NASHVILLE George Strait, Alan Jackson, Martina McBride and Brooks & Dunn are the first artists to agree to play a mammoth benefit concert in Nashville. The Country Freedom Concert, scheduled for the 20,000-seat Gaylord Entertainment Center on October 21, will devote all proceeds to relief efforts nationwide by the Salvation Army. Many more artists are expected to join the bill. Ticket prices and availability will be announced soon.
CMT, which is organizing the event in conjunction with Clear Channel Entertainment, said the event and the Salvation Army were chosen to funnel efforts to relief programs underway across the country. "With every passing day since September 11," said CMT senior vice president/general manager Brian Philips, "the ripple effect from these tragedies is spreading across the country jobs and the economy nationwide are hurting. This will be a rough Christmas for a lot of people."
Philips said many artists and organizations in Nashville and in the country music community had been planning different events in an attempt to help, so it became logical to pool resources and energies. "This has been a true community effort," he said, "beginning with Nashville mayor Bill Purcell and across the board, everyone's pulling together."
The event will be broadcast live on CMT and CMT Canada from 8-10 p.m. ET/PT. Westwood One will provide the concert's audio feed to radio stations worldwide. Toll-free phone lines and Web sites will take viewer and listener contributions.
Philips said the Nashville mayor's office will work with New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani's office to extend invitations to a number of New York rescue and relief workers to come to Nashville for the event. "And," Philips said, "they'll be invited to stay for a country comfort weekend. They will be Nashville's honored guests."
MTVi's parent company, Viacom, also owns CMT.