While the wildfire still rages in Fort McMurray, local communities are banding together for YYJ 4 YMM, a benefit concert to raise money for relief from the ongoing blaze.
The six-hour concert, set to take over Centennial Square this Friday, came about from a conversation between Saanich Coun. Colin Plant and Esquimalt Coun. Beth Burton-Krahn the weekend the fires engulfed the northern Alberta municipality.
“We said, ‘We have to do something as a community to respond to this national devastation,’” recalled Plant. “Because both of us knew each other through the theatre world, we immediately thought it would be nice to put on some sort of event where people could come together, and we landed on the idea of a music concert.
“It is two things: raising money and coming together as a community to show that we care.”
The show’s lineup features folk-noir musician Oliver Swain, Daniel Lapp and the B.C. Fiddle Orchestra, Island Celtic band Cookeilidh, alternative trio Morning Show, folk rockers Grizzly Timbers, soulful folk-pop band Carlines, father-sons-daughter quartet the O’Brien Family and Jon Middleton of roots/folk/reggae duo Jon and Roy.
“We have a whole bunch of different styles of music that will appeal to a variety of different audiences, from families to young adults to adults and seniors,” said Plant, adding that all of the artists have offered to perform for free.
“All of the donations are going to go to the Fort McMurray Disaster Aid Canada fund,” he said.
The event will also see food trucks and a Phillips beer garden, with money raised from sales going toward covering the cost of the event. Plant noted many volunteers are involved in putting on the show and the event will have additional support from members of local fire departments.
Admission to the concert is by donation, and tax receipts will be issued onsite for those who donate more than $20. While the organizing committee hasn’t set a financial goal, Plant said they want to raise as much money as possible for Fort McMurray.
“I would hope we’d raise $10,000 or more,” he said. “I’m really hoping that we have a full house at Centennial Square.”
The show runs from 4 to 10 p.m. For more information, look up the YYJ 4 YMM event page on Facebook or call Plant at 250-514-1439 or Burton-Krahn at 250-686-0940.