Winnipeg indie pop band Royal Canoe have reached out to fans for donations to keep their tour alive after between an estimated $85,000 to $90,000 CAD in sound equipment, instruments, tour merch and personal effects were stolen from their trailer in Laval, Que.
“We had taken every precaution for our trailer,” keyboard and vocalist Matt Schellenberg tells Chart Attack. “[We had] A heavy duty trailer hitch lock so that it couldn't be lifted off the ball, so whoever took it would have had a team and power tools. We were in a well lit hotel parking lot - so we don't think there was an issue with our conduct.”
Royal Canoe’s Indiegogo campaign goal is $26,000. The band don’t want to ask for the full $82,000 because of equal parts foresight and humility.
“We are hesitant because, as people of privilege, we get to tour around the country playing music, and are so lucky to have all the support we do from our country and fans,” the band said in their campaign statement. "Unfortunately, we’ve done the calculations every way we can, and to continue doing what we do we need to raise some funds.”
A large portion of the gear the band brought on tour was insured. However, recent purchases including new stage equipment, vinyl and tour clothing were not. Royal Canoe said the value of the uninsured items is higher than the $26,000 donation goal they’ve set. “[$26,000] reflects what we see as the [dollar figure needed to replace the] essential items,” the band said on the fundraising site.
This isn’t the first time Royal Canoe has been robbed. In 2013 the band had laptops, passports and personal items stolen in Chicago. Fans were quick to donate over $10,000 USD, roughly a third more than they asked for at the time. Three years ago, the band offered goodies like shoutouts on social media, signed CDs and even music lessons. Today they’re providing a download link to two recorded songs meant for an upcoming album, now released as the Agassiz EP, named after their stolen trailer. (They ask that you download after donating any amount)
At the time of writing, fans have donated $6,189 CAD to the cause, just a few hours after the band created the fundraiser.
"I think it's absolutely amazing that our community is so supportive. It hasn't been much more than 2 hours, and we're already at that amount. The outpouring of support has been making me emotional. I almost cried yesterday at the Begonia show at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto, surrounded by people - some I didn't know - wishing us well. We feel very loved. We're very gracious for all these people who care so much about us being able to do what we do,” Schellenberg said.
Royal Canoe also said they will refund every donation in full should the trailer be recovered. They intend to keep their Toronto date tomorrow night at Lee's Palace.