the news in Las Vegas. Praying 4 everyone in the country community & everyone at the scene.
— Charles Kelley (@charleskelleyla) October 2, 2017
One year ago we played Route 91 on Sunday night. Our prayers are with all the first responders, artists, crew and mostly the country fans. pic.twitter.com/CTGg7Qm6MJ
— Little Big Town (@littlebigtown) October 2, 2017
Heartbroken over the news of Vegas. My thoughts with all the innocent victims and their families x
— Shania Twain (@ShaniaTwain) October 2, 2017
No words..wish it was a bad dream. So heartbreaking waking up to this news. Prayers for everyone involved in the Las Vegas shooting.
— Cole Swindell (@coleswindell) October 2, 2017
JUST HEARING ABOUT VEGAS. Noooooooo Heartbroken for Vegas + the country community. Numbingly terrifying. Wtf.
— K A C E Y (@KaceyMusgraves) October 2, 2017
Feeling absolutely helpless watching the Vegas situation unfold via social media. Fans, friends, artists, crews, everybody, please be safe. This is so scary.
— Dan + Shay (@DanAndShay) October 2, 2017
I'm sickened. Praying for all. In London and just heard what happened to our friends in Las Vegas.
— Randy Houser (@RandyHouser) October 2, 2017
Just sad. And so sorry for the fans who came to sing and dance and be free and happy. thinking of everyone there & my friend @Jason_Aldean.
— Kelsea Ballerini (@KelseaBallerini) October 2, 2017
Praying for everyone at #HarvestFestival. There are no words right now that suffice.
— Brad Paisley (@BradPaisley) October 2, 2017
— Rodney Atkins (@RodneyAtkins) October 2, 2017
My heart goes out to all of our friends, jasonaldean, our music family and fans in Las Vegas.… https://t.co/Q1iInOWG8Q
— Reba (@reba) October 2, 2017
Disbelief at the senseless violence last night in Las Vegas @Route91Harvest .
— The Cadillac Three (@thecadillac3) October 2, 2017
I don't even know what to say. Wow. Thoughts and prayers with all involved. So awful
— Justin Moore (@JustinColeMoore) October 2, 2017
My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by the tragedy in Vegas
— Craig Morgan (@cmorganmusic) October 2, 2017
Balling. Broken. In shock of the shooting at @Route91Harvest. I was JUST there & it was just people coming together for music. Praying
— Natalie Stovall (@NatalieStovall) October 2, 2017
Absolutely crushed to wake up to such horrible news. Thoughts and prayers to everyone in Las Vegas.
— A Thousand Horses (@athousandhorses) October 2, 2017
I can't believe this.. I'm sick to my stomach.
I don't even know what to say..My thoughts/prayers and heart is with everyone in Vegas. https://t.co/ZL53nkDWIA
— Chuck Wicks (@chuckwicksmusic) October 2, 2017
I’m shook. I don’t know how to comprehend this. My heart hurts. I’m so sad for fans & my friends. Music is supposed to bring us together.
— Lindsay Ell (@lindsayell) October 2, 2017
Beyond difficult to control my emotions this morning. This is just so tragic, and so close to home, and will forever change so many!
— David Nail (@davidnail) October 2, 2017
Can't believe what I'm seeing this morning out of Vegas. Music should be a peaceful escape. Thoughts and prayers to everyone affected.
— Greg Bates (@gregcbates) October 2, 2017
Prayers going out to everyone in Vegas!!
— Chris Lane (@iamchrislane) October 2, 2017
Woke up in London and heartbroken by the news in #LasVegas. Thoughts and prayers to all involved and their families. Still in shock
— Eric Paslay (@ericpaslay) October 2, 2017
Another night meant for unity & music destroyed by pure evil. ❤️is w those affected including my friends who played the festival. #LasVegas
— Cassadee Pope (@CassadeePope) October 2, 2017
Can’t believe this really happened…God have mercy! So horrific
— Canaan Smith (@canaansmith) October 2, 2017