After the Storm concert raises $50K for those affected by tornadoes

The After the Storm benefit concert raised $50,000 for tornado relief Saturday night.

The concert organized by the Ottawa music community and CUPE Local 503 featured the Jim Cuddy Band as headliners along with a who’s who of the local music scene including Matt Mays, Sarah Harmer, Kellylee Evans, Le Groupe Swing, Jim Bryson, Rebecca Noelle, Kira Isabella, Craig Cardiff and Jeremy Fisher. The concert at TD Place Arena drew about 5,000 people.

The money raised will go to the United Way and be used to meet the on-going needs of those affected by the six tornadoes that levelled parts of the Ottawa-Gatineau region on Sept. 21.

In the crowd Saturday night were people from the areas affected by the storm.

The concert is the brainchild of Erin Benjamin, the Ottawa-based head of Music Canada Live.

She told ARTSFILE that she was looking at footage of the damage caused in the storm when she decided to pick up the phone and rally the music community to the cause. The group joined forces with CUPE Local 503 and began planning the benefit.

On Saturday night she was celebrating the community coming together.

After the concert she posted on Facebook, “5000 people. $50,000. Tears, hugs, high-fives and handshakes = mission accomplished.”

The money raised will help with groceries, restocking food banks, supporting vulnerable seniors and providing counselling services to those affected on both sides of the Ottawa River.

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Peter Robb began his connection with the arts community in Ottawa in the mid-1980s when he was the administrator and public relations director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company. After a long career in journalism with the Ottawa Citizen where he served in a number of different posts he returned to the arts when he became the Citizen's arts editor.