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EDM events banned on CNE grounds

Posted by Benjamin Boles / April 12, 2014

EDM ban CNEDance music fans in Toronto felt like they'd fallen into a 90s time warp Friday morning, after dependably-erratic City Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti revived the city's long dormant war on raves and managed to convince the Exhibition Place Board to vote 4-3 to ban electronic dance music events on CNE grounds

The move was spurred by complaints from Muzik nightclub, which also operates on CNE grounds and plays dance music, and is a frequent haunt of Mayor Rob Ford. In fact, the Mayor visited the club just last week, after causing a scene at the ACC during a Leafs game and then hiding out in his office until the wee hours.

EDM ban CNEMuzik also provides the catering for the Mayor's Ford Fest event, and owner Zlatko Starkovski is a personal friend of Rob Ford. Last May, an attempt by the Exhibition Place Board to grant Starkovski a ten year lease were put on hold, after concerns were raised that there was not a competitive bid process being applied. It is unclear whether Mammoliti and Ford are currently still on good terms, but they have close allies in the past.

Mammoliti and Starkovski argued that all-ages electronic music events were overrun with pedophiles and drug dealers targeting children, bringing to mind the comically exaggerated anti-rave hysteria that gripped city council back in 1999, when a similar debate raged over whether to allow dance parties on city property. Councillors Gord Perks and Mike Layton argued that this new ban ran counter to the harm reduction policies that came out of that original process, and that the city would be throwing away $1 million a year in revenue, not to mention the perception of favouritism.

EDM ban CNEPerks himself has previously been the focus of anger from the dance music community for his own efforts to restrict the concentration of bars and limit dance floor size on Queen West in his Parkdale ward. Those restrictions hit a roadblock last week, when the AGCO declared that they would no longer be enforcing those types of demands, leading council to retaliate by making new changes that will make it much harder for any new liquor licenses to get approved.

Insert your favourite Footloose reference here.

Photo from Facebook. Follow Benjamin Boles on Twitter: @benjaminboles



Dina / April 12, 2014 at 06:34 pm
And Muzik nightclub attracts whores that look like they're being human trafficked
By the Eastern European scumbag dealers they are with...appalling
edm sucks / April 12, 2014 at 07:18 pm
Thank you for banning awful music!
Steven / April 12, 2014 at 07:31 pm
There are no homes in the area, so moise complaints would be zilch.
RS / April 12, 2014 at 07:46 pm
Did I wake up back in 2000?
Cronyism / April 12, 2014 at 07:47 pm
How can people say that this is only happening because of the Muzik Nightclub owner's personal ties to city officials? This whole thing is being headed by Councillor Mammoliti, who as we all know cares deeply about public decency and what our children are exposed to....

oh wait.....
Moneehsa / April 12, 2014 at 07:54 pm
Mammoliti is the worst sort of politician. The kind that thinks telling people what they can and can not do is what governance and representation is about.

I wish people were smarter when they voted and we wouldn't have to endure scumbags like him.
jd / April 12, 2014 at 09:06 pm
Where do the Ford's stand on the issue and their whole competitive bid process.

I guess no where with getting their food and beer provided at their picnics by Muzik.

This kinda crap stinks. Gravy train indeed...
Stu replying to a comment from Remenber when... / April 12, 2014 at 09:40 pm
@Remenber when... Have you ever been to a rave? First off, this city doesn't really have anymore true raves. There are warehouse parties and underground events, but "raves" are long gone. It's a blanket term used by those who have no clue to categorize a scene they don't frequent nor understand.

Mammoliti is a muppet, and so are those swayed by his opinions to ban electronic events on city property. It's preposterous and ridiculous to think that a city this size doesn't support the electronic music movement. When did drugs and sexual assault only happen at "raves"? In case you haven't noticed, drugs are prevalent all over the city, not just electronic music events.

KevinN / April 12, 2014 at 10:05 pm
Isn't AVB playing there this Easter weekend? Who cares, most of the better EDM parties are NOT on CNE ground anyway. I would only go there for a big party, so really no loss.

And I never go to Muzik anymore. I know Zlatko personally so I find this article rather amusing. I should mention it to him.
Thepotorthekettle? / April 12, 2014 at 10:44 pm
If Muzik doesn't want drug pushers on CNE grounds, why are they always letting the Mayor in?
Mark replying to a comment from Moneehsa / April 13, 2014 at 09:56 am
You KNOW there's a crack smoking guy in office, riiiiiiiight?
David C / April 13, 2014 at 10:01 am
Does City Council have a right to over-ride this strange decision? (Or can they simply replace their reps on the Board and have another vote?)
Wade / April 13, 2014 at 10:27 am
Maybe people should learn how to have fun and make music that doesn't involve being high to enjoy it.
stella / April 13, 2014 at 10:42 am
Dear Remember when,

"Don't think it's right, either, for taxpayers to have to clean up the messes raves leave behind, either"

? in what world do you imagine that someone who rents a venue from anyone is not responsible for cleanup costs. security and cleanup are all paid for by the renting group, it does not cost the city anything to have these events put on by other people thus the comment about the city losing 1 million in reven

holding these events at places where the highest will happen regardless, and kids/people will use drugs wherever they please.
Ukraine, Syria, / April 13, 2014 at 10:51 am
First world problems.
Not really Footloose / April 13, 2014 at 02:17 pm
I've never been a fan of all ages events to begin with. There's something creepy about going to a show with kids. Considering what really goes down at an EDM event, I completely support the city's decision. Kids can't party at a bar, so why allow them to go to a completely unregulated drug fest. It's just irresponsible on the city's part to allow it to happen.
Peter Kropotkin replying to a comment from Not really Footloose / April 13, 2014 at 02:52 pm
So, I guess that you want kids to grow up on shitty pop music (Bieber, Lady Gaga, etc.) instead of great EDM, huh? Nice.
Gordon replying to a comment from Peter Kropotkin / April 13, 2014 at 04:14 pm
You lost me at great EDM.
No / April 13, 2014 at 08:18 pm
well. Lets ignore the fact about that the music festivals play edm because the main reason is the drug abuse. First of all ive been to many, there isnt MUCH drugs anyways and you only catch a few of them. How about you just make an age limit to these things? If youre going to ban music festivals and concerts you might as well ban clubbing and normal concerts too. Drug abuse happens everywhere. Might as well ban everything. and to 'make teens safer' regardless these teens that abuse drugs at these festivals do it on their own time too. Absolutely pathetic this city is.
Drama / April 13, 2014 at 08:24 pm
I heard there was an incident that happened not long ago. Whether right or wrong, or whether the parents or CNE is responsible, a young underage girl from Oakville when to an all ages event at Muzik that her parents assumed was safe as its presented as all ages and on the CNE grounds not in some unlicensed warehouse. Anyway the girl ended up drugged and having an attack and I believe was OK in the end. But she was underaged, and her parents got a call that something was going down with their child and rushed in to try and save her but the incident was already over and she was in the hosipital by the time the arrived....
Drama replying to a comment from Peter Kropotkin / April 13, 2014 at 08:31 pm
Who cares what music kids grow up listening to ts always been an issue for generations and it doesn't matter. Once you actually grow up and mature what music you listened to in your teens and 20's no longer defines you, your beliefs and your attire. And really yes I'd rather kids listen to music that has rhythm and lyrics like Bieber, Lady Gaga so what? People grew up listening to Boy George, Billy Idol, the Beatles, Boys 2 men, Spice Girls, Sex Pistols, Nirvana, Tiffany, The rolling stones, so what? Every generation that listened to music of the time had adults screaming that's not music and that's just pop, etc.etc.
bobs / April 13, 2014 at 09:43 pm
sick of this city
Spike / April 14, 2014 at 12:58 am
I've said it before and I'll say it again; with regards to the way dance music is treated, there are too many white people living in Toronto (that is, too many white people deciding what we can be and do who are elected officials.)

Many of them have no idea how to exist in the 21st century, think that having fun is bad, want only to have 'fun' that's old as the hills (all rock and roll based, or so it seems), think that any new music will make their kids drugged or delinquent (or drugged AND delinquent), and so this is communicated in the ways nightclubs and new music genres are treated; with punitive laws and restrictions (nonsense about 'too much noise' being a prime reason for said lows and restrictions) and now, an outright ban in the case of the CNE lands now being made off-limits.

Somebody once said that we need term limits for city councilors in Toronto, and I agree with that, but we also need (as Kristyn Wong-Tam once said) to look at the possibility of lowering the voting age to 16; we need younger people making decisions at the ballot box for themselves so that they can have a city that they want to enjoy, with laws that don't restrict everything made up by older people (and elected councilpersons) out of touch and out of step with the 21st century and who want Toronto to stay 'the way it was' before 'those kids with their hippity-hop music made it worse.'
stella replying to a comment from Remember when... / April 14, 2014 at 09:52 am
yes could say also say this about any other concert event in the city. I appreciate this conversation and am curious what you think of a missed 1 million in revenue. While I can agree that there are victims that may need victims services in some cases I believe that the police are paid by the venue from my knowledge. additionally, the 1 million in missed revenue could have gone to other victims from unrelated problems such as homelessness, drug addiction, and victims of sexual abuse. It's just a thought, i am all for the city making money off private investors as long as the proceeds benefit Toronto.

It is well documented that many victims of sexual abuse and rape are victimized by people that they know. If you read the report made by the original complainant it states he was worried the event would hinder his revenue at the other club WHICH also holds EDM events and is known to serve alcohol and have people do drugs (ask anyone). I think the real issue here is favouritism and the flexing of political muscle to get some financial gain for one club owner in Toronto,

Guy / April 14, 2014 at 12:34 pm
Feel like there's a lot of rose coloured glasses in this comment section. I can tell you that back when I was going to all ages events in the early 2000s as a teenager myself, I knew one or two sober people, and the rest were on whatever drugs they got their hands on. Everybody at these things were off their face on ecstasy (aka mdma aka molly), ketamine, crystal (aka meth aka speed) dxm, lsd, with a bit of weed here or there. Don't get me wrong that the music was a big part of the events, but they went hand in hand with drug abuse, and that's just how it was.

As for danger related to sexual assault, I don't know of it happening first or even second hand at any event I went to. There were definitely thugs and danger related to that though (e.g., being robbed)

I wouldn't exactly call the events safe, they were often shut down early at like 4am, leaving young people out in the city in the middle of the night. Pretending that bad shit doesn't happen in clubs, or that they don't attract drug dealers is ridiculous. One of the worst memories I have of a party was an all ages event held in a club that had its regular alcohol drinking patrons there as well, causing tons of problems, pushing girls around, punching them, etc. All-ages also means 16+, by the way.
Stu replying to a comment from Rememer when... / April 14, 2014 at 12:50 pm
@Remember when... I never implied that I know more than you. Like you, I am simply voicing my opinion and disagreeing with yours. You never answered my question – Have you ever been to a rave or electronic music event? I don’t need a full dossier on your comings and goings, just a simple “yes” or “no.”

How am I justifying your allegations of rapes and drugs at these events? I can’t deny the drug use, but again, you can’t deny that same drug use all over the city, in businesses and various clubs and bars. By your reasoning, should all these places be shut down as well? I can’t confirm nor deny sexual assaults at “raves”, and neither can you. Just because you read a report or see a news story doesn’t make it true for the entire scene.

The only thing I agree with you on is that everyone (I’d suggest many is a more apt word) in Toronto is a music junkie. As for “them” not only being against electronic music, I wholeheartedly disagree. As for your taxpayers cleaning up the messes at raves comment – this clearly shows you have no clue about electronic events. The city doesn’t send in janitorial services after a party, the promoter generally arranges for it.

It’s clear to me that you have no clue as to what you’re talking about when it comes to electronic events. If a rock concert had drug use (you don’t say?!) and alleged sexual assaults, would you be calling for their ban as well?

I’m all for debate, but at least investigate the other side before jumping up on your soap box.
notthatdumb / April 14, 2014 at 04:29 pm
I seriously hope that wasn't serious. Sarcasm or trolling perhaps? Raves don't bring drugs to the city any more than weddings, charitable balls and marathons do. Drugs are brought to the city because there's a demand for them by PEOPLE. Eliminating the event will just drive the event underground and do nothing to address the demand.
Mike in Parkdale / April 14, 2014 at 08:35 pm
I've seen worse behaviour at rock shows than at dance events. Hell, I've seen WAY worse behaviour at sporting events. I had comp tickets to that first UFC event at the skydome and there was more trouble there than at all the dance events (and rock events) I've ever been to.

Let's not get distracted from the real issue - some nightclub is using their influence to ban the competition with b.s. Scare tactics. This is the exact same shit the right wingers got all worked up about in the last election, except their selective memory prevents them from seeing that the shoe is truly on the other foot now. Mamo's wearing invisible clothes on this one.
Tricky Kidd / April 15, 2014 at 09:05 pm
This is great news: raves belong in underground rooms, factories, word-O-mouf only invites and goin through backalleys before ya ended up in a party. Raves have always been much safer than dance clubs: when was the last time you see a kid get shot outside a club because he was had a video of our mayor smoking crack?
Tiff / April 15, 2014 at 09:35 pm
If you are opposed to this, there is a petition opposing this:

A club owner should not be allowed to use hypocritical arguments to influence the city to reduce competition in that area and boost his own profits.
These events with or without drugs will happen regardless and even Toronto Public Health recommended the use of this event for its safety regulations.
Not to mention, what constitutes an "EDM" event? Who and how will they decide. This has the potential to affect all musicians and events.
JOE / April 17, 2014 at 10:04 am
NEWS FLASH! THE OWNER OF MUZIK IS A BIG COKE HEAD! for real, according to my friend, he does a lot of cocaine. Mayor Ford, has been known to go to Muzik Night Club a lot based on media reports. Is it possible that Mayor Ford and the Owner of Muzic "Z" know each other? maybe shared a line or two? now you know why EDM festivals are bing banned from Exhibition place and why the lease is being extended for such a long period of time. Sounds like Gravy Train to me. Gravy Train full of coke lines. :( Rob Ford has just lost my support.
John / April 20, 2014 at 02:20 pm
My daughter attends these events. She loves dancing and getting dressed up. She doesn't do drugs .For anyone to suggest that the only reason EDM was created was to enhance the drug experience is uninformed and biased. this is all about benefitting the owner of Muzik, who is currently being sued for damages after his goons beat a guy to within an inch of his life. Oh, did we mention the murder that took place outside Muzik. The owner sponsors Ford Fest and is currently his campaign sponsor..obvious political pandering that should be reversed by Toronto Council. Anybody who can't see this is a member of Ford Nation .
19+festivalsneeded / May 5, 2014 at 06:34 pm
@John I hate to break it to you, but there's a 99% chance your daughter pops Molly.
Mike / May 15, 2014 at 03:31 pm
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