By Will Yannacoulias
Yesterday morning Saskatoon indie artist Velours announced that she would be cancelling her September 29th appearance on the Coors Event Center’s new Vizzy stage. The announcement explained simply that “we stand by survivors”, a reference to the Coors Event Center announcing earlier that day that Saskatoon band Bombargo would appear October 2nd. Bombargo have been at the center of controversy since last March, when Saskatoon actress Tiara Jackle publicly detailed inappropriate, unprofessional and highly sexualized behavior towards her and an underage model at a film shoot with the band.
Velours spoke with NSMZ only hours after the announcement, sharing that “It was an emotional decision but an easy decision. We choose to continue only playing venues where our audience will feel safe, and my band mates and I will in turn feel safe. That’s what matters most to us. The toxicity in the music scene needs to end, and, above all, we should be spreading love and not hate. We stand with survivors and, as such, performing at a venue which condones toxic behaviour and hyper-masculinity is not something we endorse.”
Too Soon Monsoon, who were scheduled to perform on September 19th, followed suit hours later by canceling their own Vizzy performance. Smokekiller, who were scheduled to take the Vizzy stage last night, went on with their show despite single digit attendance in a barren room. Smokekiller founder John Antoniuk told NSMZ he fielded calls and messages from friends all day long telling him they regretfully wouldn’t be attending in protest. “It all happened just this morning” Antoniuk told NSMZ. “I struggled with it all day, whether or not we should play. We talked about it as a band, my wife (singer/songwriter Jen Lane) and I talked about it, and she said ‘go have fun, you guys worked hard for this’”.
The Saskatoon Sexual Assault & Information Center (SSAIC.CA) maintain a 24 hour crisis line at 306 244 2224
photo by Versa Film Production