Luke Combs on Route 91 Harvest Festival Shooting: ‘We Need to Be Strong’
Luke Combs performed at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on Sunday (Oct. 1), mere hours before Stephen Paddock began his deadly rampage. The singer, who was hanging out with Jake Owen on Owen's tour bus, recalls that the two men had just decided to head out to watch Jason Aldean's set, the final performance of the night, and were backstage when the shooting began.
"We were actually onstage when it happened,” Combs tells Today (quote via CMT). “We heard the first four shots ring out, and doing music for a living — you deal with pyrotechnics a lot onstage. And so nobody onstage really even batted an eye. It just seemed like it was part of the show."
Combs continues, "Nobody onstage was concerned, and so at that point we were just standing there. And then the first burst happened.”
Combs tweeted “Active shooter at @Route91Harvest in Vegas. We’re safe. Love you guys" while listening to the gunfire. He says that no one realized what was really happening at first, because the sound was different than typical gunfire.
Country Stars Respond Following Route 91 Harvest Festival Shooting
“It was a few minutes after that when pandemonium set in, and the bursts kept happening,” he recalls. “Originally everyone was panicking, but me and my manager were pretty calm. I’ve been around firearms, and it didn’t sound like gunfire to me. Then I was in the catering tent with a fan who had kind of wandered back, and we were both talking about how it wasn’t gunfire. But then we heard the next burst, and it sounded like maybe [the gunman] had put a weapon out of the window, which would completely change the sound."
Combs, who begins his headlining Don't Tempt Me With a Good Time Tour on Tuesday night (Oct. 3), is determined to not let the shooting -- which killed more than 50 people and injured more than 500 people -- make him live in fear.
“I don’t want to be scared, or put any shows of mine on hold, because I feel like that’s what this person wants to happen," says Combs. "He wants everybody to be scared and be afraid. And obviously we need to be strong in times like this, and there’s a place for us to be sad and grieve together and help each other out.
“But at the same time,” he concludes, “we need to be able to move forward and not let something like this affect our daily lives. Even though it’s ruined a lot of people’s lives.”
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting victims and their families.
Remembering the Route 91 Harvest Festival Shooting Victims