Do It Yourself
I've noticed in the past year how the Toronto party scene seems to be becoming more and more a case of people throwing and promoting nights themselves in warehouses, galleries and the like. There have been a lot of independently organised events this year and we're not talking house parties. These are big capacity events (often up to 400 people) with security people, bar, dj's, coat check, the whole shibang.
I'm pretty sure this trend is largely a response to the dull, uninspiring club scene being supported by far too many of Toronto's licensed venues. People want better music; some such people are taking it upon themselves to provide it. And that's definitely the plus side to nights such as these; the dj's tend to be a lot more forward thinking, pushing boundaries and playing music that's interesting and original. It's "underground" as they say and musically that's usually a good thing.
However, underground also has a significant down side. Although these nights can be fantastically well organised, sometimes they're not and they're usually not nearly as safe as licensed venues. Shady security men, even shadier people inside, a serious lack of drug control and little compliance with fire regulations are just a few examples I think of now.
I think my main point is this; that licensed bars and clubs should sit up and take note that there's clearly a demand for more alternative electronic music to be played. Underground doesn't have to mean non-licensed. In London, England, where I studied for a while there were lots of innovative niche music nights going on each night of the week, in licensed venues. Although Toronto has some such events supported by clubs and bars, they tend to be few and far between. As a consequence it's difficult for any new scene to build and sustain any sort of momentum. It's high time Toronto woke up to this.
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