Bama Rising Bunch: (Back row, L-R) Bo Bice; Phillip Sweet, Kimberly Schlapman, Karen Fairchild, and Jimi Westbrook of Little Big Town; J.D. Nicholas, Walter Orange, and William King of The Commodores; Dale Earnhardt Jr., Joey Williams, Eddie Montgomery, Troy Gentry (Middle row, L-R) Martina McBride, Kellie Pickler, Ashton Shepherd, Sheryl Crow; Teddy Gentry, Jeff Cook, and Randy Owen of Alabama; Ricky McKinnie, Jimmy Carter, and Ben Moore of The Blind Boys of Alabama (Front row, L-R) David Nail, Jake Owen, Rodney Atkins, Luke Bryan, Taylor Hicks, Dierks Bentley, and Darius Rucker (Photo by Rick Diamond/Alabama Relief/Getty Images for Alabama Relief)
Last night's Bama Rising: A Benefit Concert For Alabama Tornado Recovery concert at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center is being deemed a success on every level, raising an estimated $2.2 million through ticket sales and other charitable efforts surrounding the event.
The concert was organized and produced by Ali Harnell, Nashville-based SVP at AEG Live; Coran Capshaw at Red Light Management; and Gary Weinberger, president of Red Mountain Entertainment. Dave Matthews underwrote production expenses estimated at more than $100,000, and Brad Paisley donated his touring production for the concert. Proceeds benefit the Bama Rising Fund and will be distributed through the Greater Birmingham Community Foundation.
On the bill were Alabama, credited with getting the ball rolling on Bama Rising, along with Rodney Atkins, Dierks Bentley, Bo Bice, Blind Boys of Alabama, Luke Bryan, the Commodores, Sheryl Crow, Sara Evans, Taylor Hicks, Little Big Town, Martina McBride, Montgomery Gentry, David Nail, Jake Owen, Paisley, Kellie Pickler, Darius Rucker, and Ashton Shepherd.
Harnell and Rod Essig and Blake McDaniel at Creative Artists Agency, along with the Red Light team booked the night's talent.
Tickets were $25-$150, with two levels of VIP packages priced at $250 and $1,000, and was "100% clean," Harnell tells billboard.biz. The ticket gross was about $1.3 million, and other initiatives will take the figure for those devastated by the April 27 tornados that ripped through Alabama well over $2 million. "It's really going to help," Harnell says.
The show itself, with performances from artists with Alabama connections or those who just wanted to help, was "phenomenal," Harnell says. "Brad Paisley donated his production, and he's got this incredible video wall and lighting rig, so it was a first class production. There was a house band of Kenny Greenberg, Michael Rhodes and a bunch of other badass Nashville musicians that came over."
Harnell stresses that people can still donate to the cause through bamarising.org and an online auction at charitybuzz.org that has already raised about $25,000 that continues through tomorrow.