It was around 10:30 p.m. on October 1, and Las Vegas musician Jesse Pino was on his way to the Route 91 Harvest festival. Pino, who occasionally picks up production gigs, had planned on getting there earlier to find parking, but his roommate, who had worked the same event in the past, assured him he didn’t need to leave so soon. That conversation might have saved Pino’s life.
As he drove down Las Vegas Boulevard, Pino began to see cops, fully geared, running down the street. “Some people were running by my car, and I kind of panicked and tried to turn around,” Pino says. That’s when he heard it. “A cop yelled at me, ‘You can’t go that way; there’s a shooter.’”
Pino drove into his friend’s apartment complex behind the venue and the two began handing out water bottles to concert attendees trying to flee the area. He wasn’t able to pick up his car until Wednesday, as he had unknowingly parked inside the crime scene.
In the days since, Pino has been one of many local musicians who have banded together to raise money for victims by playing benefit shows. “Every person possesses incredible courage and strength, whether they know it or not,” says Pino, who participated in a fundraiser October 7 at Grouchy John’s Coffee. “It would be unfortunate for something like that to stop you from living a life. I guess for me, I’m trying to do my best to lead by example.”
Around town, venues like the Bunkhouse Saloon, Velveteen Rabbit and Sand Dollar Lounge have hosted benefit shows, and additional events across Southern Nevada have been organized, including a show at the Boulder City Library on October 13 and a Vegas Unites fundraiser at Backstage Bar & Billiards the following night. Even defunct Vegas favorites like Holding Onto Sound and Rusty Maples are getting back together to perform alongside Narrowed at a Macro-Fi Reunion benefit at the Bunkhouse on October 29. Additionaly, Congregation Ner Tamid will host Vegas Strong in Song, a concert of healing and love featuring Julie Silver, Stacy Beyer, Joe Buchanan and others on October 15.
“That could’ve been any one of us. We all go to concerts,” says Vegas Unites organizer Kat Kalling. “Las Vegas is a community, and we’re all in this together.”
At Downtown’s 11th Street Records, owner Ronald Corso decided to donate studio time at his National Southwestern Recording Studio, so musicians can lay down country covers for a benefit compilation, tentatively due around Thanksgiving. So far, he says, the offer has caught the attention of Dark Black, Mercy Music, Blair Dewane and Chani Leavitt, The Big Friendly Corporation and more.
And on Monday, website Punks in Vegas released Vegas Strong, a massive digital compilation featuring 138 tracks—new songs and rarities—by local bands and touring favorites including Taking Back Sunday, Beach Slang and The Menzingers. “I immediately wanted to help in some way,” says Punks in Vegas operator Steven Matview, who received 100 songs in the first 24 hours. “The response was just so heartwarming and sweet and really overwhelming.”
The EDM world has also responded. Wynn resident DJ Diplo donated $100,000 to the Las Vegas Victims’ fund and challenged other DJs to do the same (Steve Aoki ,Kaskade, Tiësto, Marshmello and Dillon Francis have all made significant donations). And Omnia Nightclub will host a Hakkasan Group benefit featuring Aoki, Tiësto, Kaskade and others on November 7.
Upcoming shows benefitting victims of the Route 91 Harvest shooting
Boulder City Benefit
October 13, 5 p.m., $10 donation, all-ages, Boulder City Library Amphitheater. Featuring Same Sex Mary, Indigo Kidd, Bad Girls Smoking Lounge, The Unwieldies & more.
October 14, 5 p.m., donations of food, supplies & money encouraged, Backstage Bar & Billiards. Featuring Pet Tigers, Rayner, Jeff Mix, Paige Overton, Shayna Rain, Kat Kalling, Lady Reiko & more.
Vegas Strong in Song
October 15, 5:30 p.m., Congregation Ner Tamid (55 N. Valle Verde Drive). Featuring Julie Silver, Stacy Beyer, Joe Buchanan & more.
October 29, Bunkhouse Saloon. Featuring Holding Onto Sound, Rusty Maples & Narrowed.
October 20, 2 p.m., Adrenaline Sports Bar & Grill (3103 N. Rancho Drive). Featuring Astoria, Smashing Alice, The Scorched, Agent 86 & more.
Hakkasan Group Benefit
November 7, $30 and up, Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace. Featuring Tiësto, Zedd, Kaskade, Steve Aoki, Lil Jon & NGHTMRE.