Austin/ Fun & Entertainment
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Published on June 19, 2024
George Strait Sets Attendance Record at Texas Concert as Austin's HAAM Provides Healthcare to Local MusiciansSource: Bede735, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

While George Strait was busy rewriting the history books with a record-breaking concert turnout, the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM) was making noteworthy strides of its own, connecting local musicians with vital healthcare services. In a monumental Saturday, Strait drew a colossal crowd of 110,905 at Texas A&M's Kyle Field, as reported by WOAI, eclipsing a 47-year-old attendance record previously held by the Grateful Dead. Meanwhile, earlier in the week, HAAM's annual "HAAM Loves You" event was providing complimentary health services to Central Texas musicians, according to a statement secured by KXAN.

While Governor Greg Abbott was busy praising the "unbelievable concert by the King," HAAM's efforts may not have been serenaded in song by 110,905 fans, but the impact on the music community is similarly resonant. Strait's historic concert, leaving the previous record of 107,019 fans at New Jersey's Raceway Park in the dust, coincided with HAAM's dedication to ensuring that another set of musicians don't have to sweat it out without healthcare. The coordination of their healthcare event in the backdrop of Strait's mammoth concert embodied a unique dichotomy - one stage celebrating decades of hits, another providing a safety net for those strumming the next potential chart-topper in relative obscurity.

HAAM's event did more than just offer a health fair; it was a lifeline. The group has provided support to over 7,100 musicians since 2005, enabling them access to more than $144 million in healthcare services. "HAAM had Corporate Battle of the Bands where we raised more than $275,000 that supports events like HAAM Loves You that we’re experiencing today," HAAM Chief Operating Officer, Rachel Blair, explained to KXAN. The Corporate Battle of the Bands itself, an earlier event, contributed significantly to the funding necessary for "HAAM Loves You."

Strait's astounding success on the stage, culminating with the breaking of a record set in the year Elvis Presley left the building forever, should not overshadow the triumphs of HAAM. George Strait, the "King of Country Music," with his newest album "Cowboys And Dreamers" set to drop on Sept. 6, keeps adding to his legend which includes induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2006. Similarly, albeit on a different scale, "HAAM Loves You" leaves a mark on the lives of those whose music careers are often precarious, offering care from dental to mental health – the kinds of services that allow for smoother guitar solos and clearer vocals, free from the worry of a health crisis without a net.