A Fire Aid Concert That’s Praying For Rain

By Keith Sharp

A line on the promotion poster for yesterday’s announced Fire Aid concert to be staged Wednesday June 29th at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium to raise funds for the beleaguered residents of Fort MacMurray says it all.  “The show goes rain or shine, we’re praying for rain!”

A who’s who of Canadian talent, many with strong Western Canadian ties have rallied to the call for this charity event with Hanna, Alberta’s Nickelback topping the bill with the usually philanthropic Toronto-based Blue Rodeo also donating their time along with Winnipeg’s Randy Bachman, Alberta rancher, Ian Tyson, Red Deer’s Dear Rouge and a strong Country music contingent of Dallas Smith (Langley BC), Dean Brody(Smithers BC), Brett Kissel (Flat Lake AB), High Valley (Blumenort AB) and Corb Lund(Edmonton) . Also on the bill is a strong Maritimes presence represented by Newfoundland’s Alan Doyle and Cape Breton’s Rankin Family.

In a prepared statement, Nickelback guitarist Ryan Peake said the band was motivated to help because of the tragedy which has affected the entire country. “The devastation, images and stories of the lives shattered by this resonate with everyone, but perhaps none more so than Albertans. When tragedy strikes at home, you help, it’s the least we can do and we are humble to be part of this event with so many talented artists.”
Live Nation organizers say they had no trouble attracting talent for the concert and that artists were calling to offer their services even before they knew an event was being planned.
Tickets cost between $35 and $99 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster. There is also a plan for people to purchase tickets and donate them to be distributed amongst residents of Fort MacMurray. Attendance is set for between 40,000 and 45,000 spectators with 100% of the funds raised to be distributed by Fort MacMurray United Way to aid the over 80,000 people who were evacuated from their homes May 3rd by the raging wild fire. A gradual return back home is planned to commence June 1st.
Major sponsors are being recruited and one of them, TD Bank of Canada has already donated $500,000. Aside from Live Nation, the event is being organized by the Edmonton Eskimos CFL club, Oilers Entertainment and Northlands.
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