Florida Georgia Line and Friends Team for Together: Feeding Nashville

Along with Thomas Rhett, Maren Morris and more, they raised money with the first show at a new Nashville venue.

Written by Chris Parton
Florida Georgia Line and Friends Team for Together: Feeding Nashville
Florida Georgia Line; Photo credit: Spencer Combs

Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett and Maren Morris were among those helping break in a new Nashville concert venue Monday night (August 3), chipping in their talents for the big-hearted Together: Feeding Nashville fund raiser.

Held at Franklin’s newly minted Firstbank Amphitheater and aimed at addressing hunger in the Nashville area, it was a feel-good night that featured the joyful sense that country concerts are back in business — for the time being at least. And although it wasn’t without its new-venue growing pains, it encapsulated the community spirit country music often strives for.

Marking the first fully-ticketed show at Firstbank — a stunning venue built in an old stone quarry just south of Nashville, which the artists warmly compared to Colorado’s famed Red Rocks — the night was presented by Hayley Hubbard and Taylin Lewan, who together lead the Feeding Nashville charge. Hayley is the wife of FGL’s Tyler Hubbard, and Taylin is married to Tennessee Titans star, Taylor Lewan. And together, their charity work has already helped thousands facing food uncertainty.

According to Feeding America, some 1 million people in Tennessee are currently battling hunger — and a quarter of that number are children. Along with their country-star friends, the women hoped Together: Feeding Nashville would help reach the yearly goal of raising $2.5 million, which is enough to feed 55,000 of those neighbors in need. Luckily, country fans were happy to help.

With Firstbank completely sold out, the gorgeous venue revealed itself as a state-of-the-art gem. Nestled into the old quarry pit, the stage and seating feature clean lines and a well-thought design, with wide aisles and excellent views. Planners went over the top with multiple concession areas featuring elevated food and drink options (not just pizza, but pimento cheese and prosciutto pizza), and also left lots of open space for milling around. Concert purists should love the setup, since it gives chatty fans room to socialize away from the main floor, so even intimate musical moments won’t be disturbed.

Meanwhile, the action on stage was top notch, even though the performers are still getting their live-show legs back. Newcomer Lily Rose kicked the night off with a bold set of romantically charged acoustic tunes, looking solid in her biggest gig to date. And then FGL got the night’s main event going, with all their usual swagger.

With the duo serving as house band, Hubbard and Brian Kelley smiled and slapped hands all throughout, soaking in the in-person atmosphere with a hit-filled set that kept welcoming other stars.

“It’s a Tuesday night, which means we’re not on tour,” Hubbard said, explaining that each country star was playing for free, and net proceeds from the show would go straight to Feeding Nashville. “On behalf of everyone [involved], we’re so thankful y’all are here tonight.”

Russell Dickerson was the first co-star to arrive onstage, blasting through tracks like “Blue Tacoma” and amping the hometown crowd up — even reminding fans that he went to school at Centennial High, just down the road in Williamson County. In between guests, FGL would come back out and crank up tunes like “Love Live,” bathing the quarry’s chiseled grey walls in red light. While others like the reflective country rock of “May We All” got the crowd swaying — and captured the all-in-this-together spirit of the night.

By 9:30, the show had already raised about $350,000, and friends like Thomas Rhett kept the good vibes going. Looking like he stepped out of a Cabela’s catalog and grinning ear to shaggy-haired ear, he rolled out one of the night’s most joyful moments with “Round Here” — a Florida Georgia Line hit that TR actually co-wrote. “Die A Happy Man” had the ladies in the house swooning, and after introducing Christian music star Chris Tomlin, TR and the FGL boys offered some pop-friendly praise with the bouncy Christian radio single, “Thank You Lord.”

Likewise, Chase Rice arrived by surprise with a different take on spirituality, joining his FGL pals for the Number One song in the country at the moment — “Drinkin’ Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen.”

For her part, Maren Morris said she was glad to be back onstage in Nashville for the first time since she was “like, 9 months pregnant.” Offering a few tracks that proved her vocal dominance, she belted out “My Church” and even welcomed husband Ryan Hurd for their steamy duet, “Chasing After You.”

As the night wound down, Firstbank offered a giant check to Hubbard and Lewan for an extra $20,000, and the only hitch in the night was a frustrating issue with traffic. The venue is located in a rural area with just a two-lane road for access, so getting fans in (along with everyone else) proved a challenge. The show actually had to be delayed after it started, with rumors going around that some of the artists were stuck in gridlock alongside their fans. And heading home proved just as difficult. But being the venue’s first show, those woes will surely be forgiven if organizers figure out a solution.

Even so, nothing could put a damper on the night Together: Feeding Nashville turned out to be. Florida Georgia Line finished off with an uplifting run through their mega hit Bebe Rexha collab, “Meant to Be,” and then it was all-hands-on deck finale featuring Nelly, Rice, Dickerson, Blanco Brown and Breland to close the show. Celebrating more than just a beautiful new venue and the return of country concerts — hopefully for good, but who knows — it was a fitting reminder of the night’s community-driven purpose. That when it comes to feeding the hungry, we’re all in this together.