At the Stagecoach music festival over the weekend, hundreds of country music fans paid heartfelt tribute to the victims and survivors of the Route 91 and Borderline Bar mass shootings. And they did it in the best way they know how: with some song and a whole lot of dance.
Honey County, a Los-Angeles based trio, debuted a song at the Indio, California, festival that was written to commemorate the people who lost their lives in the two mass shootings. Twelve people were killed by a gunman during a “Country College Night” event at Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, in November. The year before, 58 people were shot dead at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas.
— Vanessa Franko (@vanessafranko) April 28, 2019
“Country Strong” is an upbeat dance number that speaks of unity and strength in the face of heartache.
“Get back up; we’ll hold our heads and our drinks high … Through it all, our hearts beat on cos it runs in our blood, we are country strong,” the chorus defiantly declares.
Dozens of people who survived the shootings were at Honey County’s performance on Saturday, the Los Angeles Times noted.
The trio played “Country Strong” twice ― both times accompanied by people performing a specially choreographed dance routine, co-created by a dance teacher from Borderline who survived the November shooting.
The first time, only dancers dressed in identical “#DanceCOUNTRYStrong” T-shirts performed the dance. On the second pass, hundreds of festivalgoers were invited to join in on the fun, the Times reported.
According to Billboard, the lyrics of the song and choreographed dance moves had been taught to Stagecoach attendees on the first two days of the festival.
Rocking @stagecoach, L.A.-based trio @honeycounty performs "Country Strong" — an upbeat dance number written to commemorate lives lost to gun violence — as choreography breaks out. https://t.co/lPxKwCYAFQ pic.twitter.com/eP3gs5P3Ao
— LAT Entertainment (@latimesent) April 29, 2019
Stagecoach dance captain Anne-Marie Dunn, who helped create the choreography for “County Strong,” said the song and dance performance reflected the solidarity of the country music community.
“The country dance community is very strong, very united,” Dunn told the LA Times. “When anything hurts one member of that community, it hurts everyone. So the theme we want to put across is ‘peace and unity.’”