Ticket-holders vented their anger on social media after a popular Caribana event was cancelled less than two hours before it was scheduled to begin Saturday night.
Carnival Kingdom, which had been running for seven years, was cancelled out of the blue by the city, said Katherine Andrews, one of the event’s backstage/hospitality co-ordinators.
The event, hosted by Summer of Sound Fest Inc., is the company’s biggest concert, Andrews said. It was supposed to be held at the Improve Canada outdoor entertainment complex on Keele St., near Highway 407. It was the first time SOS Fest attempted to host the event in Vaughan. Tickets ranged from $35 to $95.
“(People) are angry they cannot get into the show that they’ve been waiting for all year. People paid a lot of money for this show,” Andrews said.
CaribanaToronto.com, which promoted the Carnival Kingdom event, is not connected to the group that runs the downtown Toronto Caribbean Carnival parade.
Co-ordinators expected up to 10,000 people for the sold-out event, but Ricardo Rowe, the legal representative for SOS Fest, said the actual number of tickets sold for Saturday’s show was closer to 5,000. However, 8,100 people bought package tickets with acess several events over the weekend, including Carnival Kingdom.
According to Rowe, Vaughan’s chief licensing officer made the final decision to revoke the permit on Saturday morning, after consulting with several York region departments.
However, event organizers were told of the decision via text message less than two hours before doors were scheduled to open.
Rowe said they were told residents had complained of excessive noise and that their event was over capacity, despite it being an outdoor event.
The SOS Fest had a permit for “1,500 to 1,900-plus” people, he said. In order to get a permit, a number is estimated based on indoor venue numbers, but when it’s outdoors, the “plus” acknowledges that there is no way to predict just how many people could show up, and allows for many more people.
As a New Yorker coming to #caribana seeing #carnivalkingdom cancelled harkens to feelings of racism that I’ve experienced. Cities like Caribbean people when it’s convenient. I hope the residents of Toronto put up a fight because this was disgusting.— Brunch’alla (@diversemind) August 5, 2018
The parking lot where the event was being held could contain anywhere from 1,600 to 1,700 vehicles, meaning it could fit around 20,000 people, according to Rowe’s estimate, which is why he didn’t understand how they were being told they were over-capacity.
“That is the question we kept on asking,” Rowe said. “The chief licensing officer doesn’t have an answer. The manager of enforcement doesn’t have an answer for me. They kept on saying, ‘Well, you’re over capacity.’ ”
The issue of noise complaints had some people confused, since the event was in an industrial area.
A spokesperson for York Regional Police said they received a “few” noise complaints from Friday evening going into Saturday morning, but said the police presence in the area was more for crowd control than for noise.
Rowe was told those complaints came from the area of Major Mackenzie Dr. W. and Dufferin St., more than eight kilometres away from the venue.
“It makes no sense, it’s not logical,” Rowe said. “People (around) York University ... just a kilometre south. No one heard it at York University, they didn’t even know that this festival was going on.”
He said the chief licensing officer and the manager of bylaw enforcement told him they made a commitment to the mayor’s office to revoke the permit.
Andrews was just as confused as Rowe, saying SOS Fest’s other concert, held the night before at the same venue, went smoothly.
“The police officers were very, very impressed that everything went very, very well,” Andrews said about that event. “They’re claiming though, the reason they revoked the permits is because some of their MPs got noise complaints and the MP contacted the mayor of Vaughan, who revoked our permit right now.”
In an email to the Star, a City of Vaughan spokesperson said that “staff revoked the permit of the event (SOS Fest) after it was determined that organizers did not comply with the terms of the permit.”
“This was a decision made by staff and not directed by mayor and council. Enforcement staff are committed to taking the necessary action to ensure all permit conditions are followed in the best interest of the public.”
The spokesperson wouldn’t elaborate on what terms of the permit weren’t fulfilled.
Andrews said SOS Fest went through all the usual sound procedures they have in the past for Friday’s event.
“The permit (said) at 11 o’clock the music was to be brought down to 55 decibels, which it was.” she said.
Organizers vowed to issue refunds within 72 hours.
“I’m truly saddened that I was not able to perform for the fans,” singer Machel Montano, who was scheduled to perform, said on Instagram.
“I never miss a show and this one was not in my, or my team’s control. The show had sold out days in advance, a testament to the strength and excitement of the Soca and Caribbean community in Toronto.”
“Toronto, don’t worry, this just means that I will have to come back,” Montano posted on his account.
Partygoers voiced their frustration on social media.
“I’m still mad about carnival kingdom. I looked forward to it for weeks. It was to be my last Caribana event as I won’t be back in Toronto for a few years for Caribana,” tweeted @Chey_B90.
“Still mad, sad, annoyed and every emotion along these lines because carnival kingdom was cancelled. Tell me how you’re not going to cancel VELD which is situated closer to residential areas ... whereas Carnival wasn’t? It was in the middle of nowhere, right beside the highway,” tweeted @viaveshani said.
News Source : thestar