The town of Springhill, Novia Scotia, is planning a tribute concert for U2 this Sunday in the hope that the Irish rock legends might pop in for a visit. The band will be playing in the nearby Moncton city, as part of their massively successful "360 Tour."
John Alderson from Springhill’s Mining Heritage Society spoke to the local paper, Times and Transcript. He said “I'm hopeful. Rumor has it that they have been playing ‘The Ballad of Springhill’ in concert warm-ups."
Springhill Mayor Allen Dill is even planning to make the members of U2 honorary citizens. He said “We thought it's a great way to pay tribute to the wonderful band and their inspiring version of our song. They have reminded the world of community's strength and we thank them so much."
For months Alderson, other society members and city staff have been sending invites to Bono, the Edge, Adam and Larry. Alderson said that although the band has acknowledged the invitation they have no confirmed their attendance at Sunday’s event.
Locals are crossing their fingers that they’ll get to see U2 live, playing “The Ballad of Springhill”. The song tells the story of the town’s 1958 mining disaster, known locally as “the bump.” This was the worst underground earthquake in North American mining history.
The quake trapped 174 miners and killed 75. The survivors who were rescued were trapped underground for six to nine days as the rescuers careful helped them escape.
The song was written by folk singer Peggy Seeger and her partner, Ewan MacCool. Over the years various groups, including Peter, Paul and Mary and later U2 performed the song. US first performed the song in 1987, as a tribute to Luke Kelly, the infamous Dubliners singer. (See video below of U2’s performance on ‘The Late Late Show’)
Val MacDonald, the daughter of Maurice Ruddick one of the miners who survived the quake, plans to be there on Sunday to join in the tribute concert and sing “The Ballad of Springhill”
She said “Those kinds of disasters we don't forget and that's why I think these songs are popular. When you get people from across the ocean thinking of us, especially U2, it's fantastic."
"I'll be there to honour our community and my father, who died in 1988," she said. "It's lovely that this little town has lots of attention through these songs."