Zac Brown Band held an outdoor concert in Raleigh, less than a week after the Las Vegas concert massacre. Did anyone show up?
“I was a little apprehensive about going to the concert so soon after the shooting but I love the band and still wanted to go,” said Margaret Horsley, a sophomore, who attended the concert Friday night.
Many students enjoyed the outdoor Zac Brown Band Welcome Home concert tour this weekend as a fun getaway before the stress of midterms kicked in. Students had mixed reviews regarding the status of their safety in the wake of the previous event that occurred in Las Vegas. Despite these worries, many students still decided to attend the event.
On Sunday Oct. 1, Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of fans attending the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas. He killed 58 people and injured approximately 490, the largest mass shooting committed by an individual in American history. The shots were fired from his suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel on the Las Vegs Strip.
This mass murder follows the tragic history of modern-day America. According to CNN, 17 of the 30 deadliest mass shootings in the country have occurred in the past 10 years. In the past two years, many of these shootings involved music events. In the aftermath of this specific shooting, there was talk about how to improve safety in public places and at such events. Concert strategists have looked into how to fix and tighten security problems at concerts, particularly those outdoor. However, no conclusion on this topic has been reached.
The Wake Forest students all seemed to agree that they do not want to let these events influence their everyday lives, including attending concerts.
“I don’t think we should alter our reality to one instance or something that one person did,” said Alyssa Alpino, concert director for Student Union.
When Geffrey Boyer, a sophomore, heard the Las Vegas news he immediately texted his group chat of friends who were planning on going to the country concert and said, “I am buying tickets right now.”
He recalled a memory of a high school history teacher who told him that by changing our lives, we are letting them win. Boyer did not want to let Paddock win.
Neither the concert venue nor the band posted anything regarding extra security on their websites. They planned to just have the usual metal detector and bag check. Students confirmed this.
“[There was] just a lot of security but nothing over the top,” sophomore Chrysa Livanos said.
Despite the preconcert confidence, as the sun initiated its descent over the stage, crowds of people began to flow onto the lawn surrounding the stage. This is when nervous thoughts overwhelmed some students and anxious feelings developed.
“I felt uneasy since the crowd was enormous. I found myself thinking of escape routes in the event of a shooting,” said Emily Boylan, a sophomore. “I was having fun but the thought was always in the back of my mind.”
Horsley admitted that she “didn’t feel totally safe.”
However, these thoughts of worry diminished once the music started playing. Horsley shared that Zac Brown Band addressed the shooting.
“We’re lucky to be a part of one of the best countries in the world and we can’t live in fear,” he said.
That statement, according to Horsley, sent a sense of pride through the crowd which was almost visible. From that moment on, the fans seemed to relax and enjoy the music. The country music almost served as a form of therapy to a country trying to heal from yet another mass shooting.
“We’re always told that it won’t happen here, but having it occur at a concert and then attend a similar event a week later, made it seem extra real,” said sophomore Caleb Woody. “This is just the world we live in now, unfortunately, we can’t change it.”