PILOT PROJECT COULD SEE DIY PERFORMANCES IN VACANT CITY BUILDINGS

DIY spaces crucial to foster next generation of live musicians, city councillor says

The interior of the Hearn Generating Station was transformed into a performance venue during the Luminato international arts festival. The City of Toronto is assessing other properties that could be used by DYI organizers for concerts. (CBC)

As rental prices skyrocket downtown and high-profile music venues close, it’s becoming more difficult for emerging musical artists to afford spaces to create and perform, but now the city is designing a pilot project to provide spaces for musicians at low cost, or no cost.

Coun. Joe Cressy, who represents Ward 10, Spadina-Fort York and chairs the Toronto Music Advisory Committee, says spaces for so-called Do It Yourself organizers are becoming rare.

“For a lot of musicians, you don’t start out playing at the Horseshoe Tavern or the Danforth Music Hall,” said Cressy.

“Everybody needs to get their start somewhere and that’s where DIY venues are so important.”

With space downtown at a premium as condominium projects replace entire blocks of once rentable rehearsal or performance venues, musicians are having a harder and harder time being able to access affordable DIY spaces.

“They’re just too expensive. And so if we lose the DIY spaces we lose the next generation of live musicians,” said Cressy.

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