🎤🇨🇦 Support Canadian Venues // Get L O U D

Hindsight, eh. Little did I know it was going to be one of the last shows I would have the privilege of attending for an indefinite amount of time. I am so grateful for that night of music and friends.It’s a grave understatement to say I am anxiously looking forward to the next time we can all share the same space and soak in the soothing and healing powers of music together.

I was spending the evening at Toronto’s Dundas St. West institution, Hughs Room Live (HRL). It was the middle of Yamaha Drum Week, featuring the mega talented Larnell Lewis and Rich Brown. The show was intimate, but there was a weird tension in the air. It was March 11 afterall, the day the World Health Organization declared a pandemic, and all non-essential businesses were merely days away from closing for an indefinite amount of time.

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Crisis

It was no secret that the city of Toronto was already facing an independent venue crisis prior to pandemic closures. Property tax rates have inflated commercial rents beyond an unsustainable threshold. In fact, HRL had already decided to close it’s doors at the end of the month due to rent increases. This is on top of a list of other critical music infrastructure that the city of Toronto has lost in recent memory including:

The City of Toronto’s Music Advisory Council has is working with city hall to adjust the property tax structure – giving property owners a break if the building houses a live music venue (of which there is technical criteria, the sports bar with a cover band on Saturdays does not count as a venue).

This is a great step in the right direction, but more needs to be done on a national basis to help the venues that foster the thriving music scene we love to boast about (I swear, any and all patriotism I have is 100% music driven).

Essential

Small and mid-sized venues are essential infrastructure in the progression of an artists career. For artists early in their career who are finding their sound and their crowd- having a few people in a small room is a way better experience than playing to a few people in a big room. Smaller spaces allow for more audience engagement and a sense of intimacy between fans and the performers.

You’re not likely to get booked at a stadium if you can’t fill a mid sized room. Additionally, some music just doesn’t suit a stadium. One of my least pleasant concert experiences was seeing my fav band at the time (The Black Keys) at Bell Arena in Montreal, QC in 2011. It was such a corporate atmosphere, the people rude, the beer was far too expensive, and most importantly: the music just didn’t sound right. The special ingredient was missing.

The government in the UK has already done the right thing: they’ve announced a £1.57 billion support package for the creative industries.

Get L O U D & Take A C T I O N

https://www.supportcanadianvenues.ca/action

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