A star-studded outdoor concert featuring acts including Nickelback and Jann Arden on a balmy night in Calgary raised at least $1.5 million for flood relief in Alberta.

More than 30,000 people attended the Alberta Flood Aid concert — the biggest in the city's history — at McMahon Stadium.

Besides Alberta rockers Nickelback and Calgary-born Arden, many other Canadian stars took to the stage. Among them were Loverboy, Tom Cochrane, Matthew Good and Corb Lund.

Prime Minister Harper was a surprise guest at the show and spent the evening in the stands with Alberta Premier Alison Redford.


Prime Minister Stephen Harper gets a hug from a girl in the crowd as he attends the Alberta Flood Aid concert in Calgary Thursday. (Larry MacDougal/Canadian Press)

The funds raised will go into the Calgary Foundation's Flood Rebuilding Fund, which will funnel the money to several organizations helping flood victims across southern Alberta.

Comedian Brent Butt hosted the event, which started when Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi thanked the legions of volunteers who helped in the flood’s aftermath.

"That citizen covered in mud, and mosquito bites, cut and scraped and bruised, saving the home of someone she doesn't even know. Let's hear it for every single volunteer. Thank you all," he told the crowd.

He acted out a dream of introducing a band at a rock concert when he asked the crowd to "give it up for Tom Cochrane!"


Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi got to introduce Tom Cochrane before his performance at the Alberta Flood Aid concert Thursday. (Larry MacDougal/Canadian Press)

Nickelback blackout

The concert was broadcast across the country on television, but prior to Nickelback's performance the broadcast came to an abrupt stop, which left people at home wanting to watch the band wondering what happened.

It appears the band did not sign the clearance form to allow its performance to be televised.

"The @Nickleback exclusive performance was a request from the band. Sorry we couldn't live stream this portion of the concert," tweeted Telus, which was a broadcast partner for the event.

The reaction has been intense on social media. The band has not responded to CBC's request for comment.

Organizers are defending the band today, saying the headline act's performance was never intended for broadcast, as it was meant exclusively for those in attendance.


Mike Reno, lead singer of Loverboy, was among the singers entertaining the crowd of about 30,000 at the Alberta Flood Aid concert. (Larry MacDougal/Canadian Press)

With files from The Canadian Press