Country-music fans came out in full force to attend a country music concert where all the proceeds would benefit the OneOrlando Fund, a charity set established to aid the victims of the Pulse shooting and their families.
As the CFE Arena filled with women wearing cowboy boots and men wearing cowboy hats, the words Orlando Strong were illuminated above a stage adorned with colors of the rainbow. Several members of the audience were wearing shirts that said #OrlandoUnited.
Tickets to the show were $20, and the cost of parking was $10. The price of the ticket and the parking fee with both be donated to the OneOrlando Fund.
The OneOrlando Fund was created by the City of Orlando.
“The purpose of the fund is to provide a way to help respond to the needs of our community, now and in the time to come,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said.
The event was presented by Cox Media Group’s Orlando’s K92.3FM, WFTV Channel 9 and WRDQ-TV27.
Excitement filled the air as people filed one-by-one into the arena. Colorful beach balls were thrown out into the crowd. Knightro made an appearance, followed by a speech from Orange County mayor Teresa Jacobs.
Julian Bowman, the marketing director for the CFE Arena, said the show was a hit the moment it was announced. It sold out in about 36 hours, and Bowman estimated that there was close to 8,000 people in attendance.
Some of country music’s biggest stars came out to sing and share their music. The first group to take the stage was the duo Maddie and Tae. After singing two songs, Madison “Maddie” Marlow spoke to the crowd and said that she was proud to live in a country that responds with love when faced with hate.
Several heavy-hitters in the country music scene also performed, including Tyler Farr, Jerrod Niemann, Canaan Smith, Michael Ray, Billy Currington, Easton Corbin, Parmalee and Cole Swindell.
It was perhaps Tyler Farr who best summed up the event.
After performing a song, he shouted, “I love America,” to the crowd. The crowd met him with cheers and applause under the rainbow lights.
Jillian James is a digital producer for the Central Florida Future. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org