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City of Toronto pulls plug on Carnival Kin

Published: 
Monday, August 6, 2018
Soca artiste Machel Montano

Several of T&T’s and the Caribbean’s top soca artistes, including Machel Montano, Bunji Garlin, Fay Ann Lyons-Alvarez, Nishard M and Rupee, who were all carded to perform at one of Toronto Caribana 2018’s largest and most anticipated fete, Carnival Kingdom, were left disappointed after the mayor’s office “pulled the plug” on the event.

The decision came 20 minutes before the gates for the event were to be opened at 9 pm on Saturday, leaving thousands of party-goers angry, hurt and disappointed.

The directive came from the mayor’s office in the City of Vaughn. The event was booked for the Improve Canada Outdoor Entertainment Complex’s Parking Lot at 7250 Keele Street, Vaughn. Tickets started at CDN$65 and reached as high as CDN$180 the day before after it sold out and fans went to the black market to get them.

However, a police officer from the York Regional Police told the T&T Guardian that Saturday’s fete was cancelled because four out of five major conditions stipulated on the permit signed between the promoter and the city were breached on Friday night at another fete, Rejouvertnate, which the promoter staged at the same venue.

“The city gave them five conditions, four of which were broken so they had the permit revoked…The permit was for 2,500 (people) when about 12,000 showed up…they served alcohol past 2 am and also, they didn’t turn it off until one and a half hours after when they were supposed to turn it off,” the police officer said.

The officer explained that promoters for parties usually pay for permits according to the size of the event.

Asked how the patrons reacted when they reached the venue and were told of the cancellation, the officer replied: “They were totally upset. A lot of people spent money on hotels just to come to this event…When I came here the music was going, the lights were on…soundcheck was already done.”

Speaking with the T&T Guardian outside the venue, a group of women said they flew in from Connecticut, USA, just for the party.

“This is upsetting…what are we going to do?” they asked.

Efforts to reach the promoter for comment were unsuccessful. However, Toronto-based DJ and promoter Wade Soobrattie posted on his Facebook wall, @sosfestto, at 11.56 pm on Saturday that permits were pulled by the city just two hours before the doors opened.

“On behalf of carnival kingdom - We will be issuing refunds in 72 hours. On behalf of the entire event staff and organisers, we wish to give some explanation on tonight’s cancellation. The event had all of its permits in place and planning was priority throughout the process of presenting such an event. These permits were pulled by the city just two hours before doors opening. For reasons we don’t know at this times fully. Every event executed has been complete with smooth process and professionalism. We will be giving updates on how and when people will be refunded. We ask all to be patient and trust in our integrity and history,” the post read.

Efforts to reach some of the T&T soca artistes carded to perform for their comments yesterday were also unsuccessful as calls either went unanswered or straight to their voicemails.

However soca artiste Machel Montano said in an Instagram post: “I’m truly saddened that I was unable to perform for the fans – 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 of the Soca and Caribbean community in Toronto.”

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