Thursday, July 05, 2007

Shattered dreams and shuttered doors

Well, it seems no city is safe. In addition to the pending closure of Spectrum to make way for a Best Buy, it seems that Main Hall (Mile End Cultural Centre) could be slated for the chopping block as well, due to permit issues and noise complaints.
We have been informed by the City of Montreal that our existing “Salle De Reunion” permit for the Main Hall does not allow for the usage of “Spectacles” and or ticketed concerts events. As of immediately, we have been told to cease all events for such usages. We must adhere to the city’s request otherwise we will face a review, and possibly a cancellation of our liquor permit by the Regie des Alcool cours et Jeux.
To be an affordable arts venue for Mile End and Montreal artists of all disciplines, our Centre relies on beverage sales revenues from music events. With the cancellation of events over the summer Mile End Cultural Centre’s survival is in jeopardy. ...
Unfortunately, the recent opposition to our request for the Salle de Spectacle permit by principally one local resident is causing our existence as a cultural centre to be called into question. We believe, as the issues regarding noise leakage have come only in last month, we should be allowed some weeks to correct the problem.
Noise complaints on St Laurent are fallacious, to me; if you have a place on St Laurent, you should know what that entails. Peace and quiet are to be found on many other streets in the city; The Main isn't one of them. I had some musician friends who lived across the street from the Fringe Festival, on St. Laurent & Rachel, and were victims of frequent noise complaints when they weren't louder than the Fringe Pop stage, or the hundreds of Portuguese soccer supporters honking incessantly during Euro Cup 2004.

The only show I've seen at Main Hall was Jason Sharp's Mobius CD release with People for Audio. I hope that won't be my last visit to the club. It's described as a loft-style room, similar to La Sala Rossa but a bit smaller, and one of the better mid-size venues in the city. The booker and soundman is Matt Lederman, of Moondata Productions fame - to have a room with a soundman who knows what they're doing is a rarity, and to have a booker who's also a musician and intensely supportive of the local scene is a treasure we must preserve at all costs.

Montrealers, ex-Montrealers, and anybody who cares about the protection of culture in North America, sign the petition to save the Mile End Cultural Centre here.

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