Written by  Elijah Morlett (The Lawton Constitution)

Three Nashville artists are traveling to Lawton to perform live at Elmer Thomas Park – the next staging area for an effort to raise funds to build underground storm shelters in Oklahoma schools.

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Country music artist Lee Roy Parnell of Nashville headlines Lawton’s own special benefit concert, “Shelters of Love,” July 27, with musicians Tony Arata and Greg Barnhill rounding out the trio of traveling acts.

“We are very excited to be bringing a professional show all the way from Nashville,” Kelly Sharp, the event’s promoter, said. “These people are very generous to come and perform for us. They work with the best talent and new talent in the industry. … They care so much about our great state and the wonderful people in it.”

Tickets are on sale and VIP tickets, which allow backstage access and access to an after party, are available. Fifty percent of all ticket sales will go directly to the OK Strong Disaster Relief, with a special designation toward storm shelters.

Local bands, Pointe Loma, Shawn Ryan Taylor, and Jelibred and Oklahoma City band Old School are slated to perform throughout the afternoon, helping to keep the live music going from the beginning of the event to the closing fireworks display.

“We’re going to have some really good blues, rock and country,” Sharp said. “It’s a combination of country, rock, blues, funk and acoustic songs. There’s going to be a lot of styles.”

Vendors will be ready to serve attendees at the venue, and a kids’ park will be set up – complete with inflatables and other activities. Sponsors of “Shelters of Love” include the City of Lawton, American Band Festival, Holiday House, July Moon Music Events, Aaron’s of Lawton, Crutchers, The Breeze 99.5 FM, Magic 95, and other local businesses and supporters.

Sharp, a Frederick-native and former Nashville music performer, spearheaded the idea of the storm shelter designation. After hearing about the news of Moore children who died at their school during the tornado, she said she wanted to help prevent the tragedy from happening in the future, and this concert is a way to begin that process.

“We are specifically asking for this money to go to school shelters,” Sharp said. “We will be in touch with legislators and representatives to make sure they know where we want this money to go to.” She said as the effort may take time, donating to the OK Strong Relief Fund will ensure that tornado victims receive aid regardless of the effort’s outcome. “Everybody is going to benefit from participating and helping other people,” Sharp said. “I know Lawton is a great community, and I want everyone to see that we are the ones to help our neighbors.”

WHEN: Saturday, July 27. Gates open and local acts begin performing at 4 p.m. Main acts begin at 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Elmer Thomas Park, Northwest 2nd and Ferris, Lawton, OK
ADMISSION: $35 for general admmission, $50 for VIP; and free for children age 5 and under.

TICKETS AND INFO: http://sheltersoflove.myevent.com/
Tickets also available at Aaron’s, 1205 N. Sheridan, and Crutcher’s, 313 SW C.
or at the gate on the day of the show.

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