UNITY ‑ When an earlier October date for a Gord Bamford concert was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns, the Unity Kin Club were unfazed. They knew a big-name Canadian country artist along with the desire to return to normal were key to hosting a successful live concert performance in Unity.
When the Bamford bus pulled into town the morning of April 9, the anticipation for the event turned into an explosion of excitement.
Kin Club member and project co-chair Nora Aldred said, “Thanks to Recreation Director Nicole Headrick, who brought the idea of hosting Gord Bamford after being approached by the Gord Bamford Foundation in the summer of 2021, the idea just snowballed.”
The first concert initially set for October of 2021 sold out quickly.
Aldred adds, “For the second round of sales we opened up additional VIP tables and meet and greet packages that went over very well. A bonus to selling out is a $1,000 donation from Gord Bamford Foundation to the Kin Club of Unity.”
This is a big undertaking for a small club of 20 members and it was estimated between the initial concert announcement preparation, the postponement reshuffling and preparing for the April 9 concert, more than 500 volunteer hours were put into organizing, setting up, manning the event and post-event cleanup.
The Unity Curling rink was a flurry of activity as the Gord Bamford team, along with Unity Kin Club, spent all day setting up and fine-tuning all the details for the evening’s show.
Attendees offer reaction
“I was a fan of Gord Bamford before and I am a bigger fan now,” says Kelly McLellan.
“We hadn’t been out to anything in some time so we decided we should spend a little extra … so my wife and I purchased a VIP table along with some local friends."
The McLellan’s VIP table purchase included a meet and greet opportunity with Bamford.
"The meet and greet experience was down to earth," McLellan says. "He saw my hat and asked me about welding and the oilfield, so just a nice casual conversation.”
McLellan commends the organizers and hosts.
“The Kin Club did a phenomenal job of hosting and there was no shortage of anything, no trouble and the overall event was very well run. I can’t say enough about how this club put this all together. Everything was clean and neat throughout the event and the Kin team and volunteers were all very happy and helpful.
"Gord did an amazing job of some cover tunes and the Dukes of Hazzard song was cool. He put on an outstanding show, the sound was fantastic and was an absolute gentleman with a terrific performance for the audience."
“This will probably be a once-in-a-lifetime thing for folks in Unity to have a concert like that with the live concert and stadium experience. It means a lot that Gord Bamford would make an effort to come to a small town like Unity to support our Kin Club and their efforts,” said another Unity fan in attendance.
Kin Club says the event took a team
The concert will be the biggest fundraiser/event the club has managed since their inception. It will be a great benefit to the Kin Club’s fundraising efforts to help them serve their mandate of “serving the community’s greatest needs.”
Community sponsorship was key to this event. A total of 21 sponsors in a variety of levels all contributed by lending support through product, funding and other assets. Kin Club members affirmed that without sponsorship contributions, they would have had difficulty making ends meet for some of the initial expenses as well as coming in with an excellent end result.
Fans were treated to two opening acts of CJ Sargent and Ryan Lindsay. Intermissions allowed fans to mingle, hit the artists’ merchandise booths, buy 50/50 tickets and just enjoy the atmosphere and experience of an in-person event once again.
The concert had no trouble drawing a crowd as Bamford is a Canadian country music artist with multiple awards and award nominations to his name. Popular hits like “Dive Bar” and “When Your Lips are so Close” hit certified gold status in Canada.
Unity Kin Club member, and project overseer Amanda Whyte said, “The first thing we are doing is finish fixing the fence at the Kin Park. The Park committee has also been considering adding additional playground equipment and building a gazebo or shelter at the Kin Park.”
“With COVID, it has been difficult for the Kin Club to raise funds and be able to pay our dues to Kin Canada. Having this event will allow the club to be more financially independent and not have to request sponsors and donations every time we hold an event. Funds will also go to ensure we are able to continue with the Kin Club Volunteer Award given to a UCHS student going to post-secondary education.”
The club also supports Kin Canada's national partners which include Cystic Fibrosis Canada-Saskatchewan Chapter, Canadian Blood Services, Hal Rodgers Endowment Fund (provides $1,000 scholarships to students pursuing post-secondary education) and Telemiracle.
Committee member Aldred reflects on the event
“Gord’s team was very organized with how they wanted things and his crew and opening acts were awesome to work with, very friendly, down-to-earth, and personable," Aldred adds.
Aldred says that the Bamford team offered many compliments and thanks for such a hard-working and helpful group as the night before they only had two people to unload and load equipment.
“Our youngest daughter, Sage, decided to draw Gord April 9 morning in hopes to have me ask him to sign it. She took one and a half hours to draw it, came to our business when he was there. She got to show him, and he signed it and got a photo taken with her. They then took the girls on the tour bus, let them see soundcheck and were just amazing to our two girls. An experience they won’t soon forget,” exclaims Aldred.
As part of the fundraiser, VIP table waitresses Nora Aldred and Jen Belcher were auctioned off to the two top bidding VIP tables to be their servers for the duration of the concert and this resulted in $900 generated towards the overall total.
Kinsmen, Kinettes and Kin Clubs across the province are still celebrating the record-setting Telemiracle 46 held in March. The ongoing Telemiracle success story, along with this concert, has the club hopeful to draw in even more members to join them. The meetings are held the third Monday of the month and people can check the Unity Kin Club’s Facebook page for all the details and latest updates from the club.