Skip to main content

Toronto City Council Limits Afrofest to One Day - UPDATE: Decision Reversed

Power to the People!
Afrofest Update:
Two Day Festival Back for July 9-10 2016

TORONTO (March 24, 2016) After an online campaign gained steam (see the original story below) and created a huge buzz in favour of the 27-year old festival, Toronto City Hall has reversed its decision and given Afrofest a two-day permit for Woodbine Park after all.

As reported in the CBC, the festival's fans took to the web en masse to protest the unfair treatment of the festival. Here's my take on this:
  1. Afrofest uses the same sound company that the other big festivals at Woodbine use - same techs, same equipment. It's hard to see how they could be so out of line with everyone else.
  2. I'd like to know how many complaints were lodged against the other festivals at Woodbine. Were they all entirely complaint-free? Why is this the only festival that seems to have this issue with the city?
I'll also note that, just after City Hall moved to limit Afrofest to one day, there was a big splashy announcement of Bestival - a rock festival taking place at Woodbine Park in early September and headlining The Cure, surely guaranteed to be a peaceful, quiet affair...

As the CBC story notes, part of the outrage - mine included - was the condescending tone taken by Coun. Mary-Margaret McMahon who suggested publicly that the organizers needed to "behave". What kind of language is that?? And what sort of tone is that to take with any of your constituents - let alone one that has been contributing to community life for so long and obviously enjoys widespread support? These are citizens she's talking about; the people who elect these officials.

Meetings apparently went all the way to Mayor John Tory. Afrofest is set for July 9-10 and is expected to bring 120,000 people to Woodbine Park throughout the weekend.




From a media release:

Toronto City Council Limits Afrofest to One Day



Toronto, Ontario – March 16, 2016 - The City of Toronto has limited Afrofest at Woodbine Park down to a one day event from its traditional two day (Saturday-Sunday) format. This move will not only make it difficult to organize a viable festival but also hinder its growth and community impact. The reasons given are that permissible sound levels and permitted time frames were exceeded in previous festivals. Afrofest organizers maintain that these allegations are inaccurate.

Afrofest started in 1989 and is the largest annual African music festival in North America. The festival, which draws a crowd of up to 60,000 daily, has become an extremely important African celebration locally and internationally. Peter Toh, President of Music Africa, the organizers of Afrofest, called the decision completely unfair and discriminatory.

Thomas Mapfumo - Afrofest 2011:


“The sound company we employ works with most of the events at Woodbine Park, including Canada Day and Beaches Jazz festival concerts, and use the same sound equipment, crew and sound levels. The volume at Afrofest is no different than at those events but in our case they are being called violations.” Toh also added that the City had agreed, in writing, six months prior to Afrofest 2015 to allow it run later in order to accommodate a ceremony for the Pan Am Games, then just two weeks before the changed the permit conditions. “There seems to be no understanding of the contractual obligations we had, both to accommodating the Pan Am Torch Relay and to the headline act that followed”.

Alpha Blondy - Afrofest 2013:


“Music Africa is always willing to work constructively with City of Toronto officials but it seems that while they wish us well, they in fact set conditions to jeopardize success. This seems in complete contradiction to Toronto’s official “Music City” initiatives”, Toh adds.

Music Africa is calling on all the supporters of Afrofest to write, phone or email the City Councillor, Mary Margaret McMahon (councillor_mcmahon@toronto.ca, 416-392-1376) and the Mayor John Tory (mayor_tory@toronto.ca, 416-397-2489) to express your concerns about their decision.

Petition for support: Maintain two day festival format
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/say-no-to-1-day-event-or-friday-to-saturday-dates

Afrofest 2015:

Comments

What Else Is Hot This Week?

FACTORY presents World Premiere ACTS OF FAITH November 19 to 28 2020 - Free Livestream

 From a media release: World Premiere FACTORY presents  ACTS OF FAITH by David Yee Directed by Nina Lee Aquino Starring Natasha Mumba November 19 – 28, 2020 @ 7:30PM Streamed live for 6 performances Free of charge TORONTO (October 19, 2020) - To kick off its groundbreaking 2020/21 season, Factory presents the world premiere of acts of faith, by multi-award winning Asian Canadian playwright David Yee, directed by Nina Lee Aquino, and starring Natasha Mumba. Written specifically to be performed for a digital platform, acts of faith will stream live to audiences at home for six performances, November 19-28, 2020.  Thanks to the generous support of the TD Bank Group, admission is being offered entirely free of charge to audiences across the country and beyond. acts of faith tells a story about the power of faith, the inescapable persistence of our online identities, and the nature of truth in a digital age. The story follows Faith, a young woman who gets mistaken for a prophet. When a ques

Blues Single | Bushwick Blooze Band: Waiting (Independent / 20 October 2020)

Blues Single Bushwick Blooze Band: Waiting (Independent / 20 October 2020) Stream It From Your Fave Service Waiting is the latest in a string of singles released by Bushwick Blooze Band. The Brooklyn-based blues trio have been performing and recording the blues around the NYC area since 2018. Their first album "Cryin' for the L Train" was released in January 2019, and included covers of famous songs composed by their greatest influencers such as Little Richard, The Allman Brothers Band, Freddie King, and Eddie Vinson.  Bushwick Blooze Band is finishing up the production of their second album "Yes Dear" and unlike the previous cover record, this new album will be their first original contribution to the genres they love. Waiting is an upbeat blues track with a party kind of veneer over solid musicianship. What begins with a classic blues feel transforms into an extended psychadelic flavoured trip. Inventive guitar licks almost make you forget about the virtuosity

Blaise La Bamba & Kotakoli November 7th 2020 Online - PWYC

 From a media release: Batuki Music Society and Alliance Francaise Toronto present A virtual concert featuring Blaise La Bamba & Kotakoli November 7th 2020 at 8:00 PM Enjoy the concert from home! K inshasa’s vibrant nightlife has long been world-famous. It is home to the subculture known informally as the Society of Ambiance-Makers and Elegant People (SAPEUR), which has spread its influence through artists such as Papa Wemba. Blaise La Bamba is part of this scene. He has worked with some of the top names of Congolese music, in particular General Defao. I n 2018, Blaise La Bamba founded Kotakoli , an all-star collective of musicians that perform an energetic mix of Congolese rumba and soukous . In the company of Kotakoli, this veteran musician brings Congolese popular music back to the forefront, with spellbinding dances. The Details Date: Saturday November 7th, 2021  Blaise La Bamba and Kotakoli Virtual Concert Time: 8:00 PM Tickets: Pay what you can This concert is offered to you

Review: Night of the Kings / La Nuit des Rois by Philippe Lacôte

Review:  Night of the Kings La Nuit des Rois by Philippe Lacôte A France, Côte d'Ivoire, Canada and Senegal co-production Now Playing In The New York Film Festival ImageAfter Venice and the Toronto Film Festival, Philippe Lacôte's Night of the Kings has moved on to conquer New York City.  Image Courtesy of TIFF A young pickpocket (Koné Bakary), is incarcerated in the giant La MACA prison, the largest in Côte d’Ivoire. The prison offers a hostile atmosphere, where the guards have long given up keeping order and the prisoners run the show, albeit confined within the prison walls. They dance, sing, and mingle at will in a common area called The Jungle.  There is a violent power struggle between Lord Blackbeard (Steve Tientcheu), who runs things, and the younger leaders of other factions. Blackbeard is old and infirm, and he knows he can't hold on forever. But, he does want to hold on long enough to leave on his own terms.  Image courtesy of TIFF Blackbeard designates the new

Jazzy Pop: Shihori - Soul Trip (Independent / 4 September 2020)

Jazzy Pop: Shihori - Soul Trip (Independent / 4 September 2020) New York City based singer and songwriter Shihori's new single Soul Trip is atmospheric and ambient. Interesting rhythms and interwoven melodic vocal lines showcase jazzy harmonic progressions in a slow groove mode.  As a songwriter, she uses electronic effects with impeccable musical taste. As a singer, her flexible vocals range from a sweet soprano to a strong mid-range. A veteran of the Japanese pop scene, Shihori moved to New York City in 2018, a move she talks about in a media release. "I was so surprised when I came to NY for the first time. Independent and strong women are respected and there are lots of different preferences in music and style. I thought, 'oh my God! This place really accepts uniqueness and freedom! I didn't know there is a place like this totally different world that allows you to be yourself. Everybody looks so different. So many races, colors, cultures, fashion, ideas...I am so