Calgary music community rallies around bar owner hit by house fire: ‘A beautiful collective effort’

The recent shutdowns amid COVID-19 restrictions have meant tough times for Mikey’s on 12th, a downtown Calgary bar that’s a popular live music venue.

“December, January, (there’s been) no income whatsoever here,” Mikey’s owner Mike Clark said. “So it’s really hard on people.”

Read more: COVID-19 taking heavy toll on B.C.’s working musicians

And now Clark has been hit by another blow: a fire at his home in Turner Valley, Alta. on Sunday Jan 17.

“I heard a noise upstairs and then I saw the smoke and said, ‘Well, let’s get out right now,’” Clark said. “The upstairs is basically gutted, lost everything up there. We have a 13-year-old cat that didn’t make it, but we had two dogs that made it out, so that’s good.”

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Clark, his wife and two grown sons, along with the two dogs, are now staying in a hotel, not sure when they’ll be able to get back into their house.

“We do have insurance, but I’m not sure how much that’s going to cover,” Clark said.

Read more: A ‘socially distanced’ concert — is this the future for music lovers?

In the meantime, he’s getting some help from a GoFundMe campaign.

The longtime Mikey’s on 12th employees who organized the campaign say the strong support it’s getting is well-deserved, after all the support Clark has given Calgary’s music community over the years.

“Hundreds of shows (featuring) new people showcasing their talent — opportunities he’s given to blossoming musicians in Calgary,” Emily Brown said. “He will do anything for anybody.”

Clark has also provided a lot of support beyond the music community.

Read more: COVID-19: New report shows viability of Alberta’s music industry as it looks to bounce back

“We’ve had cancer fundraisers,” Clark said. “One of our regulars, an old timer, couldn’t afford a wheelchair scooter, so we raised some money for him, and got him a new scooter. You know, just what community does.”

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The GoFundMe campaign is receiving donations from a wide range of Calgarians, including many in the service industry.

“A lot of the musicians that have performed at Mikey’s have been donating and spreading the word — we were even talking about doing a virtual concert.” Brown said. “It’s just a beautiful collective effort.”

Clark says he’s very grateful for all the support, especially from his longtime friends in the music community.

“Those are the people that, to me, is most humbling, because these guys don’t have a lot right now either,” Clark said. “So it’s very, very touching.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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