As predicted, Garth Brooks will perform a major concert in Nashville to benefit victims of the May flood in Middle Tennessee. In fact, it might turn into a bundle of shows, depending on demand.
Garth will play the Bridgestone Arena Dec. 17 with Trisha Yearwood, with every dime of every $25 ticket earmarked for flood relief. Not only is he performing for free, he booked the venue at no charge, and every person taking part in the production is working for no pay.
And it’s not a stripped-down version of Garth’s show. It’s a return to the same full-blown production he last presented at the arena in 1998.
“If you come to Vegas, you’ll see Garth Brooks with a guitar,” he said. “When you come to Nashville this Christmas, you’re gonna see the band that you know, you’ll see the light rig that you know and you’re gonna see the stage that you know.”
You might also see some special guests, though he’s not promising anyone specific. Any additional performers will be show-time surprises or will be announced after tickets are sold “so nobody’s paying for something that they don’t get,” Garth said.
Garth has frequently announced one concert in a market, only to have the number of shows balloon once tickets went on sale. If he turns the December date into a multi-concert run, the additional shows will have to fit in around the Nashville Predators hockey schedule. The NHL team plays the San Jose Sharks Dec. 15, the Los Angeles Kings Dec. 18 and the Ottawa Senators Dec. 23. That means he could book the arena for one night Dec. 16 and for four more days, Dec. 19-22. Of course, Garth also played a whopping five shows in a mere two days at the Staples Center in L.A. in January 2008.
Ultimately, Garth vows to do every show he can manage to work in. Every potential ticket sold represents money that can help families that are still putting their lives back together in the aftermath of Tennessee’s floods, and he does not want to leave any charity bucks uncollected.
The press conference, held at the Tennessee Capitol Building, was attended by Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean along with both Volunteer State senators and two congressional representatives.
Garth and Trisha live in Oklahoma, but both have resided in Nashville before, and when they saw coverage of the floods on television, they started working in May to arrange the December show(s).
There were other flood-relief events in the meantime, including a local telethon in Nashville headed by Vince Gill just days after the waters rushed over the banks of the Cumberland River and Mill Creek. Brad Paisley, Keith Urban and Dierks Bentley were among the acts that took part in GAC’s Music City Keep On Playin’ — A Benefit For Flood Relief in May. Nashville Rising, a June concert organized by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, brought in more money. And the Country Music Association donated half the earnings from the CMA Music Festival to flood charities.
Garth and Trisha decided it would be best to hold their show later in the year when attention on the disaster had dwindled. Many victims are still piecing their homes and their lives back together. Some were unable to get aid because of loopholes in programs, and still others who weathered the storm well initially are now enduring post-traumatic stress.
Garth and Trisha “have been to places like to New Orleans after [Hurricane] Katrina two years later and seen that things are still — and still now, five years later — still need to be rebuilt,” Trisha said. “It doesn’t go away. So I think the main focus for us was to still be here.”
Details on ticketing will be announced Nov. 3.