BURGAW — Nashville country singer Lee Gantt will perform at the Burgaw courthouse square this Saturday to raise funds for Pender County families affected by Hurricane Florence.
“It all began in the height of the storm,” county spokesperson Tammy Proctor said, when various county officials inside the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) were suggesting the idea of a relief concert in the near future.
That’s when Emergency Director Tom Collins spoke up — his son Brian, a drummer for Gantt’s band, had just raised the idea with his father.
“Gantt is a rising star,” Collins said. “He was quick to agree to come to Burgaw for the One Pender Hurricane Relief Concert.”
“Having Brian in the group, him being from the area, really struck home with us,” Lee Gantt said Monday afternoon. After watching the damage and aftermath on the news outlets, Gantt said he couldn’t imagine the sort of devastation affecting the people of Pender County.
“I wanted to not only give back but also to talk to some of these people and get a perspective on what they’ve been through — to see for myself,” Gantt said.
Proctor said that Gantt is known for a combination of old-school country lyrics and modern melodies, a style influenced by both Garth Brooks and Kenny Chesney. Over the past seven years, while touring across the U.S., Gantt has opened for well-known country musicians like Chris Young, Dustin Lynch, and Thompson Square.
After achieving his first record deal in 2017, Gantt said he was proud to see his single “Ruined This Town” rise to number 35 on Nashville’s MusicRow chart earlier this year.
“He’s doing this for a really good price, and sponsors like Ward Realty in Surf City — who are providing two beachfront homes for the band to stay in — are sacrificing a lot during a long weekend,” Proctor said.
Many tourists come to Surf City on this particular weekend, Proctor said, because they have a day’s off of work the following Monday, Veterans’ Day.
Before the show, there will be a VIP dinner hosted by the Burgaw Fire Department honoring first responders and Pender County School (PCS) staff who helped during the hurricane. Admission for the afternoon dinner is available for a minimum $25 donation.
“These are the people who came together during the storm to ensure the safety of our community — working in shelters, conducting rescues, responding to emergencies,” PCS Superintendent Steven Hill said. “This is just one way we can say thank you.”
“The EOC staff are ‘Ah shucks’ kind of people — flattered to be honored at the dinner,” Proctor said.
Starting at 4 p.m Saturday, Burgaw veterinarian-musician Matt Bowlin will open, followed by Nashville singers Christina Taylor and Brenna Bone. Gantt will take the stage at 7 p.m., according to Proctor.
For those who wish to donate, go to topsailchamber.org and click the donation button on the front page of the website.
“Local companies are encouraged to donate as well as residents who were not impacted by the storm,” Proctor said.
To become a sponsor of the overall One Pender initiative — for Pender County families affected by Florence — contact Olivia Dawson at (910) 259-0311.
Mark Darrough can be reached at Mark@Localvoicemedia.com