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‘It’s all love.’ Yellowknife performer brings live music to evacuees in Edmonton


A Yellowknife musician is creating space for other evacuees to ease the tension with jam night sessions.

Layne Rybchinski drove to Edmonton from the NWT capital last week, as the city’s more than 20,000 residents evacuated to different cities.

After travelling south, Rybchinski, who regularly hosts jam nights in Yellowknife, asked evacuees if they would be interested in joining him for a night of live music at River City Revival, underneath the Starlite Room.

The crowd outside Edmonton’s River City Revival. Photo: Layne Rybchinski

“I decided that I wanted to bring Yellowknife under one roof … it was a spur-of-the-moment thing,” he said.



Close to 50 people showed up to see him perform.

Rybchinski said the support on his Facebook feed was overwhelming, which motivated him to do more of the sessions – with one coming up on Sunday at the same location.

Rybchinski began hosting live music nights last year, along with city councillor Cat McGurk, at the Kilt and Castle Pub in Yellowknife.

At the time, he said, the city was missing a hub for live music and he wanted to bring that back.



“I love the North. North is my home. I love the people. I love everything about Yellowknife. If it’s going to be my home for the rest of my life, I want to make an impact on that community,” Rybchinski said.

Edmonton’s River City Revival. Photo: Layne Rybchinski

After arriving in Edmonton, Rybchinski said he noticed an intense atmosphere with many evacuees struggling to find accommodations.

He said the idea behind the jam nights was to create a temporary distraction from the wildfire situation back home.

“It was important not to talk about that, because we’ll have every other day to figure that out,” he told Cabin Radio.

“So there was a lot of hugging going around, we were all hugging each other.”

Rybchinski said what pushes him to continue hosting jam nights is the look on peoples’ faces.

“It’s all love,” he said.

“I want us to just continue supporting each other until we get out of here.”