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Over 300 Musicians Volunteer to Entertain Hurricane Harvey Evacuees in Austin Shelters

Joe Raedle, Getty Images
Joe Raedle, Getty Images

With the tragic flooding that’s come with Hurricane Harvey in Texas, musicians have volunteered their time to bring a little comfort to those displaced from the storm. In Austin, over 315 musicians signed up to perform in shelters currently housing hurricane evacuees.

As of this posting, reports suggest that up to 30 people have died from the catastrophic storm. Since the hurricane hit Houston and surrounding areas of Texas, as well as southwest Louisiana, tens of thousands of people have had to abandon their flooded homes, with 30,000 currently in shelters. Some evacuees were brought all the way to Austin, where local musicians have signed up in droves to entertain those being housed in shelters.

The Red Cross reached out to the ATX Music Office on Aug. 28 with the hope of attracting musicians to various area shelters:

“It was such short notice, I didn’t know what to expect in terms of the response,” Austin Music Office employee Stephanie Bergara told Austin 360. She added that she was “incredibly overwhelmed” by the instant reaction from musicians, with over 165 having volunteered in less than 24 hours.

“They just keep coming,” Bergara tells KVUE. “We’ve gotten everything from ukulele players to DJs to audio engineers volunteering to help in any way they can. I’ve lived in Austin my entire life and I’m a musician myself, but I’ve never seen anything quite like this. They’re requesting comfort music, something to take their minds off of all the craziness.”

“It’s more than just musicians,” Bergara explains. “A lady in Bastrop emailed and said, ‘I’m not a musician, but we have a bakery in Bastrop and we want to send cupcakes to evacuees, can you tell me where to do that?’ There was a woman who wanted to drop off aromatherapy kits. Another person asked if people need visits from therapy dogs.”

So many musicians stepped up that the Austin Music Office actually had to stop accepting volunteers:

Our thoughts are with the victims of Hurricane Harvey as brave men and women from the National Guard, State Guard and Coast Guard, along with local firefighters and police offers, continue rescuing those in need.

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