Cohen Helps Fire Victims

The Australian music business is organizing benefit concerts for bushfire victims in the state of Victoria.

About 200 people died and 700 houses were lost after fires erupted Feb. 7 in tinder-dry conditions. The state experienced its hottest day on record (46C/115F).

Leonard Cohen’s camp has already made a hefty donation.

The artist, along with promoters Frontier Touring Company and AEG Live U.K., donated $200,000. Cohen just wrapped up a tour of Australia with Paul Kelly as support.

“Leonard loved his time in Australia on this tour and is shocked and deeply saddened by the news of the fires,” said Frontier Touring head Michael Gudinski.

Also planning benefits were the Music Managers Forum and the country music community. Various venues donated a day’s takings.

As another casualty of the blazes, Simply Red’s show at a winery outside Melbourne was canceled because police could not guarantee the audience’s safety.