Garth Brooks overwhelmed by demand for Nashville shows

Thu Dec 16, 2010 6:37pm EST
 
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By Vernell Hackett

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Reuters) - Garth Brooks's offer to perform a benefit concert for Tennessee flood victims has become nine sold-out concerts beginning on Thursday night, and the music star said he was overwhelmed by the response.

Brooks, the all-time best-selling star in country music, will raise at least $4 million for the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee for the nine concerts over six days.

Merchandise sales could raise another $1 million.

Brooks announced in October that he would do one show in Nashville to benefit the foundation. When tickets went on sale November 3, he sold out nine shows in four hours.

"We just said we'll sell tickets as long as we have people wanting them," Brooks said at a preconcert news conference on Thursday.

"I'm very proud to be a part of this. You say things, not knowing what will really happen. Nashville is one of the hardest markets to sell concert tickets. I can't tell you how big this whole thing has gotten and how lucky I feel to be a part of it," he said.

Federal authorities have received 67,760 claims for individual assistance from people across central Tennessee after the devastating flooding last May. Much of downtown Nashville was under water, as was as the nearby Opryland complex and homes and businesses in the surrounding area.

Many families are still displaced while waiting for their homes to be rebuilt or while they seek new housing.   Continued...