Unplugged after mass shooting, Route 91 Harvest festival may return to Vegas Strip next year

Recording artist Jake Owen performs during the Route 91 Harvest country music festival last year. A mass shooter attacked during the next act, Jason Aldean.
(David Becker / Getty Images)

The country music festival that became the site of the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history could be returning to Las Vegas next fall — though probably far from the site of the 2017 shooting, according to a key promoter of the event.

Julie Matway, chief operating officer for Country Nation — a division of Live Nation, told a crowd Wednesday during a panel discussion at a music industry conference at the Mandalay Bay resort that the promoters hoped to bring back the concert next year.

“Route 91 Harvest here in Las Vegas is one of my kids,” Matway said. “I am looking forward to how and when we are going to bring that back. We are working hard on that.”


Her comments were reported in Amplify, a member-driven news service that covers the music and concert industry. The publication reported that Live Nation’s president of country touring, Brian O’Connell, confirmed the effort to revive the festival in 2019 and that the plans would include finding a way to honor the 58 people killed in the attack.

The day after the shooting, people gathered at a candlelight vigil to mourn the victims.
(Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

Matway’s comment came as an answer to a question about the future of Route 91 during the XLIVE conference’s panel titled “The Festival Promoter: Past, Present and Future.”

The Route 91 Harvest country music festival began in 2014 and was held at the Las Vegas Village, across the street from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. On Oct. 1, 2017, Stephen Paddock opened fire from his 32nd-floor suite at Mandalay Bay into the crowd of 22,000 concertgoers during country music singer Jason Alden’s set.

In addition to the 58 killed, more than 800 were wounded, including 413 by gunshot or shrapnel. Paddock fired more than 1,000 rounds before turning a gun on himself. Police could not determine a motive for the deadly shooting but concluded the killer acted alone. The hotel suite he used as his perch has been sealed off since the attack and will never be reopened for guests, hotel officials have said. The Mandalay Bay’s floors have also been renumbered as a result of the shooting.

Ethan Avanzino grieves for his friend Cameron Robinson, one of 58 people killed in the shooting.
(Robyn Beck / AFP/Getty Images)

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police issued a final 187-page report in August that outlined a portrait Paddock as a man with narcissistic qualities, a high-stakes gambler and a loner who had grown distant from his girlfriend. The FBI said it planned to release a more complete behavioral profile of the 58-year-old shooter at a later date.

MGM Resorts International, which owns Mandalay Bay and the Las Vegas Village site, did not have a comment on Matway’s remarks but said Thursday that the Las Vegas Village site remains closed. The company faces a range of lawsuits file by people who were victimized by the shooting. Live Nation is also the subject of litigation related to the attack.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal, citing unnamed sources, reported that the return of the Route 91 festival would be at the north end of the Las Vegas Strip on a 35-acre plot of land at the corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. | Twitter: @davemontero