Alan Jackson May 22 concert in W.Va. to aid miners' families
Country music legend Alan Jackson will donate the profits from a performance in West Virginia to the families of the 29 men killed in the explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine.
Jackson will perform May 22 at the Charleston Civic Center, where ticket prices have been slashed to $20 for portions of the arena to encourage attendance, his publicist said Thursday in a news release.
Many vendors and suppliers have also cut their fees in a show of support for the families of the miners who died April 5 at the mine in Montcoal. Two other men were injured in the nation's worst coal mining disaster in 40 years.
Proceeds will go to the Montcoal Mining Disaster Fund, administered by the West Virginia Council of Churches.
The Rev. Dennis Sparks, executive director of the council, said he is thrilled that an entertainer who writes and sings about the working man is coming to the aid of the miners' families.
Jackson, a native of Newnan, Ga., has won 16 Country Music Association awards and was named Entertainer of the Year three times. His latest album is "Freight Train.''
"This is a very wonderful donation from Alan and, on behalf of our state, I'm honored for our miners, their families and the rescue workers,'' said Gov. Joe Manchin. "Alan is a world-famous entertainer who has never forgotten his small-town roots and the importance of family.''
Toxic gases are still keeping investigators out of the Upper Big Branch mine. State and federal officials say tests showing the presence of acetylene and ethylene, gases not normally found in an underground work environment, suggest a fire may be burning somewhere.
Richmond, Va.-based owner Massey Energy has already pumped 7 million cubic feet of nitrogen into the underground mine to suffocate any flames, but the atmosphere remains too dangerous for people to enter.link