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Willie Nelson, Paul Simon and more to play Harvey benefit concert in Texas


Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, Leon Bridges, Lyle Lovett and Edie Brickell & New Bohemians are heading up “Harvey Can’t Mess With Texas: A Benefit Concert for Hurricane Harvey Relief,” an all-star event and telethon set for Sept. 22 at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin.

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Tickets to the four-hour concert, which runs from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. and will air live on TEGNA stations, go on sale at 3 p.m. CDT Wednesday via RebuildTX.org for $30 to $199.

Billed as “the largest live concert benefit in Texas” for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, the event follows Tuesday night’s “Hand in Hand” national telethon event that included performances by George Strait, Miranda Lambert, Chris Stapleton and others.

Others scheduled to appear at the Erwin Center event include Matthew McConaughey, Dan Rather, Renee Zellweger, Luke Wilson, Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Houston Chief of Police Art Acevedo. Additional musical performers include Ryan Bingham, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats and the Mexican pop duo Ha*Ash.

The concert will feature “exclusive performances and rare collaborations,” according to a press release announcing the event. Asleep at the Wheel will be the house band, and Charlie Sexton will serve as music director.

Proceeds will benefit the Rebuild Texas Fund, created by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation in collaboration with the OneStar Foundation. According to the Rebuild Texas website, the fund “will support community partners in four focus areas — health and housing; schools and child care; workforce and transportation; and capital for rebuilding small businesses.” The concert is part of the Dell Foundation’s effort to raise $100 million toward hurricane recovery efforts.

“This fund was created to help rebuild all of the communities, big and small, that have been devastated by Hurricane Harvey,” Houston native Michael Dell said in the event’s press release. “We will be rebuilding for years to come.” His wife, native Texan Susan Dell, added, “For us, this is personal.”

The telecast will air without commercials. In addition, an hour of the event will stream internationally on YouTube.com/TexasStrong from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. CDT. Google will match $500,000 in telethon donations, with volunteers from Google’s Austin office and employees of TEGNA working the telethon phone banks. Donations also will be accepted at the RebuildTX.org website.

“The outpouring of support from the local community and communities across the nation is a testament to the spirit, grit and determination of the people of Texas,” said TEGNA president/CEO Dave Lougee.

The concert is the biggest fundraiser to be held at the Erwin Center since a 2011 benefit for victims of Bastrop wildfires that included performances by Nelson, Strait, the Dixie Chicks, Lovett and others.

Others who have donated “efforts and services” to the event, according to the press release, include the Erwin Center, Springboard Productions, Solomon Group, Big House Sounds, Soundcheck Austin, Hotel Van Zandt, Sodexo, GSD&M, Andy Langer, the Texas Music Office and the City of Austin. TEGNA is producing the broadcast in partnership with Debra Davis Productions. Austin company C3 Presents is producing the live event and also is donating all its services.


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