Though they didn’t know it at the time, Big & Rich’s room at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino was very near the one occupied by alleged shooter Stephen Paddock.
“Our rooms were right underneath where his room was,” Big Kenny told Entertainment Tonight. “I was looking down at the festival the whole day. I was watching all the fans coming into the festival. It’s as heartbreaking of an event as you can possibly have.”
Big Kenny and John Rich had already played their set at the Route 91 Harvest Festival Sunday night, about 90 minutes before Jason Aldean took the stage and the shooting began. The two had taken their bus to John’s nearby Redneck Riviera bar for an after-party.
Once John heard what was happening, he called his friend Dee Jay Silver, who tours with Jason and had been “thrown into the back of a pickup truck.”
It turns out Silver's family was even closer to the spot where the suspect fired on the crowd below, killing at least 59 and injuring more than 500 others.
“His 6-month-old son and the nanny were in the room next door to the shooter on the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay,” John reveals. “It took him and his wife three or four hours before they could find their baby.”
In the face of an unfathomable tragedy, Big & Rich are vowing to press on.
“Fear will not overtake us,” Kenny says. “We will continue to march forward with our music. I know that all artists out there, we are all so concerned right now, first and foremost about our fans, but [we] will not let this stop us in any way.”
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