Toronto’s Exhibition Place bans all electronic music events, council members retaliate
As the battle between Ultra Music Festival and the city of Miami finally begins to settle, another city has jumped to arms: Toronto’s board has voted in favor of banning all future dance music events from city-owned venues and buildings at the popular venue, Exhibition Place. The issue was brought to vote in light of concerns regarding heavy use of drugs at electronic music events with Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti providing the opposing argument: “This is not what city property and taxpayers’ money should be used for.”
Controversy arose from the decision as some speculate the ban doesn’t stem from a problem with electronic music or drugs, but rather finances and politics between certain nightclubs that may have a stronger sway within the council. “It is not the presence of dance, or music, that is the problem,” Councillor Adam Vaughan argues, according to DJ Mag. “There are certain nightclub owners that have a lot of sway in politics. That’s all you’ll get from me.”
While the decision is official and Toronto will now be forced to look towards alternative options for hosting dance music parties, dissent arises from the 4-3 vote. Councillor Mike Layton, one of the representatives who voted no on the decision, attempted to share his perspective that “EDM will happen regardless,” and wished to keep the phenomenon available at Exhibition Place. He continued to explain that keeping the shows at a venue where rules and regulation require appropriate security measures and on-site ambulances is a “harm reduction approach. Some people may not like it, but kids are going to want to dance.”
The choice to ban dance music from Exhibition Place is estimated to cost the city $1 million in annual revenue. This potential economic blow caught the attention of Councillor Michael Thompson, chair of the economic development committee who clarified that not all hope might be lost for the venue. “It’s certainly something that we’re going to have to look at,” he offered. “We are focusing on music as a key piece with respect to economic opportunities, economic development, creating jobs.” Fellow supporting Councillor Gord Perks plans to reintroduce the issue to senior officials to see if the council can override the board’s decision.