George H.W. Bush could have hosted a stuffy dinner. He might have held a private party, or even skipped the anniversary altogether.
But as the 41st president prepared to host his library’s 20th birthday this month, Bush — in true Texas fashion — decided to go big. On Oct. 21, the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library will host a massive relief concert benefiting those affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.
All five living former presidents will attend the “Deep From the Heart” show to see performances from Alabama, Lyle Lovett, the Gatlin Brothers, Robert Earl Keen and many more. The concert is supported by Texas A&M University and will take place at Reed Arena on the flagship’s College Station campus.
“It’s important that those affected by these devastating storms know that, even if the path to recovery feels like a road that goes on forever, we’re with them for the long haul,” George H.W. Bush said.
David Jones, CEO of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation, thanks the event’s underwriters, who ensured “100 cents of every dollar we raise through tickets sales for our ‘Deep From the Heart’ show will go to our designated hurricane recovery funds.
“So grab all your friends and join us at Reed Arena on October 21st for what promises to be a truly unforgettable night — that also helps a lot of Americans.”
Grammy Award winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Sam Moore; The Voice season three winner Cassadee Pope; Yolanda Adams; and Stephanie Quayle will also perform. Country music icon Lee Greenwood will emcee.
Tickets for the event’s 10,800 seats will first be available Wednesday to Texas A&M students, faculty and staff, and then will go on sale to the general public Thursday. Prices range from $30 to $600.
The One America Appeal, a hurricane relief organization created by the five presidents in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, will receive 100 percent of the concert’s proceeds. The funds will go to hurricane victims in the continental United States, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico through the Houston Harvey Relief Fund, the Rebuild Texas Fund, the Florida Disaster Fund, Unidos Por Puerto Rico and The Fund for the Virgin Islands.
It’s unusual that all five living ex-presidents will appear in public together. The last time was in 2013, when they met in Dallas to christen George W. Bush’s presidential library. It’s even more unusual one issue would unite them, but the recent hurricanes proved that devastating.
The storm dumped historic amounts of rain on Texas, deluging the Houston area and dozens of towns and cities along the Gulf Coast. Hurricane Irma hit on Harvey’s heels, and Hurricane Maria formed in the Atlantic in September.
The strongest hurricane to make landfall in Puerto Rico in almost 90 years, Maria has knocked out power, flattened towns and caused widespread devastation on the island that’s home to more than 3 million Americans and across the region.
Just weeks after Harvey made landfall in late August, the presidents kicked off the nonprofit One America Appeal. All donations are tax-deductible.
“People are hurting down here. But as one Texan put it, ‘We’ve got more love in Texas than water,’ ” George W. Bush said in the ad announcing the organization.
His father then added, “We love you, Texas.”