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.”