Benefit Concert at The University of Texas at Austin Raises $725,000 To Help Victims of Texas Wildfires

Bill Powers, president of The University of Texas at Austin, presented a check for $725,000 to the Austin Community Foundation Thursday, Oct. 20, representing the net proceeds from the Oct. 17 "Fire Relief: The Concert for Central Texas" at the university's Frank Erwin Center.

The concert, organized by musicians Ray Benson and Eric Johnson, Peter Schwarz (Bismeaux Productions), Michael Hall (Texas Monthly), and others from the Austin music community, was a sellout performance with more than 16,300 in attendance.

The all-star lineup of Texas musicians performing to raise money for victims of the late-summer Central Texas wildfires included Christopher Cross, Terri Hendrix, Eric Johnson, Joe Satriani, Asleep at the Wheel, The Texas Tornados, Randy Rogers Band, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, The Dixie Chicks and George Strait. Actor/filmmaker Turk Pipkin and actor Kyle Chandler served as emcees for the event.

"Part of being a great university is being a good neighbor, helping to solve problems and supporting the community in which you live," said Powers. "I'm delighted that UT could help make this benefit a reality, and I'm gratified by the enormous response from the people of Central Texas. Every catastrophe eventually leaves the headlines, but we should all continue to think of ways to help those who are rebuilding their lives in Bastrop County."

Jeff Garvey, president and CEO of the Austin Community Foundation, accepted the "Fire Relief" check presented by Powers on behalf of the university and the many people who contributed their time, talent, money and resources to help the fire victims.

"The Austin Community Foundation is honored to receive the proceeds from the Fire Relief: Concert for Central Texas," said Garvey. "We are grateful to the organizers, the musicians, the University of Texas and all the volunteers who made this both a meaningful and memorable event to support our friends and neighbors who have been affected by this disaster. ACF will work diligently to ensure this money is used as effectively as possible to assist Central Texas communities with their recovery."

The concert was produced by The Messina Group/AEG Live. The net proceeds will go to Central Texas community organizations and charities via the Central Texas Wildfire Fund at the Austin Community Foundation. The goal of "Fire Relief" is to help fire victims with long-term issues and problems, such as regaining livelihoods.

Major sponsors of the concert included H-E-B, ATandT, Dell, Big House Sound, Southwest Airlines, Chevron, Delaware North Companies, ExxonMobil and Farmers Insurance. Midnight Lighting, Fender, Global Event Group, MobileJets, Ilios Lighting, W Hotel Group, Peavey, Soundcheck Austin, Sysco, Ben E. Keith Foods, Onstage Systems, Telescript West and Republic Print also supported the concert.

Between acts during the concert, the emcees encouraged the audience to donate $10 to Austin Community Foundation's Central Texas Wildfire Fund by texting FIRE to 84465, a number set up for contributions that is still accepting donations. About $11,000 has been raised through the texting initiative.