Rock for Rain benefits Fort Mac evacuees

By Geoff Lee

May 17, 2016 9:47 AM

Trent Bloch-Hansen, right, from Artificial LIft goes through a sound check prior to a Rock for Rain concert he organized to help Fort McMurray residents displaced by wildfires. The venue moved inside the Vic Juba Community Theatre at the invitation of theatre manager Kevin Kraft.

A free Rock for Rain benefit concert held last Wednesday raised $2,945 in cash to assist evacuees from the recent wildfires in Fort McMurray.

Local bands, Artificial Lift, The Tarp Kickers, Zone and Dahlmer’s Realm played to audience of about 150 inside the Vic Juba Theatre on Wednesday.

The event, originally to be held outdoors at the Bud Miller All Seasons Park amphitheatre, was the brainchild of Trent Bloch-Hansen from Artificial Lift back on May 4.

“We just wanted to help out in a time of need, so it actually came together really quickly,” he said.

“Being musicians, we wanted to give back what we can and that’s our music.”
During a sound check session at Vic Juba, Bloch-Hansen said there was an instant response to the free concert on Facebook with word travelling fast.

“Hopefully, everyone shows up,” he said adding all of the donations would go to relief efforts by the Salvation Army.

The concert was hosted by Boundary Ford and had raised $7,900 in cash from its own relief efforts by the night of the concert with more to come.

Jade Lacey, the dealership’s marketer, said the event for him and Randy Westlake, the new dealership owner, was a chance to give back.

Both men are from Slave Lake, where a 2011 wildfire forced the complete evacuation of its 7,000 residents, who themselves benefited from the relief efforts of others.

“So it really hit home to us and we had to do everything in our power to help out the community of Fort Mac,” said Lacey, who brought his daughters to the free concert.

By then, Boundary Ford had loaded four trailers with relief goods and had even drove one load up to an early camp for Fort McMurray residents at Wandering River.

“It’s been the Lloydminster community helping out the most,” he said.
“‘Lloydminster ‘strong’ has been very awesome.”

Caleb McKenzie, who plays guitar with The Tarp Kickers, said it was a no-brainer to pitch in for the charity benefit to help displaced families.
“It’s free to the public and there’s going to be donations accepted at the door,” he said, moments after pulling into the parking lot.

“Most of the bands are selling their merchandise and taking half the profits and donating it towards the cause – it’s going to be awesome.”
Stephen Janes from the Zones knows some relatives who had to flee the flames in Fort McMurray and hoped the fundraiser would help make a bad situation get better.

“That’s why we came out tonight to support all the people up there that went through all this,” he said.

“It must be devastating, so it’s nice to give back to charity and help out our neighbours.”

Mike Scovell, the drummer, thanked Vic Juba for stepping up and offering to hold the event indoors.

“This just happened two nights ago that we found out that we could play in here” he said.

The man who made that happen is Kevin Kraft, the theatre’s manager.
‘Today we are doing our part to help the families that have been displaced at Fort McMurray,” said   Kraft backstage.

“Trent and I are friends.

“I was having my morning tea on Monday and I looked at the forecast and thought it might not be ideal to do something like this outdoors.”

He made a point of saying the facility is called a community theatre for a reason.

“This was a chance to do something in the community and support a great effort by a great group of musicians and give the city a chance to see a free show and show their support for Fort Mac,” said Kraft.

He noted the upper lobby of the theatre was loaded with silent auctions items to aid the cause.

The bands took to the stage shortly after 7 p.m.

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