Nashville, TN (WSMV) – A Nashville singer/songwriter is spearheading a new effort to help the northern Bahamas after the destruction of Hurricane Dorian. It has taken shape through a major fundraising campaign and a spur-of-the-moment benefit concert featuring major Nashville recording artists.
Patrick Davis – who made his way in Nashville as a producer, a solo artist, a songwriter and performer – started an initiative seven years ago called Songwriters in Paradise (SIP). The fundraiser brings Nashville songwriters together every year for a multi-day music festival that benefits organizations in the area where the festival is hosted. SIP festivals are held in Napa, Cabo San Lucas and Hope Town in the Abaco Islands.
“I have probably spent the past 7 or 8 years --about a month or two months a year-- down there in Hope Town,” says Davis. “That area is very small like a Mayberry in the Bahamas.”
Davis reflected on the knowledge that his beloved Hope Town had been destroyed in the recent hurricane. On September 1st, the day Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the northern Bahamas, Davis started a GoFundMe page called Hope 4 Hope Town.
“I thought I was going to raise $50,000 or $100,000, but it was at $100,000 within six hours,” recalls Davis.
He set a fundraising goal of $1 million. Since its creation, the fund has raised well over $400,000 with more than 2,100 donors.
"It was very important for me to try to help them in some way – and let them know we were doing everything we can,” says Davis. "I did not in a million years expect it to be anything like what has happened. The outpouring of love -- I’m very appreciative of what's happening right now."
Despite the success, Davis still felt he needed to do more for Hope Town. He envisioned his SIP initiative hosting a benefit concert in Nashville with major recording artists, but he needed help from his friends.
"I actually texted one of my good friends Darius Rucker and I said 'Darius, I'm gonna ask you for a lot man, I hate asking you for this, but will you please just say yes' and I told him what it was and all I got in reply was [a text saying] 'I'm in bro,' and I literally started crying because I knew if Darius said yes then the dominoes would fall."
After Rucker agreed, country artists Randy Houser and Dierks Bentley signed on to perform Monday, as well as groups Florida Georgia Line and LOCASH for the September 16th concert at Ryman Auditorium.
The Ryman seats 2,800 people and fewer than 183 concert tickets were available as of Thursday night.
Davis says with the money that’s already been raised, they have been running planes filled with supplies to the Bahamas. They have also helped facilitate a boat transport with doctors and nurses on board and have sent six pallets of toys to kids who lost everything.
“I think there’s probably been over $1 million of in-kind donations already made by people in other parts of the country,” says Davis. “This is not just Nashville.”
Davis believes the Bahamas will need help for a generation as they attempt to rebuild.
“We’re just trying to give those people down there hope and let them know we are here for them,” says Davis.