By Stephen Weir
It is Friday evening, and the last thing you want to see on your Facebook or Instagram account just appeared. The upcoming Sunday festival for which you have tickets has been canceled.
This happened last Friday afternoon. In a shocking turn of events, concert promoter Ian Andre Espinet announced the sudden cancellation of the highly anticipated Toronto Soul Music Festival just 2-days before it was set to take the stage at the Rebel Nightclub on Polson Pier.
Scheduled for last Sunday, November 19th, the festival promised a stellar lineup featuring renowned artists such as Jully Black, Glen Lewis, DVSN, and several other acts. The Toronto Soul Music Festival aimed to be a multi-disciplinary, multi-faceted celebration of Soul music and its associated genres and culture, specifically highlighting and honoring Black music and culture.
In an email sent out at 7 pm Friday evening, Espinet conveyed the difficult decision to pull the plug on the event, citing various factors that led to the cancellation. Although the promoter did not specify the exact reasons for the abrupt shutdown, he regreted making the decision.
“It is with a heavy heart and deep regret that we must inform you of the difficult decision to cancel the Toronto Soul Music Festival,” wrote Mr. Espinet. “This decision has been made after careful consideration and assessment of various factors, including our attendees, artists, staff, and volunteers.”
The cancellation left ticket holders disappointed and curious about the undisclosed factors that led to this decision. The concert, set to be an adults-only event with tickets ranging from $65 to $126, was poised to be a highlight of the Toronto music scene.
Despite the disappointment, Espinet had assured ticket holders that they will receive full refunds through ticket outlets Ticketweb and Ticketgateway. The Camera contacted Tony Chankar, owner of Ticketgateway, and he says that refunds have already happened with tickets purchased from his company.
“We sold tickets, and a refund was issued on the same day the cancellation was announced,” said Chankar. “That’s how it’s usually done when tickets are purchased from Ticketgateway.com. I think the other guys that they used (Ticketweb) took a few days to issue refunds.”
The sudden cancellation has left fans and the music community in shock, raising questions about the future of the Toronto Soul Music Festival and the circumstances surrounding its unforeseen demise.
“Things are okay… well, as okay as can be with a cancellation,” a TSMF insider told the Camera. “The festival team is hoping to regroup for summer, which was always a more ideal time for the festival concept.”