Screen Shot 2014-03-21 at 11.54.02 AM

News dropped last night that Mansion Productions’ much-hyped Foundry music festival (which THUMP has already called “Canada’s Most Interesting Underground Dance Series”) would not be held at the abandoned Tower Automotive building at 158 Sterling Road. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the 416/647, Sterling is a largely industrial strip of Toronto that’s long been contested as a potential spot for new condos—which has generated a collective groan from many people in the surrounding community. Currently, Sterling is full of independent art galleries and recording studios, and as an added bonus, the air smells like chocolate, thanks to the Nestle factory.

Anyway, in what came as unfortunate news for Mansion and electronic music fans alike, City of Toronto officials denied Mansion’s permit at the last minute, due to a zoning bylaw issue, despite months of talks with Building and Fire departments, along with thousands of dollars sank in for engineering consulting costs, and construction efforts (like the addition of new fire escape doors), to accommodate Mansion’s crowds.

It’s important to note that Foundry isn’t a last minute affair thrown together by inexperienced promoters. According to City Councilor Ana Bailao: “It’s really disappointing, the applicants worked really hard. I had a lot of meetings. I tried to help as much as possible. Nothing happens at the Tower Automotive, it would have been great to reuse the space for at least three weekends. They worked hard and spent a lot of energy to make sure that they had a plan.”

While the Sapporo sponsored series featuring talent like Four TetCarl CraigDJ Harvey, ShigetoBlue Hawaii, and many others, has been saved and relocated to the familiar space of 99 Sudbury. Plainly stated, it’s a huge bummer that the City stepped in to shut down Mansion’s plan to party in the abandoned venue, which would have made the party atmosphere even more exciting.

In light of Toronto’s new Music City: 4479 partnership with Austin, TX—which was supposedly forged to make throwing unique music events much more accessible, among other initiatives—one would think that the City would be more supportive of a three week long music series. Clearly, they have a lot more work to do when it comes to partnering with the promoters who make Toronto’s music scene so awesome.

In an official statement by Nancy Chen, Mansion’s co-founder, the promoters carefully expressed their disappointment regarding the City’s decision: “We, more than anyone, understand how incredibly excited everyone was to be able to experience the incredible line-up of forward-thinking artists at such a unique venue… We hope that one day in the near future, we will be allowed to take greater creative risks in a city that we love so much. For now, we hope that everyone will still support our cause by making this year’s Foundry one of the best dance series yet, and in the meantime move the city one step forward in the right direction for music lovers.”

Jeff Cohen, Chair of Toronto Music Advisory Council, and owner of Collective Concerts, wants to see more action from the city as well. “I’d like to see the city get a proper music office created with a working staff that could fast track music event applications. And tell event organizers perhaps before they ticket an event, if a space is likely to be suitable, not a week before an event is due to take place.” While Jeff’s comments do inspire some sort of confidence, in reality, Mansion found out about their cancelation two days before the festival was set to begin.

THUMP also spoke to Randy McLean, the Commissioner of Film, TV and Digital Media who is taking on an official leadership role with the music program, Music City. He’s currently in SXSW as the only official City delegate pushing Toronto’s music scene in Austin. He provided us with this general statement: “One of the first things they will be tasked is to look at various rules, regulations and permits, and the ways we conduct business to make the city more ‘music and musician friendly.’ Not everything changes that quickly with zoning rules and regulations, but Toronto city council is always behind a good initiative.”

With files from Slava Pastuk.

Jesse Ship is a freelance writer in Toronto and former Junos Juror. You can find him at @Jesse_Ship

Written by: Jesse Ship

Mar 13 2014

Subscribe to comments Comment | Trackback |
Post Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Browse Timeline

Add a Comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>