‘It was just emotional’: Kentucky Rising raises more than $2.5 million for flood relief

WKYT News at 11:00 PM
Published: Oct. 12, 2022 at 11:25 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - People are still talking about Tuesday night’s sold out Kentucky Rising concert.

The show was headlined by Johnson County native Chris Stapleton and featured fellow eastern Kentuckians Dwight Yoakam and Tyler Childers. It was organized by Stapleton after the July floods.

Eastern Kentucky artists Ricky Skaggs and Patty Loveless made surprise appearances.

“Thanks for coming out tonight for a good cause, help some folks out that need some help,” Stapleton told the crowd of more than 13,000. “That’s what we do here in Kentucky. It’s a wonderful feeling, people doing good things for good reasons.”

“I’ve been here ten years and I’ve never felt more like a Kentuckian than I do tonight,” UK Head Football Coach Mark Stoops said before introducing Stapleton Tuesday night.

“It’s an honor to be here tonight to lend some support in some small way to the Kentucky Rising movement,” Yoakam said during his set. “Hopefully help a lot of people over in eastern Kentucky.”

The show at Rupp Arena was a true Kentucky affair, with pride for the Bluegrass State evident, as thousands came together to help communities that are hurting.

Kentucky Rising

“A lot of crying,” said Stephanie Bork, the Director of Marketing for Central Bank Center. “I think happy crying. I think a lot of mixed emotions. It was devastating flooding that occurred in eastern Kentucky. But we raised a lot of money and put on a great show. So we are equally as proud.”

Bork says they were happy to donate Rupp Arena for the show, and employees volunteered their time to work.

“I started crying at the end,” said Jane Higgins, with the Blue Grass Community Foundation. “I was just bawling because I was like, ‘Oh my gosh we’ve raised that much money. We’ve done this, and it’s all going back to truly change lives and organizations.’”

The foundation worked with Stapleton’s team to set up the Kentucky Rising fund, and will help determine how to distribute the money.

“Some will be immediate needs for some organizations and nonprofits who lost a lot and are struggling. Then some will be long-term recovery and filling those gaps to see, ‘Okay what still needs to be taken care of? What are some of the immediate needs, like housing?’”

Those needs can now be better met thanks to the Kentucky music stars who wanted to give back, and thousands of others who stepped up to help their neighbors.

“It wasn’t about being at a concert last night,” said Higgins. “It was about being at a historical event. I’m gonna cry just even talking about it. It was just emotional. It was awesome. Thank God for people like those that want to give back and still care.”

You can still watch a livestream of the concert. It is available to buy through Thursday, Oct. 13, and you will have 48 hours to watch it.

The video costs $20, and proceeds will go to the Kentucky Rising fund.