2018 ACM Awards Artists Wearing Gold Pins to Honor Route 91 Victims
For many country artists, attending the 2018 ACM Awards will mark the first time they've returned to Las Vegas since the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in October. They'll honor the victims of that shooting with gold pins that they'll be wearing in remembrance of the tragedy.
58 people died, and an estimated 851 were injured when a lone gunman began firing into the crowd at during Jason Aldean's headlining set on the third and final night of the Route 91 festival on Oct. 1, 2017. The gunman was positioned to fire into the crowd from a hotel room overlooking the concert venue, and the mass shooting is by far the worst concert tragedy in the history of country music and one that sent shock waved through the industry and the entire nation.
As country artists gather again in Vegas for the awards ceremony on Sunday (April 15), they have decided to remember those victims with gold pins, as shared by several people on social media. There are three separate pins bearing the numbers 851, 58 and 1. 851 represents the total number of injured, 58 is the death toll from the shooting and 1 represents unity in the aftermath of the shooting.
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"... we can’t go back in time, but we can move forward with resilience. and the healing power of music is going to prove itself again and again," singer Jillian Jacqueline writes to accompany a photo of the 851 pin on Instagram. "Life is a precious thing that goes by all too fast...and when someone’s is taken from them too soon, I can only believe that it’s our responsibility to lift their memory up with love as much as we can," she adds, finishing with the hashtag #vegasstrong.
Publicist Megan Newton shared a shot of a card via Twitter, reading, "You are with us every single night in every single town. #FansFirst #VegasStrong."
Aldean is among the nominees and performers scheduled for the 2018 ACM Awards, and it marks his second time back in Vegas since the shooting.
"I think it will be a little bit of a different experience for me this year going back," he tells Taste of Country. "If we're going to go back, I think the ACMs are the place to go back and be, because you're surrounded by all your friends and artists — you feel like you have a support system there."
He's trying to focus on the better times he's had in Vegas, Aldean adds.
"I've also have had a lot of great times in Vegas. Some of the biggest moments of my career came there," he says. "My first award I ever won was there. For what happened in October, I've also experienced a lot of really high points of my career out there, too, so I don't have all bad memories of Las Vegas."
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