Country music festival turns into the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history

Fans should not fear concerts after Las Vegas shooting

More stories from Brittany Farr



Fifty-nine people died and 527 were injured after a man fired gunshots from 32 floors up in a hotel near the Harvest Festival.

The world watched on social media as the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history unfolded in the Las Vegas strip on Sunday. The three-day country music festival “Route 91 Harvest Festival” ended with the deaths of 59 concert-goers and over 500 injured as of October 3.

According to CBS News, Stephen Paddock, the 64-year-old gunman from Nevada, was found with 23 guns on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Hotel after taking fire on country singer Jason Aldean’s headlining set.

Thousands of fans ran for their lives when shots were fired in the middle of Aldean’s song. Fans fell to the ground while others tried to hop fences and find refuge behind concession stands.

“He (Aldean) sang about five songs and all of a sudden we heard about three or four little pop, pop, pops and everyone looked around and said ‘Oh, it’s just firecrackers,’” said Gail Davis, a fan who witnessed the chaos firsthand. “I looked over to my right where a girl had been standing right beside me and she had fallen.”

The New York Times reported artists’ reactions at the festival, including country music star Jake Owen, who had performed on stage before Jason Aldean.

“It’s like shooting fish in a barrel from where he was,” said Owen. “I was running for my life like everyone else.”

The fear of a terrorist attack hit the media immediately. Although ISIS claimed Paddock had been working for them, U.S. officials have found no signs he had any tie to the terrorist group. As of today, their belief is Paddock acted on his own. A motive has not yet been made clear.

What does this mean for future shows?

With Manchester’s arena bombing at an Ariana Grande concert last May still on the minds of many, it’s justifiable some fans are experiencing feelings of anger, sadness and fear.

However, as a country, we cannot let this keep us from attending live shows.

What happened in Las Vegas is unquestionably going to have an influence on future protection procedures for both venues and hotels in the coming months and years, but it shouldn’t discourage fans from seeing their favorite artists.

Artists took to Twitter to release their statements and show love and support to their fans.

Brothers Osborne released a statement on their social media accounts, urging fans to continue going to shows, reminding them of the “pure happiness” that flowed through the Route 91 crowd they had played for the night before.

“I know it might be hard but don’t lose those feelings,” the band wrote. “Those emotions are sacred. Don’t let a deranged coward take that from you.”

We have to remember music is powerful and brings people together.

“One evil or broken human shouldn’t ruin the idea that we should go and gather in public,” Bobby Bones, country music radio personality, said. The human part of me understands why you might go, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t do that.’”

Bones left listeners with a message:

“Go to live music.”