Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made a surprise appearance at Luke Bryan’s Jacksonville, Florida concert on Friday evening (Oct. 28). The Governor was on hand as Bryan revealed plans to donate proceeds from his upcoming Estero, Florida concert to the Florida Disaster Fund in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.
Fans attending the concert were surprised when Luke Bryan simply walked onto the stage rather than make a grand entrance.
Bryan then proceeded to welcome DeSantis to the stage. The “Country On” singer went on to share the news that he will donate all proceeds from his upcoming Estero show to the relief fund.
“Because of the hurricane they had to use the venue that I was performing in as a shelter. Well, we’ve been going back and forth, we didn’t know if it was too soon to play or not but the area of Estero said ‘get your ass to Estero.’ So, we’re doing a concert,” Bryan shared from the stage. “So, what we’re going to do is give a large portion of the proceeds in Estero, Florida… to everybody that’s bought tickets, kept the ticket, and spending the money… I’m donating that money to the great state of Florida.”
Because the concert was on the eve of the annual Florida-Georgia rivalry game, Bryan used the opportunity to support the Georgia Bulldogs by gifting Governor DeSantis with a Brock Bowers jersey.
DeSantis then addressed the crowd: “The state of Florida had to deal with the major hurricane last month and it’s not easy to deal with, it’s hurt a lot of people. Though I can tell you this, show me any other state that can rebuild bridges in three days. I don’t think you can find that.”
Following the show, DeSantis took to social media to thank Bryan for allowing him to share his stage.
“Thanks for letting me crash the party last night, @lukebryan!” DeSantis wrote on Twitter.
The news comes after Hurricane Ian postponed three of Luke Bryan’s Raised Up Right Tour dates. The country superstar’s rescheduled shows will now take place later this week: Nov. 2 in Estero, Nov. 4 in West Palm Beach, and Nov. 5 in Tampa.
Hurricane Ian made landfall on September 28 in Southwestern Florida as a high-end category 4 storm. The hurricane left many homes and businesses destroyed and also took the lives of at least 89 people, according to The Washington Post. It will likely take years to rebuild.
To date, the Florida Disaster Fund has raised more than $50 million from corporate partners like Walmart, Publix, Home Depot, Amazon and more.
The fund is the State of Florida’s official private fund established to provide financial assistance to communities as they respond to and recover from times of emergency or disaster. In partnership with public, private, and other non-governmental organizations, the Florida Disaster Fund supports response and recovery activities. Donations to the Florida Disaster Fund are made to the Volunteer Florida Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and are tax-deductible.
Following the rescheduled Florida concert dates, Bryan will co-host the 56th Annual CMA Awards alongside NFL icon Peyton Manning. The three-hour show will air live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena 8:00-11:00 PM/EST on ABC.