(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) —
The Grand Ole Opry presented by Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and television network Great American Country (GAC) have set plans for Country Reaches Out: An Opry Benefit for the American Red Cross to assist with hurricane relief. The September 27 event, to be held at the Grand Ole Opry House, will begin at 8 p.m. ET. GAC will broadcast live from the event starting at 9 p.m. ET. Among the growing list of artists scheduled to appear are Alan Jackson, Alison Krauss, Craig Morgan and Billy Currington.
The commercial-free television event will include appearances and performances by country music artists who will raise awareness for The American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund and urge contributions from GAC viewers in the wake of Hurricane Katrina that caused catastrophic damage throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. Profits from the show's ticket sales will also benefit the Red Cross.
"Without fail, country music and its fans show compassion and support for those in need," said Colin Reed, chairman and CEO of Gaylord Entertainment, the Opry's parent company. "The Opry is the heart and home of country music, and the Opry family– its employees and artists alike– wants to do everything it can to make sure country's heart is extended to our neighbors who have suffered such unspeakable losses this week."
In addition to the live GAC broadcast, the Opry event will be simulcast on GAC sister networks DIY Network and FINE LIVING to maximize the TV audience. The show will also be heard in its entirety on 650 WSM AM, Sirius Satellite Radio, and opry.com. The event will be cross promoted on Home & Garden Television and Food Network.
"Country music, in particular, is a powerful and unifying force that inspires individuals to action and initiates the process of healing in times of personal tragedy – or national crisis," said Ed Hardy, president of Great American Country. "It is our hope that the national television audience tuning in for the simulcast of this special Opry event on GAC, DIY and Fine Living will be moved to action in support of hurricane relief."
In addition to the television special, the Grand Ole Opry and GAC are also pursuing other avenues to raise awareness of and money for the hurricane relief effort. GAC is producing public service announcements featuring the network hosts and country artists while both the Opry and GAC will host an on-line auction of one-of-a-kind country music memorabilia at opry.com and GACtv.com. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen