OTTAWA — Country music artists will be flocking to Ottawa on Sept. 16 to put on a concert to raise money for local farmers affected by this summer’s drought.
The event is called FarmAid and already announced for the event are names like Paul Brandt, Michelle Wright, Emerson Drive, Jason Blane, Gail Gavan and Ambush with more still to be announced. Mark McDonell, from Ambush, is excited to be part of the event. "We were approached by the Ottawa stadium owners and a local agent, Ron Sparling.
"We thought it was a great cause and really wanted to do it. I think it is great because it is really highlighting Canadian county music."
Organizing the event is the Ottawa Stadium Group and its chair Don Foley. "I have known Don for a while," explained McDonell. "When his group originally took over the stadium he had planned to do some concerts. This could be a potential launching point for them."
Foley is also a cash crop farmer in Carp who additionally owns a couple hundred head of beef cattle.
He explained his inspiration for the event: "I was driving through the country and saw the state of the crops. I had the venue for something like this so I said, ‘Let’s do it.’"
Organizers are optimistic that if they can attract 5,000 people, they could raise close to $100,000 for area farmers.
Foley says that the proceeds will go to the Ontario Farmers Association who, in conjunction with Mennonite Relief Disaster, will bring in hay to farmers in Eastern Ontario from the west.
A survey was done to see who in Eastern Ontario needed the most relief and the results will help dictate where relief specifically goes.
Foley says that it will cover an area from Kingston all the way up to Ottawa and out east to the Quebec border.
The concert comes just weeks after the city’s massive music festival Capital Hoedown was supposed to take place, Aug. 10-12, but was cancelled because of financial and zoning problems.
Preparations are well underway and tickets have already begun to sell. Tickets can be purchased online at www.farmaidottawa.com or at the Ottawa Stadium Monday-Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.