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Irie Music Fest pulls Yonge-Dundas Square shows following gun violence worries

(Image: Phil Marion)

The recent spate of shootings on Toronto’s streets has prompted differing reactions from the organizers of the TD Irie Music Festival and the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival, one of which is perhaps a mere annoyance and the other of which is a total buzz-kill. The annoyance involves a planned search of all 20,000 Caribbean Carnival Parade patrons who paid to sit in the bleachers, leaving the projected 980,000 other spectators relatively unsupervised. The buzz-kill came yesterday, after the Irie Music Festival announced it had cancelled all shows scheduled to take place at Yonge-Dundas Square (although festival events taking place at Nathan Phillips Square will continue as planned). Artists who have had their shows cancelled are instead invited to perform at the Urban Music Festival during the less-festive (and presumably less dangerous) month of November. While the recent violence has had many questioning Toronto’s safety, Caribbean Carnival organizer Stephen Weir told the National Post that he doesn’t expect a drop in the festival’s turnout: “We haven’t had people try to get their money back or phone us to say ‘I’m scared.’” So that’s a relief.

Q&A: Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival organizer defends new search policy [National Post] • Toronto urban music celebration cancelled as Caribana boosts security [Globe and Mail]