Decision made after visit from the Gang Unit.
The SmashMouth Entertainment showcase that was supposed to take place tonight at The Rivoli has been cancelled after the Toronto Police Service contacted bar management this morning with security concerns. The event was supposed to be one of the larger hip-hop bills at this year’s NXNE festival, set to feature 10 different acts from New York, Washington, DC and Vancouver, as well as several locals.
A manager at the bar, who would only give his name as Todd, confirmed that members of TPS’ Guns and Gangs Unit had visited the bar earlier in the day.
“Police did come in this morning, and I wasn’t here at the time, but they approached us with some security concerns, and between the police, us and the folks at North by Northeast, we decided that it was best if we cancelled the show altogether,” he said.
Staff Sergeant Winston Bennett, of 52 Division, confirmed that police did approach the venue with concerns about security, but that the final decision to cancel the show lay with the bar. He was unable to provide any further details.
“The police don’t cancel shows,” he said.
The promoter placed the following message on its Facebook page late this afternoon:
Due to unforeseen circumstances, and at the request of the Toronto Police and the Toronto Gang Unit, we regret to announce that our NXNE “SmashMouth Mentality” showcase scheduled for June 13 at Rivoli has been cancelled. For any inquiries regarding this matter please direct all messages to Brenden Hewko of SmashMouth Entertainment – [email protected]
The announcement disappointed fans and artists alike.
“I kind of have half a mind to, I don’t know, write letters about it or something,” said Roshin, an MC with local group Notes to Self. Notes was scheduled to take the stage at 10:50 p.m. “It sucks, because it’s the only big rap show other than Yonge-Dundas.”
He’s also confused by the police’s reasoning.
“Half the acts aren’t from Toronto, and the ones that are play all the time,” he said.
More details will be posted as they become available, but in the mean time, here’s some terrifying, gang-related music.