action bronson nxne cancelled

Action Bronson’s Yonge-Dundas performance has been cancelled for NXNE

In a new statement, the Toronto festival reluctantly accedes to the outcry from the community and aims to move the rapper to a ticketed venue.

- May 29, 2015

It started as a Facebook discussion, became a petition and finally an overwhelming public outcry about violent misogynistic lyrics, safety, hate speech and public space with over 12,000 signatures. Now, finally, NXNE has responded: Action Bronson definitively will not be playing at Toronto's Yonge-Dundas Square this June.

The festival released a statement confirming their commitment to presenting the artist, saying they have invited him to play at a ticketed venue, no longer in the wide-open, all-ages public square. As of yet, nothing has been confirmed. The rapper will have to accept their invitation.

In the meantime, the festival has released a statement, outlining their reluctance to "limit... artistic expression" which they find "distasteful" but admit they are guests at Yonge-Dundas Square, a City of Toronto space, and "must accede to the strong wishes of the community and honour their input."

This follows both their previous statement and Chart Attack's interview with festival co-founder Michael Hollett that both suggested the show would go on as scheduled. It's worth noting that Toronto Mayor John Tory came out against holding the concert there.

Read NXNE's full statement below:

We at Northby Northeast (NXNE) are very proud of our 20 plus years relationship with the people of the City of Toronto. And for almost 10 years we’ve shared Yonge-Dundas Square with you to present free, all ages shows open to the public. YDS is the city’s space and as such we are obliged to listen to how the city and community want it used. A significant number of Torontonians have indicated their desire to have Action Bronson not perform at the Square. As annual guests in this space we feel we must accede to the strong wishes of the community and honour their input.

As a result, we will not be presenting Action Bronson at Yonge-Dundas Square but, hopefully we will still be presenting Action Bronson as part of Northby. We remain fundamentally committed to presenting this artist on a Toronto stage. We are not moving the Action show because we believe in censoring him or any other artists. In fact, we find the limiting of artistic expression distasteful. When artistic expression is limited, freedom and the evolution of ideas is often the casualty.

Hopefully, Action Bronson will accept our invitation to play at another, ticketed venue in the city so the public can decide for themselves if his work has merit. We booked Bronson, in part, because of his latest excellent disc, Mr. Wonderful.

We hope that this series of events does not foster some type of artistic chill in Toronto and its public spaces. Yonge-Dundas Square must remain a dynamic place where many viewpoints are expressed not just culturally but also at political events and rallies staged there.

We are heartened by the community engagement that has been taking place around this YDS show. This debate continues an important conversation about violence against women and its depiction in art and culture that is long overdue. We salute all of those who fight this battle and we would encourage everyone who has signed the petition or been engaged by this conversation to commit themselves personally to continuing the fight against violence against women. We at Northby pledge to continue being part of this discussion with the intent to help act as agents of change.

The Directors of North by Northeast

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