National Telethon Sunday To Aid Flood Victims

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The first national telethon and concert event to raise money to aid victims of the flood in middle Tennessee has been announced by Great American Country Television, the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau and Gaylord Entertainment. "Music City Keep on Playin' - A Benefit for Flood Relief" will air commercial-free on GAC from 8 p.m.-10 p.m. EST May 16.

Brad Paisley, Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley, Rodney Atkins and additional artists will perform live at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium while celebrities will host and join other volunteers to man phone banks to collect call-in donations. The special will re-air at 10 p.m., midnight and 2 a.m. and phone lines will remain open for donations. All money raised will go to those in need in Middle Tennessee. Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee will be the organization processing and distributing donations.

"Nashville has endured historic flooding, but we are resilient, recovery efforts have already begun and I am confident we will come out of this stronger than ever," said Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. "Music is the heart and soul of this city and as such it will play a critical role in its recovery. This collaborative effort is just one example."

The flood damage in Nashville and five surrounding counties is expected to exceed $1 billion and six middle Tennessee counties have been declared federal disaster areas. Icons of the country music landscape in Nashville including the Grand Ole Opry House incurred serious flood damage while many musicians, including Paisley, suffered major equipment and instrument losses.

"This is the first event to solicit funds on a national level," said GAC President Ed Hardy. "While it's important that our viewers know our city has come together and survived this unfortunate event, thousands of Nashville and middle Tennessee residents are in serious need and some of this city's most talented residents are generously stepping in to help." In addition to artists, many production people are donating their time and talent to the event. High Five Entertainment will produce the telethon and concert event.

"Many of us have friends and family members who are just now beginning to get back into their homes to survey the damage and start rebuilding their lives," said Colin Reed, chairman and CEO of Gaylord Entertainment. "At the same time, support has come pouring in from every corner of the community. And now, we are reaching out on a national level to ensure that the people of Nashville have every resource they need to restore our city."

Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau President Butch Spyridon added, "We are proud to partner with GAC and Gaylord Entertainment to raise money for Nashville's flood victims. This concert effort is a great example of how the partnership between Nashville's hospitality and music industries benefits the entire city."

Ticket information for "Music City Keep on Playin' - A Benefit for Flood Relief" will be announced shortly.
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