Donations were still being tallied, but Thursday’s wildfire benefit concert in Langley is being hailed a resounding success by organizers.
“It was a fantastic night,” said co-organizer Linda Corscadden, president of the BC Country Music Association. “Gabby’s [Country Cabaret] was full.”
During the worst of the fires last month, country singer Todd Richard of Harrison conceived of the idea to host a benefit concert that could help those evacuated and devastated by the B.C. wildfires. Corscadden and the BCCMA jumped on board, and multiple artists came together to put on a “hell of a show” late this week.
“We don’t have the grand total as of yet, we’re still waiting for one big sponsor,” but Corscadden said with “tons” of silent auction items and a packed house, she’s optimistic the team will have raised a lot and more importantly be able to help many hit hard by the wildfires.
The benefit concert featured Richard, as well as Langley’s Karen Lee Batten, Vancouver’s Washboard Union, the Chris Buck Band from Vancouver, and Maple Ridge’s Ken McCoy, Rollin’ Trainwreck, and The Heels.
“All the artists were fantastic and rocked the house. It was a packed venue and we just want to thank everybody who helped, all our sponsors, silent auction donations, Gabby’s volunteers, anybody who helped in any way, we want to thank them,” Corscadden said.
There was also a special guest who showed up that night to perform, raising the enthusiasm of the crowd.
“JoJo Mason even [a rising country music star] popped by and hopped up on stage as well, which was cool,” explained Batten, Corscadden adding that he sang a number with the Washboard Union.
“All the artists were amazing,” Corscadden said, including hometown’s Karen Lee Batten – who has since been asked to help organize and participate in another wildfire fundraiser for Williams Lake at the end of September.
While it is only an estimate thus far, Corscadden said Saturday that it’s believed about $13,500 in cash was raised from the concert.
“We’re so excited for that outcome. You know, I think that in this type of situation [where] anything helps, as I’ve found in the Paddington fundraiser,” interjected Batten, an award-winning Langley musician who helped organize a relief effort last December for the victims of the Langley City apartment fire.
“There were so many people who came out Thursday night, and more silent auction items than we could ever even imagine. It was packed in there. And all of them went out the door… We were really pleased with the outcome,” Batten said.
She’s so anxious to help all those traumatized by the fires: “Every little bit helps.
“Just even knowing that so many people are coming together… knowing that so many people are thinking about them and caring is a huge part of this…,” Batten added. “Just knowing that… we want to help them out as much as we can… I think that means a lot.”
In addition to collecting financial donations for the cause, there was a trailer on site during the concert that was loaded up with donations of any usable household items, non-perishable food, blankets, toiletries and other such items that can help those displaced or rebuilding. These donations were being dropped off throughout the day, Corscadden said.
“We got a lot of non-perishable food items from Buy-Low Foods and with that food and all the clothing items and toiletries and stuff” that she is hoping will further help out a lot of families.
With so many in need, the proceeds will be divided up between a few different fire relief efforts, Corscadden said.
“The Boston Flats Trailer Park Fire Aid is in Ashcroft – it’s the whole trailer park that got wiped out so money and supplies will be going there.”
Some funds, she added, will be going to the 100 Mile Haulers group that has continuously been hauling livestock for more than a month.
“And depending on what Boston Flats area can take for donated items, we will be extending the deliveries to 16 Mile, Clinton, and Loon Lake. It really depends on how much money and supplies are on hand,” Corscadden said. “Our main focus is Ashcroft with Boston Flats though.”
She and Richard are expecting to personally deliver the “goodies” and money to the various locations next weekend.