EDM events banned on CNE grounds
Dance 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.
Muzik 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.
Perks 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.