Nearly two weeks ago our hometown of Calgary was hit by the worst floods in its history. The Bow and Elbow rivers went over their banks and ravaged parts of downtown and many of the inner city communities near the water. It was devastating. The core became a ghost town.
On Thursday June 20 most of the Punchers went to see The Jon Spencer Blue’s Explosion close down the Legion. That night word started spreading that venues were losing power throughout downtown. By Friday SLED Island’s organizers were heartbroken to cancel the festival which meant that our Saturday show at the Palomino had to be kiboshed with everything else. “Flood Island” shows popped up at people’s houses and apartments. And on Sunday one big SLED/music community fundraiser was put on at The Commonwealth (one of the few bars that retained power). The SLED bands that played donated their fees and more than $18,000 was raised for flood relief. It was a stacked line-up and packed house bringing a ray of sunshine during otherwise dark days.
Big thanks to the LBJ’s, Trigger Effect, MANcub, Temple, War Baby, Napalmpom, High Kicks, Cowpuncher, Matt Masters, Reuben and the Dark, No River, Ghostkeeper, UN, The Diet, Gold, Cop City/Chill Pillars, Lucid44, Bleachers and Cousin.
Our band was directly impacted by the floods. On Friday I had to evacuate my downtown apartment to our drummer Jeff’s house. We tried to get across the river, and out of the city, to play Olds’ Summer Oldstice festival but the bridges and highways were closed. We had to call the organizers to regrettably cancel our appearance. That was small potatoes compared to the devastating losses that happened not just to property in our city, but throughout southern Alberta in Canmore, High River, Bragg Creek and Medicine Hat.
A lot has happened since the floods. Calgary has come together to help its neighbors and our spirits are high. The volunteerism and empathy has been incredibly moving.
The official Stampede slogan is “Hell Or High Water” and Calgarians are determined to bounce back with spirits lifted. We’ll be there with everyone else this Friday.