News / Toronto

'We made enough noise:' Protection for music venues could be on the way

a series of proposals going before the city's economic development committee on Thursday could form the basis for a much-needed boost to the scene.

Priya Panda, member of the Toronto rock band Diemonds, hopes new proposals will help save live music venues in the city.

Eduardo Lima / Metro

Priya Panda, member of the Toronto rock band Diemonds, hopes new proposals will help save live music venues in the city.

Local musicians like Priya Panda have refused to turn down the volume in their efforts to save Toronto's live music venues.

There are already "very few" left, she said, and the number is shrinking. But now a series of proposals going before the city's economic development committee on Thursday could form the basis for a much-needed boost.

"This just gives me hope," said Panda, the frontwoman vocalist for Toronto rock band Diemonds. "We've been loud enough; we made enough noise about this issue."

The proposals include a new tax benefit for live music venues, changing zoning and licensing laws to protect venues, improving access to parking for tour buses and reviewing rules about performances in city parks and other outdoor areas. There are also talks of creating a music passport series and an expert panel people could turn to for advice on opening new spaces.

The proposals are part of a larger initiative to improve Toronto's overall "night economy," and there are plans coming together for an international study to identify a model that could work here.

The discussion started at city hall last year following the closure of several popular venues, including The Big Bop, The Hideout, The Hoxton and Soybomb. Owners primarily cited financial troubles.

While Panda is optimistic that the city will help, she says the future of live music is assured.

"The live music scene is vibrant and resilient," she said. "We'll play in the parking lots, we'll create our own small festivals, we'll do whatever it takes to showcase our art."

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