For the first time since 2019, Ty Herndon‘s annual Concert for Love & Acceptance returned to downtown Nashville on Wednesday night (June 7). The star-studded celebration, which moved to an online streaming format for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was a powerful musical display of unity and support for the LGBTQ+ community.
For nearly a decade, Herndon has collaborated with the non-profit organization GLAAD to produce the event, raising money for the country star’s charity, Foundation for Love & Acceptance. Although the event has become one of the most popular concerts held during the week leading up to CMA Fest, Herndon says its mission statement is more relevant than ever.
“With all that’s going on in the world, this event has gained a new level of significance,” he says. “I’m so grateful to the artists and fans who came together to send a message of love and acceptance from here at CMA Fest to LGBTQ people all around the globe.”
Herndon, who helped break down barriers for LGBTQ+ country artists by publicly coming out as gay in 2014, was joined by an all-star list of performers for a night centered around love, unity and the joy of music.
Terri Clark joined Herndon to kick off the night’s festivities with a rendition of their new duet, “Dents on a Chevy,” before treating fans to her 1996 hit, “Poor Poor Pitiful Me.” Pam Tillis was next to take the stage, performing “Maybe It Was Memphis” before sharing a new, unreleased track called “Love Is Love,” a heartfelt anthem of acceptance for all.
Burgeoning country trio Chapel Hart brought fiery charisma to the stage with their tracks “Glory Days” and “You Can Have Him Jolene.”
“Tonight we are here to keep spreading the love and joy,” lead vocalist Danica Hart told the crowd, referencing the central theme of the night.
The evening was packed with short but sweet sets from Maddie & Tae, Sam Williams, actress and singer Chrissy Metz, Brooke Eden, Billy Gilman, Wendy Moten, and Brandon Stansell, among others.
Along with serving up an entertaining stretch of performances, the 2023 Concert for Love & Acceptance served as a timely reminder that supporting diversity and cultivating a welcoming environment is the only way to keep the country music community thriving for generations to come.
Keep reading to see snapshots from some of the night’s most memorable performances: