On Oct. 1, 2017, tragedy struck the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas when a gunman fired on the crowd, killing 58 people and injuring more than 500. At the time, Jason Aldean was performing, and Jake Owen had just finished his own set at the festival.
On Monday, Oct. 1, Owen used Twitter to reflect on the day, penning an emotional message to remember those lost one year later.
"I will never forget the evening of October 1st, 2017," Owen wrote. "A year ago today people were loving life. They were singing along. Families and friends."
I will never forget the evening of October 1st, 2017. A year ago today people were loving life. They were singing along. Families and friends. 58 lives were lost and thousands were injured and lives changed forever. You will always be in my heart and on my mind.— Jake Owen (@jakeowen) October 1, 2018
"58 lives were lost and thousands were injured and lives changed forever," he continued. "You will always be in my heart and on my mind."
After the tragedy, Owen spoke out about how he was affected, telling CMT that he played a show days later and looked at the situation in a way he never had before.
"I played a show in El Paso, Texas less than four days after Vegas, and my first thought was, 'I've never walked into a venue I was playing, seen buildings around it, and thought, man, there could be a guy in those buildings shooting at us tonight,'" he recalled. "I even walked in here today and thought, 'There are a lot of people here, and there are rooftops all around us.'"
Despite the tragedy, Owen maintained that his job as an artist is still to put on the best show possible.
"These people are here to have a good time and it's up to us to give it to them and not be scared," he explained. "So that's what we've done since then. The fans are not going to let someone deter them from having a good time. The same way us artists aren't going to let someone deter us from having a good time. I think we all have that special bond together, and we'll never forget the way it felt and how that night changed our perception of the way we appreciate our freedom."
The 37-year-old added to Taste of Country that the shooting gave him "perspective."
"Now I look out into the crowd of people coming out to enjoy a show differently," he said. "They are not only coming out to see an artist they like, but some of them are coming out to escape a little from everyday life. They are there to create memories with the people they love."
"It's not that I didn't understand that before — I did," Owen added. "But now, more than ever before, my job is to go out there and entertain."
Photo Credit: Getty / Chelsea Lauren0comments