We’re All In This Together: Stopping Bad Concert Behaviour

Last week, shitty behaviour at two concerts, half a world apart, turned into internet stories featuring two Canadian musicians with a lesson that needs to be learned by music fans of all genres in all cities.

On Tuesday, November 14, Dallas Smith’s Side Effects Tour took over the Encana Events Centre in Dawson Creek, BC – and in Smith’s words, here’s what happened.

Tonight I got to watch girls and guys punching, pulling hair, groping girls ect ect. Disgusting Dawson Creek. Most fans were great. Others ruined it. Grow the f**k up.

And on Wednesday, November 15, at Sydney’s Marquee nightclub a similar incident was recorded by a fan at Drake’s show in Australia. From the stage Drake called out a male fan for groping women in the crowd.

That’s two incidents, on opposite sides of the globe, 24 hours apart. This isn’t about Dawson Creek, it isn’t about Sydney, it’s about shitty behaviour and assault at concerts.

What followed for Smith was a Twitter storm that was picked up by news outlets, radio station websites and more. And, in my eyes, most problematically, there was push back and defensiveness where there should have been support and action. People with voices, big and small, were more interested in defending themselves and a city than dealing with the problem.

One of those responses, defensive in nature and ignoring the problem, came from Dawson Creek Mayor, Dale Bumstead who posted these words on Facebook…

My heart, my stomach, my body hurts when someone makes a discouraging comment about our city. It hurts even more when people in our community feel the opportunity to join in and share in the statement. You cannot underestimate the importance of your reputation. An event that impacts the Cities reputation can have long lasting effects. Maybe a significant economic opportunity is lost because a business leader reads the media reports and says “shouldn’t go near that city” Maybe another major event like U17 says better stay away from there. Maybe a new Doctor says, not there I heard they …….
These can all have a direct and significant impact on each and everyone of us.
Reputation IS everything.
We work hard day in and day out to build our communities reputation as a community that has a great quality of life.
Very sad day for me right now [crying face emoji]

I get it. We can all understand defensiveness and standing up our city. Hell, that’s his job. But where was the acceptance that something bad happened in his city? Where was the support for the victims of the reported hair pulling, fighting, and sexual assault? Where was the community when some of its members needed it most?

Now, I’m not here to put the Mayor on blast. And I’m not even here to call out Dawson Creek – because this isn’t about Dawson Creek, and it’s not about country music. Just like it isn’t about Sydney and hip-hop. It’s about understanding that, as communities, we need to care about each other. We need to look out for each other. And when someone does something shitty at a show, or in any setting, we need to hold them accountable, not circle the wagons to defend ourselves and make ourselves feel better and look innocent.

I’m a straight cis white male, so I’m trying to stay in my lane here. And I can tell you, from personal experience, that there are times when I see a post online that generalizes the behaviours of straight white men and my instinct is to think or say “not me, not all men”. Defensiveness: I get it. But then I realize that those posts are rooted in deeply personal experiences by the people that write and share them – and I know that someone who looks a lot like me was the reason that the post exists. So it may not have anything to do with me directly, but in a way, it does.

Let’s throw an example together.

After the concerts in Dawson Creek and Sydney, at least one woman went home and told her friends or family, or herself in the mirror that she had been assaulted. And when she describes who assaulted her, it’s going to be a male country music or hip-hop fan in Dawson Creek or Sydney. She’s not saying that all male country music fans in Dawson Creek or all male hip-hop fans in Sydney assaulted her. She’s not vilifying all males, country music fans, hip-hop fans or people in those communities – but the truth remains that someone that fits that description assaulted her.

Here’s where you come in. Do you…

A) Say, “Don’t blame all men because one guy acted shitty”
B) Say, “Don’t blame all country music and hip-hop fans because one of them acted shitty”
C) Say, “Don’t blame all of Dawson Creek and Sydney because one concert goer acted shitty”
D) Say, “That’s terrible, I hate that it happened, we need to be better and do our best to make sure it never happens again in Dawson Creek or Sydney or anywhere else.”

If your gut answer is A, B, or C, you’re not a bad person. But if you don’t ever get to D because you’re so busy digging your heels in on any or all of the other answers, you’re ignoring the actual problem, you’re ignoring the assault that happened, and you’re excusing the actions of the shitty male country music fan in Dawson Creek and the shitty male hip-hop fan in Sydney.

You can change male to female. You can change country music and hip-hop to rock or pop. You can change Dawson Creek and Sydney to Toronto or Melbourne. The example holds up.

Assault at concerts and festivals happens. If you’ve been to enough shows you may have witnessed it. Sometimes it’s a fight in the crowd between two guys who run into each other and a drink gets spilled. Sometimes it’s a fight between two women for the same reason. Sometimes it’s a guy groping a woman and thinking that he can get away with it. Sometimes it’s worse. The sad truth is, the incidents in Dawson Creek and Sydney weren’t isolated.

And if it’s ever going to get better, we need to start taking responsibility for these actions and each other, not deflecting to make ourselves feel innocent or persecuted for someone else’s shitty actions.

Unless you are a person who has acted shitty and assaulted someone at a concert, you shouldn’t feel attacked by anyone calling out that kind of behaviour. If you are against shitty behaviour but feeling defensive, you should probably ask yourself why you’re more concerned with yourself right now instead of a person that was assaulted. And if you care about people who are assaulted but are still feeling defensive, you should care more about them then the reputation of your community – especially in the immediate aftermath.

We are all really good at worrying about ourselves. We are all really good at not wanting to look bad. We are all really good at distancing ourselves from problematic issues that happen in our communities. What we need to be better at is not running away from a problem so we can feel good about ourselves, or hide from a problem to avoid feeling bad about ourselves. We all need to be better at identifying problematic behaviour in our communities and working to eradicate that behaviour.

As music fans, we all belong to communities. In Toronto I can identify faces at country shows, rock shows, pop shows, hip-hop shows… we see the same people at different venues for different artists, there to watch music because they love music. And when a country fan or a rock and roll fan does something shady or shitty at one of those shows, it falls on the Toronto community of that fandom to stand with each other, protect each other, and support each other. The moment one of those communities throws its hands in the air and says “it’s not our problem that one fan did a bad thing” – it’s all gone to shit and the word community means nothing.

We are all stronger as a community. We are all better as a community. We are all together as a community. But if we don’t act like it… it doesn’t matter.

Music fans across all genres need to know that this kind of thing happens, and that it’s not okay. We need to know that the people who carry out these reprehensible acts of violence and assault should be punished and held accountable by law. We need to stand together and ensure that we don’t shrug our shoulders and say “there’s nothing we can do”.

It shouldn’t be on entertainers to call this behaviour out from the stage or on Twitter. And while it can be helpful, and certainly respectable when they do, it should be on us.

If you ever witness someone physically or verbally assaulting a fan at a concert or festival, take action. If you don’t feel comfortable confronting the assault, go get security. If you do feel comfortable confronting the assault, be careful – and have someone else go get security. If you witness an assault and the person who committed the act has left the area, be there to support the victim – and have someone get security. And if you’re at a concert with someone committing any kind of assault – call them on it, make them stop, don’t turn a blind eye.

We know it’s not all concert goers. But one is too many. And we all need to stick together and do the right thing to make sure that it doesn’t happen.

When we stand together, we are strong. When we turn our backs on the people in our communities in their times of need, we are weak.

We need to be strong.

5 Quick Questions with The Strumbellas!

While we were hanging out at OMDC’s Ontario JUNO Award Nominee Reception in Toronto last week, we had the chance to catch up with Izzy and Jon of The Strumbellas for 5 quick questions.

Many thanks to Izzy and Jon for taking the time to answer our questions in a crowded and busy room, and congratulations to The Strumbellas on their 2017 Juno Award nominations for…

1) Group of the Year
2) Single of the Year (Spirits)
3) Juno Fan Choice

Q1: Which Canadian artist would you most like to work with, that you haven’t had a chance to yet in your career?

I&J: Drake & The Weeknd

I mean, how do you argue with these choices if you’re trying to record a hit? We’re in!

Q2: Which Canadian album would you choose to put on during a long road trip… on a loop.

I&J: High Noon by Arkells

Solid choice. Are we listening to this album right now? Maybe. Should you be? Maybe.

Q3: What was the first concert you went to?

Izzy: *NSYNC
Jon: EdgeFest ‘98

While these are very different answers… we’re super happy with both of them!!!

Q4: What is your favourite thing about Ottawa?

I&J: The combination/ratio of Poutine and Beavertails


Q5: What Canadian artist do you think people should be paying more attention to?

I&J: The Zolas

If you’re not in on The Zolas yet… check ’em out. You won’t be disappointed.

5 Quick Questions with Exco Levi!

While we were hanging out at OMDC’s Ontario JUNO Award Nominee Reception in Toronto last week, we had the chance to catch up with Exco Levi for 5 quick questions.

Many thanks to Exco Levi for taking the time to answer our questions in a busy room, and congratulations to him on his 2017 Juno Award nomination for Reggae Recording of the Year for Siren.

Q1: Which Canadian artist would you most like to work with, that you haven’t had a chance to yet in your career?

Exco Levi: Drake

Yup, we’d listen to that.

Q2: Which Canadian album would you choose to put on during a long road trip… on a loop.

Exco Levi: Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s Greatest Hits

Fantastic answer. If you’re Canadian and you dig rock and roll you should already know most of the words to these songs. So turn it up and sing along!

Q3: What was the first concert you went to?

Exco Levi: Can’t remember… there have been a lot of them!

Q4: What is your favourite thing about Ottawa?

Exco Levi: Papa Richie’s reggae radio show on 89.1 fm

If you’re in the Capital region and love reggae, you should probably be listening to this.

Q5: What Canadian artist do you think people should be paying more attention to?

Exco Levi: Exco Levi!

How can we argue with a dude who wants you to listen to his music? Check it out.

What’s Going Right For The Toronto Raptors

Toronto Raptors Banner Tirgan FestivalOn the heels of a successful #DrakeNight at the Air Canada Centre, I would like to take a look at  the Toronto Raptors for the first time since Sean and Allegra helped me with the 2013-14 NBA Season Preview.

As Raps fans can tell you, this season didn’t start out very well. It was slow and there weren’t many wins. Just like last season. And just like last season, a Rudy Gay trade seemed to turn our team around and get us some wins in the ledger. However, the differences this time were the timing (much earlier in the season this time) of the trade and the direction (Rudy out instead of Rudy in) of the player.

Since the trade on December 9 the Toronto Raptors have a record of 12-5 and now hold a 4 game lead over the Brooklyn Nets in the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division.

Let’s take a look at what is working for Drake‘s boys and why they are climbing the standings and the power ranking charts.


NBA BasketballSince the Rudy Gay trade it has been easy for players, coaches, reporters, bloggers, and fans to see that the ball movement has improved. Rudy is a ball stopper. And because he’s a ball stopper, other players didn’t move well without the ball thinking that they were going to get a pass. That has changed. Players are moving with and without the ball. The ball is moving. And players all over the court are giving up good shots to get great shots. It’s making a big difference for this basketball team.

Defined Roles!

Basketball Coach Clipboard PlayIt seems right now that every player on the roster knows what his job is as a Toronto Raptor. Some of the players (Steve Novak, Landry Fields) may not be personally happy with what their roles have become and I understand that, but everyone is doing what they are asked and what they are capable of to help this team become better. We aren’t seeing anyone force the issue when they are having a terrible night to the point that the team is suffering. We aren’t seeing players trying to do things that aren’t in their skill set. We are seeing Team Basketball and I like it a lot.

Player Improvement!

Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross Toronto RaptorsJonas Valančiūnas and Terrence Ross: As young players, both of these young men have improved and made themselves very important pieces of this team. Ross’s shot has improved and become more consistent on the wing and we are all loving the 3’s that he has been raining down. If he continues to shoot well and remember that he can take the ball to the hole, he’ll keep getting better. Jonas has (almost) turned into a double-double machine with his rebounding improving and his toughness and willingness to go hard to the rim becoming more consistent. Having these 2 young players on the team and performing well is a huge boost for Masai Ujuri because now he can continue to look for supporting players to make this team better.

Hard Work and Results!

DeMar DeRozan Toronto RaptorsDeMar DeRozan: With the trade of Rudy Gay complete, DeMar is now the offensive focal point in Toronto. And he has embraced that role and has not disappointed. Consistency is a word that is getting used a lot in this post, and DeMar deserves it too. #10 doesn’t seem to need as many shots per game to get his points, he’s going to the rim and earning his free throws, he’s responsible defensively – he’s playing like an All-Star and I hope we see him in New Orleans. Hell, even James Harden is tweeting about DeRozan deserving to be an All-Star!

Kyle Lowry Toronto RaptorsKyle Lowry: I’m not sure that anyone expected this type of play from Kyle. When Rudy came over the story was that they were best friends and the familiarity would make for dynamic play. But honestly, the defense and assists and leadership and decision making that Lowry has displayed in the last 17 games are what we all really wanted and needed from a Toronto Raptors point guard. PS. How awesome is it to see Kyle Lowry take a charge late in the game to keep the opposition from gaining momentum.

Patrick Patterson, John Salmons, Greivis Vasquez and Chuck Hayes: The New Guys have fit in MUCH better than I hoped. I didn’t think that any of them would contribute as more than minute eaters. Boy was wrong. Patterson, Vasquez and Salmons have become important pieces in Coach Casey’s rotation and I would like to give Chuck Hayes a high five for his effort level over the last 5 games with Hansbrough nursing an ankle injury. Remember when Salmons almost came here as a free agent years ago? I’m kind of loving this new situation more than I think I would have loved that one! And Vasquez is making his case as the back up point guard moving forward on this roster which is a position that is too often overlooked.

Amir Johnson and Tyler Hansbrough Toronto RaptorsAmir Johnson and Tyler Hansbrough:  2 important pieces of this Toronto Raptors team. Amir has always given his heart and soul to the city and the team and this year is no different. His big-to-big play with Jonas has been outstanding. He’s playing within himself as an unselfish player that Coach Casey and the Raptors need him to be. Hansbrough has shown exactly what I wanted him too. He’s a bulldog that won’t back down. He’s a max effort guy that fouls when he needs to, who boxes out and rebounds, who takes his points when they come to him and who puts the team first. I really like these 2 players on this roster.

Landry Fields and Steve Novak:  These 2 get some sympathy from me. I like them both as dudes who say the right things and try to help the team win. I like the effort that Landry Fields shows whenever he has the chance. But with the addition of Patterson and Salmons, they have both seen their minutes dwindle or disappear. Here’s hoping that Masai can find a new home for them with some minutes and opportunities.

Better 2nd Half Play!

Coach Dwane Casey Toronto RaptorsThe Raptors are 7-2-1 in their last 10 3rd quarters. They are coming out of the locker room after the half with a purpose, direction and a plan. Kudos to Coach Casey and his staff for the work that they are doing to make that happen. The play and attitude of the Raptors late in the game has also changed. As a fan I can tell you that I no longer watch the last 8 minutes of a close game wondering how this team is going to lose the game. I watch and wait for someone to make a big play. I watch for big D. I watch for a huge 3 pointer to fall. The play of the Raptors in the 2nd half has resulted in wins. And that’s what matters more than anything.

There are still 47 games left in the regular season. And there are still questions to be answered.
 Will Lowry get an extension, be traded, or will Masai Ujiri wait it out.
 Can Fields, Novak or Hayes be moved to bring in pieces that fit better for Coach Casey?
 Are the Raptors ready for a playoff push at the end of a long season?
 Is this the start of a turn around for the Toronto Raptors and their fans?

I guess we’ll have to wait and see!

4 years ago
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