Country music stars to stage tornado fundraiser
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Country music stars Hank Williams Jr., Keith Urban, Tim McGraw and the band Lady Antebellum are to hold a concert to raise funds for victims of storms and tornadoes that struck Alabama and nearby states, organizers said on Thursday.
Country Music Television, which will air the live special next week, and organizers said they felt the devastation was overshadowed by media coverage of the British royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, and news that a U.S. strike team killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.
"The other seismic news events of the past few days have had the unintended effect of limiting media coverage of this massive, historic American disaster," CMT President Brian Philips said in a statement.
"Simply put, CMT and our artists will not allow this to happen. We will raise money, and we will shine the brightest possible light on the urgent needs of our courageous neighbors," he said.
CMT will air the benefit concert live from Nashville, Tennessee, on May 12. All money raised will benefit American Red Cross disaster relief efforts.
About 350 people were killed last week by tornadoes and flooding in the southern United States. More than 230 people died in Alabama alone.
Williams, the 61 year-old son of late country music legend Hank Williams, took the first steps to organizing the benefit concert when he reached out to CMT executives.
"Alabama is home -- I am really pumped about helping," Williams said in a statement.
The 90-minute concert will also feature Ronnie Dunn, formerly of the duo Brooks & Dunn, singer Sara Evans, the band Alabama and others.
The storms are estimated to have destroyed or damaged more than 13,000 homes across six U.S. states, according to the American Red Cross.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Jill Serjeant)
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