The 2018 Academy of Country Music Awards brought country music stars and fans from all over to Las Vegas on Sunday, April 15th. The awards show aired just over 6 months after the devastating tragedy that occurred in the very same spot at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in October of 2017, where 851 people were injured and 58 people were killed in a horrific mass shooting. Musicians all united to remember the victims and stand together by wearing “851,” “58,” and “1,” gold pins, and sharing the hashtags, #FansFirst and #VegasStrong.
Country stars Jason Aldean, Thomas Rhett, Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan, and Maren Morris were the first to take the stage at the ACM’s, where they stood together to honor the victims, and remind all viewers that the music would always unite them.
“Tonight, we wanted to open the show with something that sums up what it’s like for our country music family to be back in Las Vegas for the first time since October 1,” Jason Aldean began. “We thought about starting with a song, but it’s a lot bigger than a single song. It’s everything you’ll hear tonight: The songs that bring us to our feet, make you want to pull someone close or just live in the moment. Nothing can take that away from us.”
Thomas Rhett, Hayley Hubbard, Karen Fairchild, and many more artists and attendees posted their dedications on social media. “You are with us not only tonight in Las Vegas as we come together, but every single night in every single town,” Thomas Rhett shared. “Tyler and I had an impromptu moment of silence the moment we stepped in our room and saw the eerie empty parking lot right outside our window,” Hayley Hubbard wrote. “We prayed for everyone that had to endure the horror of that awful night, for our children and their children- that they never have to experience anything like this in their lifetime, and that there is resolution soon.” “Sleeves” singer Jake Rose also shared photos of beautiful memorial tattoos from survivors of the shooting with angel wings and the words “Vegas Strong.”
We are thankful to get to be a part of country music. We are thankful we get to live in a country where our voices can be heard. We are hopeful that together we can create a better world for our children. To the many still living with injuries and trauma from that night in Las Vegas, we want to do everything we can to continue to support you-and today we honor you by wearing the number 851. To the fans, road families and family members of those who lost someone-we wear this number today-58-to let you know one thing: we have not forgotten you. We have not forgotten your names. Carrie, Nicol, Steve, Andrea, Denise, Sandy, Chris, so many lost, and so many loved ones still mourning. You are with us not only tonight in Las Vegas as we come together, but every single night in every single town. We love you all, Thomas Rhett and Lauren #fansfirst #vegasstrong
My heart weeps as I look down and am reminded of all of the 58 lives that were lost, the 851 that were injured, 22,000 people that endured a night of terror right here, and all of the families that are affected by this tragedy. Tyler and I had an impromptu moment of silence the moment we stepped in our room and saw the eerie empty parking lot right outside our window. We prayed for everyone that had to endure the horror of that awful night, for our children and their children- that they never have to experience anything like this in their lifetime, and that there is resolution soon. We wear these pins tonight at @acmawards to tell the world we have not forgotten you. We have not forgotten your names. Carrie, Nicol, Steve, Andrea, Denise, Sandy, Chris – 58 souls lost that night. We continue to keep all the families who lost someone, all 851 fans who were injured and 22,000 fans who were there in our hearts. They are with us every single night in every single town. The fans in Las Vegas last October were ALL of our fans. Many are still dealing with injuries and trauma from that night and we want to do everything we can to support them #FANSFIRST #VEGASSTRONG 🙏🏻
It’s why they’re there, why we wear, our hearts on our Sleeves. Like a prayer, our hearts on our Sleeves. Such a powerful feeling seeing these fans yesterday out seeing shows again, celebrating the country community and family we all love. Driving by the @route91harvest site brought back the memory and eery feeling of the tragedy that was not long ago. I’m so amazed by the resilience of the country community, the fans, the artists, the police officers, first responders, concert workers, everyone involved. Today we remember the #851 injured and the #58 we lost and will never forget. #VegasStrong #Route91HarvestFestival #HeartsOnOurSleeves #FansFirst #Family