MONTRÉAL: BRING THE NOISE
Posted on 14/04/2010
Montréal, the 13th of April 2010
MONTRÉAL: BRING THE NOISE
Dear Mayor of Montréal, Mr. Gérald Tremblay
Montréal boasts of being a cultural city, open to artists and musicians. But I see this as empty words because the facts are quite different.
I’ll not dwell on the zealous and constant harassment of the police regarding several bars and venues (Zoobizarre, Main Hall) during the past year, but rather concentrate on a specific case that highlights the blatant contradiction of the clumsy political plan that is the “Quartier des spectacles”.
On 25 March of this year, a resident complained to the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) about loud music from the SAT (Société des arts technologiques), located in the heart of this Quartier des spectacles, at the corner of boulevard Saint-Laurent and rue Sainte-Catherine. A few minutes later, police arrived on the scene.
According to a press release from the organizers of I Love Neon, police requested a lowering of “the volume of sound system at the SAT to a level it deemed appropriate and warned us not to exceed”.
This led to the SAT’s decision to limit the volume as a means of avoiding future police visits. Consequently, the organizers of I Love Neon will move to another venue because they believe the volume level is inadequate to fully appreciate the music at their events. Other promoters confirm they will respect this new measure at the SAT.
On the Quartier des spectacles website, the first objective of the collaborative vision created by members of the Partnership is phrased as follows: “use culture as a lever for development”. The “vitality” of the Quartier “requires initiatives that use its existing cultural assets, such as the creation of affordable studio spaces”. Are there any incentives?
The Mutek and Elektra festivals share the 25th Grand Prix du Conseil des Arts de Montréal and what happens the same week? One of the main venues used by Mutek for shows is bullied. Future events will be affected by the negative repercussions of this bullying, impacting all styles of music.
Mr. Tremblay, what are you trying to do here in Montréal? What really is the current collective vision for an avant-garde cultural metropolis? I am very worried. It is difficult to understand the message behind the concept of a “colourful neighbourhood…as safe as it is refreshingly different.”[I1] With this in mind it is time to be clearer about your intentions and face the music regarding the Quartier des spectacles and the city as a whole in terms of its approach and cultural vision, including small events, those that are “refreshingly different”.
I am part of this scene. I am a musician, DJ and promoter. I have played many times at Zoobizarre, Casa Del Popolo, Main Hall, SAT, Club Soda, Métropolis, and so on. I travel abroad frequently, from Brazil to Australia, the United States to Sweden. I represent Montréal wherever I go. When asked if Montréal is a welcoming city for musicians and artists, my responses have become increasingly pessimistic. I wish I could say otherwise.
Ghislain Poirier (Poirier – DJ/producer)