Briana Loveberry

Briana Loveberry

Saturday afternoon, Jacksonville residents can eat local food, listen to local music and give to a local family.

Bands for Bri is a benefit concert scheduled from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Jacksonville High School auditorium on Saturday. Proceeds from the donation-only concert will go to recent JHS graduate Briana “Bri” Loveberry, who was accidentally shot while in a car with friends in June. Loveberry was partially paralyzed from the waist down from the bullet’s impact with her spine

When she heard about the concert, she said she was overwhelmed.

“I was shocked,” Loveberry said. “I didn’t think anyone would want to do something that big for me.”

“When they reached out to me about it, I was almost in awe that someone would want to do that for us,” said JuBeshia Loveberry, Bri’s mother.

The idea for the concert was first put into action by Jay Stone, a former classmate of Loveberry’s at Jacksonville High School, and his band, The Sunshine Crooners, who will play at the event along with fellow Jacksonville-based acts The Sunsets and Mary Culpepper.

“He came to me and brought it to my attention what Bri went through,” said Phillip Renda, a member of the Jacksonville Arts Council who helped turn the idea into reality. 

After hearing about the concert, Russ Waits, Loveberry’s principal at Jacksonville High School, thought there was no place better to have it than at her old school.

“Bri is one of our graduates in the class of 2019,” Waits said. “She is injured and recovering, and we knew there was a desire to help. We heard about the plans for the concert and that they were trying to have it outside. We thought we’d offer to let them have it here, indoors in our cafetorium that has a stage.”

In addition to the musical acts, food from local vendors will be available in addition to concession stands. A raffle is planned with donated gift certificates from Dad’s Barbecue, Cooter Brown’s Rib Shack, Cut and Curl salon and Top of the River.

All proceeds, Renda said, will go to the BriStrong recovery fund.

 “It’s a great cause, and I hope it has a great turnout,” Renda said. “The amount of money for that long of a stay I’m sure was just devastating.”

After the incident occurred on June 12, Loveberry did not come home from the hospital until July 30.

“It’s been amazing to be home,” she said. “I got out of the hospital on the day before my 18th birthday. I didn’t want to be in the hospital on my birthday.”

JuBeshia Loveberry said Bri still goes to therapy twice a week, and she continues to show improvement.

“She’s getting stronger every day,” JuBeshia said. “She’s trying to get back to walking again one day.”

“It’s one day at a time,” Bri said. “Every day is different, but a better different.”

Loveberry said she and her family would be at the concert to thank everyone.

“It’s going to be weird,” she said. “I’m kind of a shy person anyway.”

“She’s going to get her rest, and she’s going to be at that concert tomorrow,” JuBeshia said. “I’m excited about it, I just hope I don’t cry.”

Contact Staff Writer Daniel Mayes at 256-235-3561 or danielmayesstar@gmail.com. On Twitter @DMayes_Star.

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