The Fort McMurray, Alberta wildfire of 2016 has been burning since May 1. It has been under control, at least, since July 5, but by that point, beginning May 1, it had already torn through 590,000 hectares (1,500,000 acres) of forests and city alike, destroying up to 90% of the homes in some neighbourhoods of Fort McMurray, and forcing a mandatory evacuation of 88,000 people. Though fortunately the fires killed no one, they became the single costliest disaster in Canadian history, attacking businesses (such as the oil patch) and farms, homes and communities. Around the world and across the country, people watched in horror as the disaster unfolded. Everyone wanted to do something, and that was true of Stageline as well.
We watched helpless, with the rest of Canada and the world, as the wildfires got worse at Fort McMurray. We wanted to do something, and we weren’t alone. Already, plans were developing to stage Fire Aid, a major stadium fundraiser in Edmonton, Alberta, to benefit victims of the disaster. Just as we began discussing how we could contribute, we were contacted by Live Nation Canada to help and provide performance stages. On the morning of June 29, these stages were on the field of Commonwealth Stadium and ready to host huge names like Blue Rodeo, Nickleback, Randy Bachman, and Ian Tyson, along with many others.
The crowd of 30,000 didn’t care that it was pouring rain—at that point, rain was what everyone in the province of Alberta wanted. They raised well past the $2-million fundraising goal knowing that fires like Fort McMurray’s could have happened in a lot of places in Canada—Fort McMurray proved that even the cities weren’t safe. So as they gathered in the rain to enjoy great Canadian music on Stageline stages, there was no doubt that they were making an example of how to give back when the greater community is in need. That opportunity to give is one that Stageline was happy to take part in. The desire to help has always been part of Stageline’s values. We’re believers in the idea that businesses are community members, and should give back to the communities.
Giving back isn’t about one contribution or another, it’s about an attitude of serving the community. For us, that’s just business as usual.