Canadian Music Week is over for the year with all the usual great bands and amazing shows we've come to expect from this annual event. It's hard to appreciate the coordination that must go into a festival of this size with so many performers, labels and venues involved.
With that said, it's also hard to appreciate why a venue like The Social, who had also booked the Spin Gallery above it, would sign up to host an indie festival, only to pull out at the last minute throwing the Aporia showcase into chaos.
Thanks to same quick thinking, hard work and extraordinary generosity by Jose Contreras and Lily Frost who actually hosted the showcase at their own house, this crisis was averted and actually resulted in one of the highlights of CMW.
Even though thing ended well for all parties concerned, a lot of fingers are being pointed, and many people want to know how CMW could have let this happen. A thread has been started over at StillePost.
The Social's Statement:
"The Social's decision to cancel Saturday nght's showcase at the Social was our only option to keep the other shows (i.e. Friday & Saturday at SPIN Gallery) alive. This decision was still causing a loss of roughly $6500. $3500 to rent the space (Spin Gallery), plus $3000 in staff and alcohol. Myself (Richard) and Phil (CMW) had a discussion Friday morning regarding this. Phil assured me that my Friday & Saturday would be better upstairs. Note: Thursday's attendance was 25 people. Friday's attendance was 30 people. Saturday's attendance was 50 people. I have a responsibility with my staff, Stuart (from Spin), and my landlord (not to mention all of the numerous other bills). As much as I wanted to be the nicest guy and have Saturday night's showcase at the Social continue, if I had let it continue there would be no more Social. A risk I cannot take."
"CMW has to take some responsibility for promoting these shows. I had a conversation with Stuart Berman from Eye Weekly this morning, "When I looked at your line-up, I said 'Eeesh'." I knew months before that having a showcase on a Saturday night in the Social would be detrimental to my regular sales and regular clientele, but I thought that if Spin was busy it would even out. The decision I made Friday morning to cancel Saturday's Social showcase was a difficult one, but we felt we had no choice. In reference to the trust fund comment, Jesse and I opened this business 5 years ago on $4000. We've both worked very hard, employed many people, and just tried to bring some enjoyment to people's lives. We'd appreciate a little respect, especially regarding individuals slagging our name who obviously know very little about us, and have no regard to what the true facts are. Ask any of our staff, they will tell you.
We're very sorry that it ended up like this, and we apologize to the acts who were scheduled to perform. CMW needs to take some of the responsibility for this situation.
Since it was our showcase on Saturday and everyone else is asking me what the hell happened, I might as well add my thoughts to this post.
It is unfortunate that Richard and the Social found themselves in such a precarious position that they felt the only course of action for them was to cancel the show. Aporia had months of time, money and energy invested in making our night a big success, and it was definitely the worse-case scenario for us to have the venue pull the plug less than 24 hours before the day of the event. CMW has hundreds of bands playing over three days, so obviously there were no ready-made alternatives. Frantic calls to possible venues didn't lead anywhere, but cancelling the showcase was not an option for us, and luckily we were able to recover. Mile End Records from Montreal were kind enough to invite Madrid to join their showcase in Spin Gallery, and Lily and Jose really stepped up to make the rest happen at their house. It should be noted that it was pure coincidence that they happened to live just around the corner from the venue that CMW had assigned to us. Richard allowed us to post a notice/map on the door of the Social, and a surprising number of friends, fans and industry actually bothered to find the house. As someone else here noted, the place was completely packed.
The words "upset" and "complete disaster" do not even begin to describe my reaction when I learned of Richard's decision. Frankly it strikes me that this was just a lose/lose situation for everyone involved. We lost our venue, which makes the Social appear to be unreliable. None of this helps either of our businesses. Personally, I don't really understand Richard's decision, but respect the fact that he wants to protect his livelyhood. As for the comments that Richard has attributed to Stuart Berman, I think it's best if we let people speak for themselves.
Despite the hassle, I can say that the night was definitely a success for us. For the record, the house was provided by Lily and Jose, the alcohol was provided by Junetile and Aporia, and all the gear and instruments were brought by the musicians. If it weren't for all the hard work and positive attitudes, the night and all we had invested would have been destroyed. CMW normally provides a complete back-line of PA, drums, amps, sound-tech, etc (all rented) and this is why they collect a cover charge. With this in mind, it seems likely that CMW lost money on this fiasco as well.
I would like to give a big public Thank You to Mile End, Lily & Jose, Pernille and Marie, Morgan Doctor, Junetile, Madrid and the other musicians for agreeing to join the party. Chris Budd, Ian Krykorka, Shalon Perry and Ken Beattie also deserve acknowledgment for saving the day.
To everyone who found Madrid's early set at Spin and/or attended our soiree: Thank you for your patience and support! Woohoo!
Thanks to Beth for her help with the article.
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