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Dustin Farr performing at the Mountain View Tornado Benefit Concert at the Carstairs Memorial Arena on July 29, 2023

From Twister to Tunes: Community Rallies At Benefit Concert

The tornado caused damage to homes and lives, but the neighbours responded with love and raised over $100,000

On Canada Day, a powerful tornado struck near Carstairs, Alberta, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. According to Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), it was the province’s strongest tornado since the infamous “Black Friday” tornado hit Edmonton in 1987. 

With wind speeds reaching a staggering 275 km/h, the Carstairs tornado, rated as EF-4, wreaked havoc as it moved across a 15-kilometre path, causing damage to homes and properties.

The tornado’s impact was significant, damaging 12 homes, three destroyed and four deemed uninhabitable. Additionally, 25 cows, 20 chickens, and a horse tragically died. One person suffered minor injuries amid the chaos, but no fatalities were reported.

Aerial view over Carstairs, Alberta showing showing approaching tornado on July 1, 2023
Aerial view of the Canada Day tornado near Carstairs, Alberta | Facebook

The community, however, did not let the disaster dampen their spirits. Instead, they rallied to support those affected and organized a remarkable fundraising event for the tornado victims. The Mountain View Tornado Benefit Concert, held at the Carstairs Memorial Arena on July 29, symbolized hope and unity.

The concert featured an incredible lineup of musicians, including Blake Reid, Liz Christiansen, Grady Brown, Nolan Ray, the Traveling Mabels, Prairie Mountain Fiddlers, and Dustin Farr, one of the event’s co-organizers. 

Poster for the Mountain View Tornado Benefit Concert at the Carstairs Memorial Arena, July 29, 2023
Mountain View Tornado Benefit Concert Poster | Facebook

What started as a simple idea to use music to bring people together for a good cause quickly blossomed into a massive five-hour event. The response from the community was overwhelming, with numerous sponsors and volunteers stepping up to make the concert a resounding success.

The outpouring of support from surrounding communities, including Olds and Airdrie, was phenomenal. Local businesses and individuals graciously donated items for the silent and live auctions, and others offered their time and expertise in sound and lighting to ensure the concert’s success.

Entry to the concert was by donation, and attendees generously contributed to the cause.

The goal was clear: to help the affected families recover from the devastation and rebuild their lives. The community’s dedication to assisting their fellow neighbours demonstrated the true spirit of unity and goodwill.

In addition to the concert’s success, cleanup efforts continued as people volunteered their time to help those directly impacted by the tornado. Even those not directly affected pitched in to support their neighbours, illustrating the strong community pride permeating the region.

By the end of the uplifting event, an astonishing sum of just over $100,000 was unofficially raised. The funds collected will be distributed through Samaritan’s Purse to aid the affected families in their recovery directly.

Councillor Greg Harris, representing Mountain View County Division 2, expressed his immense pride in the community’s response. He shared that he had personally spoken with one of the affected families who were overwhelmed by the generosity and support they received from their community.

Despite facing one of the most powerful tornadoes in decades, the community stood strong, demonstrating that unity and kindness are the hallmarks of Albertans. 

Image showing Crowd at the Carstairs Memorial Arena taking in the Mountain View Tornado Benefit Concert on July 29
The crowd at the Carstairs Memorial Arena taking in the Mountain View Tornado Benefit Concert on July 29 – Nathan Cooper | Facebook

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