Florida Musician Stranded In Sioux Falls

Lead singer of 'The Grassroots' is having trouble finding a flight back home

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Nearly 5.6 million people were ordered to evacuate Florida. With the storm hitting hard Sunday, many of those people are left wondering when they’ll be able to return. That includes a Florida musician, who is forced to ride out the storm right here in Sioux Falls.

For the next 6 days, grabbing a cup of coffee at his hotel will be part of Mark Dawson’s daily routine.

“The airlines called me and said we’ve canceling all flights back into Florida through Friday,” says Dawson.

The downtime will be a bit of an adjustment, as Dawson is the lead singer and bass guitarist for the rock and roll band ‘The Grassroots’. The band scheduled a performance at the Clay County Fair 10 weeks back, before he knew a hurricane was heading toward his home.

“I will be safe, I will be fine,” says Dawson. “But I’m absolutely just heartbroken for my family, for my friends in Orlando and of course all of Florida.”

Normally, music can heal all of the Orlando native’s problems.

“I enjoy performing, it’s great,” says Dawson. “I kind of black out anything, it’s natural, I go up and have a wonderful time.”

But he admits Sunday night’s show, is going to be hard.

“I’m distracted,” says Dawson. “I’m hoping for the 45 minute slot or so, I can let it go. But as soon as I’m done, I’ll be right back on the phone calling central Florida.”

Dawson’s wife won’t be alone.

“She’s staying with friends, so that makes me feel better,” he says.

But it’s the unknown that is unsettling.

“You have that sense of helplessness, you know, I can’t be there if something goes wrong,” he says.

So while his trip out here was a mess in itself, “I ended up going Orlando to Charlotte, Charlotte to Chicago and Chicago to Sioux Falls,” says Dawson. The musician is looking forward to heading home. No matter what home will look like.

“That’s not really my concern,” says Dawson. “If it breaks, it breaks. That’s why you hopefully have insurance. Safety is the main concern, you can’t replace that.”

Even though the first available flight back to Florida is on Friday, Dawson actually has another show in North Carolina that day. So he likely won’t return home until next weekend. In the meantime, he says he’s happy to hang out in Sioux Falls.

“It’s a beautiful city, so I don’t have a problem staying here at all,” says Dawson. “Everyone has been super nice to me.”

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