Roughly one month ago Calgary and much of southern Alberta experienced the “flood of the century.” It will take time, effort and a considerable amount of cash to repair the damage and get people’s lives back to normal. Canadian musicians are helping to raise money and heal the psyche of those affected.
The rock band Rush already held a concert on July 24 in Red Deer, with over $500,000 being contributed to the cause. Originally planned for the Saddledome in Calgary, the concert had to be moved because of damage in that venue. High River, which is built on swampy land and saw the worst of the flooding for a town of its size, will see $125,000 of those funds, with the Canadian Red Cross receiving $400,000. Smaller local charities will benefit from an additional $50,000.
More benefit concerts are planned in the southern Alberta area. The next is on August 4, called the Halo High Water Benefit. Participants include Carolyn Dawn, Susan Aglukark, Dean Brody, Paul Brandt, Jim Cuddy, George Canon, all helping to raise money for the Calgary Foundation’s Flood Rebuilding fund. This concert is already sold out but can be seen on CBC-TV and Aboriginal Peoples Television on Sunday night. CBC Radio will also do a live broadcast.
Actor Tom Jackson played a major part in putting the August 4 concert together. He helped raise funds for the Red River floods in 1997. In that case the water overflowed the banks and didn’t stop until five kilometers of the surrounding landscape were inundated. Jackson helped raise $800,000 in flood relief in one night. That’s a considerable step toward covering the $3.5 billion needed to cover the damage from that flood event.
Roughly two weeks later, on August 15, another concert is scheduled to benefit that same foundation. Brent Butt, best known for the “Corner Gas” comedy series, will host. Participating artists include the Sheepdogs, the Sadies, Loverboy, Jann Arden, Ian Tyson, Mathew Good, Corb Lund, Colin James, Tom Cochrane and Randy Bachman. The show will be performed at the McMahon Stadium. Ticketmaster is providing ticket sales with no service fees being charged. Prices start at $30 per ticket.
Jann Arden, a Calgary native, was particularly moved by the devastation. She visited some friends in Bragg Creek and was overwhelmed by the sheer power of Mother Nature. But Arden also picked up on the community spirit displayed by the number of volunteers that came to help residents dig out. High River, already noted, Canmore and some of the First Nations reserves saw various degrees of damage.
Another concert is scheduled for August 7 in Banff, headlined by Leslie Feist, also a Calgary native that has brought home both the Juno and Polaris prizes. Though on the books for a while and not originally intended as a benefit concert, Feist announced that all proceeds from her show will be sent to the Calgary Drop-In and Rehab Centre.
Rock musicians, country artists, folk legends and actors are all coming together to help those in southern Alberta recover from this trying time. The money raised is much needed. So is the respite from reality and uplifting feeling provided from listening to some really good music.