Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, Bonnie Raitt Headline Hurricane Relief Benefit

Tickets on sale today for mega concert

Austin’s music community has responded in force to the widespread devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey: venues staging fundraisers, festivals making donations, and bands using their vans to collect and distribute supplies. Now arrives announcement of a mega benefit headlined by Willie Nelson and Paul Simon.

Willie Nelson performing locally at his annual Heartbreaker Banquet in 2015 (Photo by Gary Miller)

Harvey Can’t Mess With Texas: A Benefit For Concert for Hurricane Harvey Relief, taking place next Friday, Sept. 22, at UT’s Frank Erwin Center, extends a “Bridge Over Troubled Water” with marquee acts raising money for victims of the most recent natural disaster. The four-hour concert features performances from James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, Lyle Lovett, Leon Bridges, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, Ryan Bingham, and Mexican pop duo Ha*Ash.

Austin’s Charlie Sexton serves as musical director with backing by Asleep at the Wheel.

Dan Rather, Matthew McConaughey, Renée Zellweger, and Luke Wilson will all help emcee the event, which will be televised statewide via Tegna Inc. broadcasting, which owns KVUE locally. Outside of that, people can tune in on the TexasStrong YouTube channel.

Of course, nothing beats attending in person.

Tickets, ranging from $30 to $199, go on sale today at 3pm CST here. All proceeds go to the Rebuild Texas Fund, created locally by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. The fund focuses on health and housing; schools and child care; the workforce and transportation; and capital for small businesses. A concurrent pledge drive has Google matching the first half-million in donations. Viewers can donate via phone drive or at www.rebuildtx.org.

The concert echoes a similar effort from October 2011 to raise money for victims of the wildfires in Bastrop. Fire Relief: the Concert for Central Texas, also at the Erwin Center, slotted Nelson alongside super Lone Stars including George Strait and the Dixie Chicks. That concert, with tickets ranging from $25 to $250, raised $725,000.

Harvey Can’t Mess With Texas, conceived and organized by a range of Austin music industry insiders, is being promoted pro-bono by C3 Presents.

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