The tragic state of emergency happening right now in Fort McMurray should already be common knowledge. Thousands of buildings have been burnt, and tens of thousands displaced, with damage done in the millions of dollars. In the wake of such a disaster, many Albertans have been opening up their homes and businesses to those fleeing the fire, offering shelter, supplies, and compassion, but the massive outreach to help our family, friends, and fellow Canadians has been shown across the country.
Here on the East Coast, there has been a surge of support through both donations and fundraisers. Halifax’s own GroundSwell Music has recently announced that from May 6th to May 16th, they will be donating the entire profit from their online store to the Canadian Red Cross’ Alberta Fires Appeal to aid those affected by the fire.
While the fires are happening on the other side of the country, they’re still something very close to the entire GroundSwell team. Everyone involved has at least one friend or family member who has been forced to leave their homes due to the devastation of the wildfires, which is hardly surprising, considering the number of Atlantic Canadians who had relocated to Fort Mac in search of work in the first place.
GroundSwell Music is the label of choice for many Atlantic Canadian musicians, including The Stanfields, The Town Heroes, Carleton Stone, Like a Motorcycle, The Mike Bochoff Band, and Rawlins Cross. With such an urgent cause, decisions behind this fundraising drive were clear. Ian McKinnon, found and president of Groundswell Music, commented, “As a collective, we all felt a very strong desire to reach out and try to help the people of Fort Mac. This modest offering is the most immediate action that we could take.”
In similar spirits, a disaster relief concert out of Newfoundland is being organized for Thursday, May 12th in Saint John’s by Factory and the Canadian Red Cross. At this time, the concert has been confirmed to be featuring Alan Doyle, Tim Baker of Hey Rosetta!, The Irish Descendants, HotxProxy, Matty Rose, Denver Drake, and Jeff Quilty, with the possibility of additional performances being announced as well. While certain details on the concert is still in the process of finalization, further information, as well as regular updates can be found on the concert’s Facebook events page.
The 2017 East Coast Music Award organization committee have also put together a benefit show on May 19th, at Saint John’s O’Leary’s Pub. The immediate and compassionate response is hardly surprising. Chuck Teed, one of the organizers, commented on the situation, stating: “Musicians are always quick to step up and support worthy causes, so this was an absolute no brainer. We probably could have done an entire weekend worth of music, based on the response we’ve received thus far.”
Teed isn’t wrong either, as can be seen from the massive amount of benefit show being hosted by Atlantic Canadian musicians for the people of Fort Mac. Concerts have been planned in Fredericton for May 12th at the Capital Complex, Charlottetown by the PEI Brewing Company on May 13th, Halifax on May 10th featuring Ben Caplan and Hillsburn, and May 13th featuring David Myles, Classified and friends, and in Sydney on May 15th at Centre 200.
As this is a continuously developing situation, new relief concerts are being planned and announced on short notice. As always, you can donate directly through the Red Cross, but here’s a chance to see some great live music and give to a good cause. If you notice that we’ve overlooked an event, please feel free to provide information.
Location: The Carleton Music Bar & Grill, Halifax, NS
Time: 8:00PM May 10th
Artists: Ben Caplan & The Casual Smokers, Hillsburn, Gabrielle, Papillon, Keith Mullins, Donald MacLennan
Location: Factory, St John’s, NFLD
Time: 3:00 PM – 3:AM May 12th
Artists: Alan Doyle, Tim Baker, Irish Descendents, HotxProxy, Matty Rose, Denver Drake, Jeff Quilty
Location: Wilsers Room, The Capitol Complex, Fredericton NB Time: 5:00 PM – 12:00 AM, May 12th
Artists: Jaclyn M Reinhart, Hum & Hollow, Sam Salmon & The Grand Manan Bandits, Keith Hallett, YORKS, Restore the Years, The Hypochondriacs
Cost: $10 recommended donation. $1 from every drink purchased will also go towards the Red Cross
Location: PEI Brewing Company, Charlottetown, PEI
Time: 7:00 PM – 2:00 AM, May 13th
Artists: Paper Lions, The Eastern Belles, Joey Kitson, The Wannabeez, Muddy Buddy, Vintage, Chas Guay, Ten Strings & A Goat Skin, Eddie Quinn, Tim Chaisson, Cynthia MacLeod, Amanda Jackson, Dylan MacPherson, Phase II, Kim Albert, MacBeth, Joey Kitson, Julien Kitson
Cost: $20 in advance
Location: The Fleet Club, Halifax, NS
Time: 7 PM – 1 AM, May 13th
Artists: Classified with David Miles and friends
Cost: Minimum donation of $25
Location: Mama’s Brew Pub Fredericton
Time: 1:00 PM, May 14th
Artists: Creative Differences, Mark Roberts,The Walking Contradictions, Sugar Bomb – Motown & Soul Tribute, Sleepy Driver, Mad Mary, Dapper Dan & the Drive In Classics
Location: Centre 200, Sydney, NS
Time: 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM May 15th
Artists: Matt Minglewood, Barra MacNeils, and more
Location: O’Leary’s Pub, Saint John, NB
Time: 6:00 PM – 12:00 AM, May 19th
Artists: Marcel Cassie & Christine Violette, Arianne Caissie, Brian Baker & the Memphis Kinghts, Interaction School of Performing Arts, Hilary Ladd, Jason Ogden/The Penny Blacks, Preeper, McKay & Charlton, Sadie Donaghue, Denise Foglein, Mike Biggar, Brent Mason Band
Cost: By donation