Country star Brad Paisley is making plans to help drive tourism back to Santa Barbara, California with a special “fan experience” following the recent deadly floods and mudslides.
The Whiskey Lullaby hitmaker and his wife, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, are among the celebrities with a home in Montecito, but their community was left devastated earlier this month (Jan18) after heavy rains caused havoc across Southern California.
Brad joined his neighbour, comedienne Ellen DeGeneres, on her Los Angeles-based talk show on Friday (26Jan18) to discuss their shared concerns for the area, which Oprah Winfrey, Kevin Costner, Rob Lowe, and Katy Perry also call home.
“The thing about this community is that it’s tiny,” Brad said. “I come from a town of about 2,000 people in West Virginia. The reason we chose to make our California place up in Montecito, and in Santa Barbara, is because it just feels like small town America by the sea.
“These people are tight-knit, it’s a great little place, and they are devastated. It is beyond description up there.”
The singer went on to reveal he wants to stage a big summer (18) fundraiser to help get local businesses up and running again, kicking off the tourism drive with a show at the Santa Barbara Bowl venue.
“This community, there’s so many blue collar jobs… (locals) are not able to do it; no one’s home,” Brad explained. “If you have a landscaping company, you’re not working; if you’re a waiter, you’re not working… so I want to do something to give back…”
He continued, “I think this summer, we’re looking at some dates to play something like the Bowl in Santa Barbara. I wanna have an experience with fans, where, let’s say, we ride the train up from L.A… go up, spend a couple of days (in the area).
“I’ll do a concert at the Bowl, and then watch Instagram, I’ll tell you where we’re gonna eat dinner, and then stay in the hotels, hang out, make it like an experience. (We can have) coffee at French Press.”
Declaring “I’m in,” Ellen responded, “That’s a great idea. Whatever we can do, we will do that and get tourism back up there.”
“Let’s celebrate the resurgence when this place starts to come back,” agreed Brad.
Paisley won’t be the first musician to use his talents to help out the Santa Barbara community – rocker Alan Parsons recently pledged to donate the profits from his Friday night (26Jan18) gig in California to first responders and local organisations serving the Thomas Flood victims in Montecito.