NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Reuters) - Garth Brooks, the all-time best-selling star in country music, announced on Thursday he will headline a benefit concert December 17 for victims of Tennessee’s spring flooding.
The planned benefit at Bridgestone Arena will be the first time Brooks has performed in Nashville in more than a decade. He is semi-retired and lives in Oklahoma, performing occasional solo shows at a Las Vegas casino hotel under a five-year contract he signed a year ago.
“If you come to Las Vegas, you’ll see Garth and a guitar. But when you come to Nashville in December you will see the band you know, you will see the light rig that you know, you will see the stage you know, and, hopefully, you will see the best Garth Brooks show you’ve ever seen,” he said.
Proceeds from the $25-per-ticket benefit concert will go to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, which has been distributing aid to victims of the flooding.
The Cumberland River spilled over its banks into Nashville in early May, paralyzing the downtown area and devastating several neighborhoods. Other towns in the region were also hit by flooding that was blamed for 30 deaths in Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi.
Brooks made the concert announcement at the Capitol Building in Nashville joined by his wife, singer Trisha Yearwood and Tennessee politicians.
“You’re talking to a guy who is from here but saw it from outside. Now we’re proud to get to help. This benefit concert is about two citizens standing up with the rest of the citizens, following in the footsteps of a lot of artists who have already contributed to the relief effort,” Brooks said.
“To see on television places I know well under water was surreal,” Yearwood said of the disaster that flooded the Grand Ole Opry and other venues. “But then to see the community pitching in the way you did was amazing.”
Brooks is the best-selling solo musician in U.S. history, having sold more than 128 million albums in his 21-year career. He retired from touring in 2001.
He invited fellow performers to volunteer their talents.
“As you get older entertaining becomes tougher,” Brooks said. “So we’ll start making those calls now that the date has been announced to ask our fellow artists for help.”
Editing by Andrew Stern