Last week, Lynyrd Skynyrd raised more than $1.5 million for Hurricane Ian relief at a star-studded benefit concert in Estero, Florida. Frontman Johnny Van Zant, a Florida native, told ABC Audio at the event that he considered the concert “a holy moment.”
“You know what? I think we’ve been blessed a million times over. And you got to give back when you’re blessed,” Van Zant said. “I think the good Lord wants us to do that. So I’m calling this a holy moment.”
The concert, emceed by comedian Jim Breuer, also included performances by Ted Nugent and pop star Gavin DeGraw, as well as country artists RaeLynn, Tracy Lawrence, John Rich and Florida Georgia Line‘s Brian Kelley. Five hundred tickets to the show were donated to those impacted by the record-breaking storm, which killed 157 people and caused widespread damage. Skynyrd guitarist Rickey Medlocke, who also lives in Florida, witnessed it firsthand.
“I’m right off of the river: I got film of it … I watched all these 16- to 18-foot waves roll in, destroyed the marina,” Medlocke told ABC Audio. “Fortunately, I was blessed and my house escaped everything. But I got here about a week after it was over with and went riding around. And I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe the devastation.”
“We’re happy to do this, to give an uplift to the community. I wouldn’t miss this, y’know?” Medlocke added.
Ian was a Category 4 hurricane, and Van Zant said he hopes that people who live in hurricane-prone areas “learn a lesson that, ‘Hey, anytime these things are over 3s or 2s, you might want to leave.'”
“You never know what situation you’re going to be in,” he added, and then laughed, “Mother Nature is really, really bad, you know?”
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