If you transport the entire country community to Sin City for a weekend — as the Academy of Country Music has done for the past 15 years — you get a party of epic proportions.
But this year, the celebration around the 53rd ACM Awards is tempered, as Music City grapples with returning to Las Vegas for the first time, after the largest mass shooting in modern American history. The violence broke out while reigning ACM Entertainer of the Year Jason Aldean was onstage at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.
Vocal Duo of the Year Brothers Osborne played the same venue just two days earlier.
“This will be Nashville/country music’s first reunion post-Route-91-Festival-shooting,” John Osborne tells ABC Radio. “And I think it’s good. I think that it will be a very big healing process for everybody: for the town, for the community.”
“It’s something that we need to keep talking about,” John continues, “because these things take a long time to get over. I think it’s good that the two towns are being reacquainted in a positive way. And I’m looking forward to it, to reinstating that bond that these two cities have.”
While having the utmost respect for the victims, both John and TJ Osborne agree: the show — and the celebration — must go on, partially as the ultimate sign of defiance.
“There will be partying, yeah,” John says.
“Yeah, I mean that’s the thing,” TJ continues. “It’s to have a good time, and you know, you want to always remember and never forget the victims.”
“But at the same time, you know, you do want to heal and try to move on, and not let someone with so much hate just affect our lives. You just can’t let those people win.”