Band now believers in goodness of others
Online plea raises cash to replace stolen laptops
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/11/2013 (3480 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
When four of their laptops and three of their passports were stolen in Chicago, Winnipeg indie-pop band Royal Canoe turned to crowd-sourcing.
The response from friends and fans overwhelmed frontman and founder Matt Peters and his bandmates Bucky Driedger, Matt Schellenberg, Derek Allard, Brendan Berg and Michael Jordan.
It did a lot to restore the band’s faltering faith in people.
In 16 short hours, Royal Canoe collected $9,600, well over their goal to replace their stolen laptops.
“That was an incredible feeling. On the one hand, you go through a traumatic experience (and) you lose that big, with all your possessions and there’s desperation there. On the other hand, it’s amazing that people cared enough… and more than anything we feel really lucky,” said Peters.
He said the band laid over in Chicago Monday after an extended tour, only to have their van broken into and four backpacks, filled with laptops and valuables, stolen. “It was a pretty big shock,” Peters said.
The thieves didn’t touch their instruments, but the laptops are essential to their music; they use them for their recordings and to store lyrics, including songs they’re composing.
“Like the 95 other days, we locked the van. Usually we had our backpacks with us, but we hid them and left them in the van,” Peters said.
An hour later, when they returned, it was too late.
“Our first reaction was not very polite. We were pretty angry,” he said. “If one of us had left a door open, that would have been pretty tough to recover from, but it was probably somebody trolling around and looking for some valuables.”
The quick turnaround was the silver lining in the sorry story, he said.
The band discovered the theft at 12:30 a.m. Tuesday. By Tuesday afternoon, at 5 p.m., they reluctantly turned to an online appeal on Indiegogo, an Internet crowd-sourcing site for raising money.
They set a modest goal of $7,800 — the cost of buying new laptops.
They drove back into Winnipeg, tumbled into bed and by Wednesday morning they’d discovered pledges of $9,600.
‘It’s amazing that people cared enough… and more than anything we feel really lucky’
— Royal Canoe frontman and founder Matt Peters
“We realized it was well over the amount,” Peters said, adding the band has posted their thanks and subsequently shut the site, feeling overwhelmed with kindness.
They have the next three months off in Winnipeg to rebuild their music database, work on new material and replace their passports.
Getting across the border was easier than you might imagine. Canada Border Service Agency officials allowed the band back in with the Chicago police report on the theft as proof along with other pieces of ID they had on them.
Until the mishap, the Winnipeg band was tasting success and the journey home was the cap to a solid year.
In September, the band released its sophomore album, Today We’re Believers, via Nevado Records and supported it with a three-month tour that would see them open for U.K. indie rock act Alt-J in a string of West Coast gigs.
That was followed up by dates in the Midwest and along the East Coast, with stops at Pop Montreal and Halifax Pop Explosion, before heading off to Reykjavik for the Iceland Airwaves Festival.