Canadian musicians band together to help Fort McMurray fire victims

May 16, 2016

It’s been less than a week since an out of control wildfire devastated Fort McMurray, but the nightmare isn’t over yet. The air quality in the area is extremely poor, residents still have to be reunited with abandoned vehicles, and many families simply have only ashes to return to since a staggering number of homes burnt down. With an heroic effort by first responders and fire fighting crews, 85 percent of the city was saved, but that still leaves an unfathomable amount of destruction to assess and rebuild.

Many musicians around Canada have banded together to help with relief efforts, throwing fundraising concerts all around the country, including Moncton, Fredericton, Halifax, Charlottetown, Lethbridge, the Yukon, St. John’s, Saskatoon, and Cape Breton—which raised over $250K by itself. A few of the musicians involved have included freak-folk troubadour Ben Caplan, Great Big Sea’s Alan Doyle, and Tim Baker of Hey Rosetta! Paul Brandt and Aaron Lines have both offered their support to the town, as well as SNL alum Rob Schneider, whose benefit shows are happening in Edmonton tonight. Halifax rapper Classified released a video for his song titled “Work Away,” which features crooner David Myles on its hook, and announced that all the proceeds from the song would be donated to Red Cross.

Cape Breton folk singer Keith Mullins has released a song inspired by the blaze, the people affected, and those who have toiled to save and help start rebuilding the city, titled “Hard Working Hands In Tragedies.” You can see the live version from the benefit in Halifax at the Carleton below. To check out the studio recording, go to his ReverbNation page. The Globe & Mail has put together a handy article about how you can help Fort McMurray, or receive help if you need it.


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About the Author

Matt Williams

Matt Williams is a writer and photographer. Born and raised on the Prairies in Winnipeg, he’s slowly made his way farther and farther east, spending a few years covering music in Toronto before running clear out of country and ending up on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. In between, he’s made numerous detours, interviewing and photographing countless artists across North America and beyond. He heads up Amplify’s Instrumental series, where he talks with musicians about the relationships they’ve formed with their most important tools.

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