Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium was packed with 32, 000 screaming fans on Wednesday, June 29th, as some of Canada's finest musicians came together to put on a relief concert for those effected by the horrors that ensued, due to the largest wildfire that our province has ever seen in the northern Alberta city of Fort McMurray.
At the beginning of May, the blaze forced the biggest fire evacuation in our province's history, displacing roughly 88, 000 people, and destroying thousands of homes and business in the process, as it engulfed approximately 1.5 million acres of land in uncontrollable flames. It was not reported until TODAY - July 5th 2016 - that the fire has finally been declared under control. For more information on the Fort McMurray wildfire, visit the Wikipedia page for the fire HERE.
Despite the chaos that unsettled so many lives, the people of Alberta, and many across Canada, began to show unimaginable hospitality to those who had no choice but to flee the inferno. Families making their homes available for other families, crews of people rescuing pets who were left behind, and even local businesses offering free meals and clothing to those who had lost everything. 54 million dollars was donated to the Canadian Red Cross by the citizens of Canada and many across the world, along with many other donations from various charities and organizations.
It wasn't much longer after the evacuation that the Fire Aid concert was announced. The news of Ft. Mac had spread rapidly across the nation, and hit home for many Albertan and Canadian musicians, so many were jumping at the chance to help rally people together to support those in need. The concert was also being broadcast to a local sporting field in the Wood Buffalo community, so those who were able to return to their homes in Fort McMurray could still enjoy the concert.
Headlined by Canadian superstars, Nickelback, the Fire Aid featured a handful of artists of all genres such as: Blue Rodeo, City & Colour, Barney Bentall, Corb Lund, Randy Bachman & The Sadies, Dean Brody, The Rankin Family, Dallas Smith, Alan Doyle & The Beautiful Gypsies, Ian Tyson, Brett Kissel, High Valley, Dear Rouge, Harlequin and Dustin Bentall. Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium quickly filled up as the afternoon progressed, lucky that the weather was on our side, as thundershowers were estimated for the evening - Regardless, I don't think any amount of rain could have put a damper on this gig. With Vancouver's own, Nickelback, ending the night on a high note, the vibe within the stadium was beyond words. Smiling faces, and people embracing was a pleasant sight, but the overall sense of support and community that was shown to each and everyone of the audience members. As a concert photographer, I always wish to see things of that nature with each concert I shoot... Well, my wish was granted I couldn't feel more honored to have been a part of this once in a life time experience.