Nashville, one of the biggest music cities in the United States, has been dealt two heavy hands in the last couple weeks: devastating tornadoes and a viral outbreak affecting their robust live music scene.
Tragedy struck west and central Tennessee on March 3 when severe storms and tornadoes slammed through the city. Before dawn on that Tuesday, East Nashville and surrounding counties saw massive devastation of several buildings and communities. The unpredictable weather and its effects took at least twenty-five lives, injured hundreds more, and left tens of thousands without power according to USAToday. Among the destruction of communities state-wide was the loss of the beloved music venue The Basement East, a location that always brought music lovers together. Though the wreckage to the venue was severe, the iconic “I Believe In Nashville” mural painted on the side wall stood strong, showing the city’s resilience and willingness to recover from the tragedy. The sign of hope exemplifies the unity of the community in helping the city recover.
While still recovering from the tornado earlier this month, Nashville is unfortunately experiencing another hurtle: COVID-19. Many country stars and Nashville-natives had to cancel tours and local shows – a devastating outcome to a city that is known for their live music community. As soon as Nashville venues were reopened following the tornadoes, they closed soon after in prevention of COVID-19 spreading. What’s known across the United States as Music City is hurting, but that doesn’t mean musicians and music fans can’t help.
Artists and the Music Industry Do Their Part
Nashville is the center of country music, a hotspot for rock and roll lovers, and a safe haven for music lovers everywhere. One of the most plentiful resources Nashville possesses is the vast pool of talented musicians from or currently living and working out of the city. Before prevention measures for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) became more severe, musicians were able to turn many of their shows into benefit concerts, joining forces to hold fundraising events, and getting boots on the ground to help their community.
Record labels Thirty Tigers and Thirdman Records posted fundraising and volunteer opportunities online, urging fans and aspiring musicians to donate and help in any way they can. Gibson Guitars has pledged to donate guitars to musicians affected by the tornados’ damage, urging Nashville’s talent to carry on.
A group of industry professionals created an all-star benefit concert, To Nashville, With Love, to raise vital funds after the tornadoes struck. Jason Isbell and Soccer Mommy played the To Nashville, With Love benefit concert on March 9 at Marathon Music Works. Alongside them were Brothers Osborne, Old Crow Medicine Show, and Brandi Carlile among many more talented artists. The benefit concert ended up raising over $500k in relief funds!
Smaller scale local events also raised money for tornado relief, including Mitchell Tenpenny & Friends at Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row, All Hands on Deck! Tornado Relief Show at City Winery Nashville, among many more. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, several benefit concerts had to be postponed, such as Thee Rock N’ Roll Residency: A Benefit for Nashville’s Tornado Victims at Mercy Lounge.
Other artists with strong ties to Nashville like Dan + Shay, Taylor Swift, and Justin Timberlake have donated millions of dollars in funds to charities like The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee’s Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund as well as spreading awareness of the charities’ efforts to their fans. AEG Presents, Sandbox Entertainment, CAA and Bridgestone Arena also donated a portion of the proceeds of both Dan + Shay concerts at Bridgestone Arena to The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.
The love and compassion that was shown in the music industry for everyone affected in Nashville has proven that we all believe in Nashville because Nashville believed in us.
What You Can Do
Nashville needs us all to join forces and help rebuild Music City. Whether in the city or 3,000 miles away, you can do your part to aid the community and its citizens. Since the storms and tornadoes rummaged through the city, iconic buildings, community centers, and countless homes have been destroyed and need cleaning and rebuilding. With the COVID-19 outbreak, live music is hurting more than ever as government officials are emphasizing social distancing and requiring citizens to avoid large gatherings. Many venues are closed through at least the end of March if not longer, which greatly hurts those working in the live music scene. If you’re looking for resources to help artists and the music industry at this time, check out our blog post regarding COVID-19.
If you are able to help efforts in Nashville in their time of need, here are some organizations you can contribute to:
The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee’s Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund
NASHVILLE MUSIC VENUES:
FOOD AND GOODS:
OTHER RELIEF EFFORTS:
Music has bonded us all through the highs and lows of our lives. Nashville needs us today, and together we can make a difference for Music City.