A group of 137 local musicians, venue owners, recording companies and promoters have signed a letter pledging to boycott a music venue attached to the proposed downtown Hamilton casino.
By RTH Staff
Published February 07, 2013
this article has been updated
A group of 137 local musicians, venue owners, recording companies and promoters have signed a letter opposing a downtown Hamilton casino and vowing to boycott promoting or playing at an associated venue.
The letter asserts, "The current revival of our wonderful downtown is due in part to a growing number of small local businesses and a strong and vibrant arts community" and argues that a casino would "very likely hurt local, independent businesses."
The letter responds specifically to the proposal by RockHammer, a new partnership between Carmens Group, Hard Rock Group and LIUNA to bundle a downtown Hamilton casino with a hotel, a music venue and restaurant/bar. "Casinos in cities across North America have been built as self-sustaining developments that use music and other forms of entertainment to prevent people from leaving or utilizing other amenities within the surrounding area."
The letter is published on the website for Sonic Unyon records, a well-known local independent music label.
Following is the text of the letter, including the list of signatories.
February 7, 2013
To whom it may concern,
We are all local musicians, promoters, venue owners or work for a local music business. We are concerned about the impact of a downtown casino on our local music scene. At a recent public information session concerning the effect of a possible casino expansion into downtown Hamilton, city council was advised by Dr. Hannah Holmes, a professor of Economics at McMaster University that a casino would very likely hurt local, independent businesses. The current revival of our wonderful downtown is due in part to a growing number of small local businesses and a strong and vibrant arts community.
The recent proposal by the Hard Rock Group and Carmens Group Inc. for a downtown casino suggests that a live music venue will be a large component of their facility. As musicians, promoters and music venue owners we have a very real concern that a large entertainment complex, run, in part, by a large American-owned corporation, could potentially harm local, independent music venues and promoters. As local independent businesses who do not have the advantage of an exclusive partnership with a gambling monopoly, we are concerned that this development will not compete on a level playing field and harm some of the many businesses who have already invested in the downtown core.
Casinos in cities across North America have been built as self-sustaining developments that use music and other forms of entertainment to prevent people from leaving or utilizing other amenities within the surrounding area.
To be clear, we do not take issue with anyone wanting to build more and larger music venues in Hamilton, however we believe that a large corporation may not be sensitive to our city's musical history, nor care about its impacts on local arts in general. As such, we are stating that should a downtown casino be pushed through at Council without a proper city-wide referendum we would choose to neither play at it nor promote for it.
Michael Keire/ Threshold Recording Studio
Adam Bentley/ The Rest
Lou Molinaro/This Ain't Hollywood
Ollie/ Beautry Industries
Aaron Sakala/ Lee Reed
Pick a Piper
George Pettit/ Alexisonfire
Max Kerman/ Arkells
John Caffery/ Kids on TV
Bill Majoros/ The Foreign Films
Steven McKay/ Bruce Peninsula
Catherine North Studios
Kojo easy Damptey
David Dunham/DAVIDS/DivorceVideo/Don Vail
The Kettle Black
The Dirty Nil
Earth Wind and Choir
You, Me and the Machine
Pucumber Sasssquash Family Band
Steve Hanson In Transit
The Safety Collective
Additional signatories as of February 8:
Chris Logan / Anxiety / Goodfellow Records
Dan Rivero – promoter
The Plain Steel Jamie Shea
Roots 2Leaf Project Dave Reed
Mike Hannay / Anciients
The Steeltown Spoilers
Herd Of Elk
Other Songs Music Co.
Timid The Brave
FRANKIE & JIMMY
Spooky Astronauts Drawing Club
Caleb Collins / Circle Takes The Square
Northern Metal Management
Joe Rico / Sacrifice
Fire End Water
Craig Argyle / The Saints are Coming
Hammer City Records
Kevin Bell/ Black Mountain Music
Kyle Bishop / Grade
Jamie Ryan Downey/ No Shoes & One Sock
Mitch Fillion / southernsouls.ca
Jason Van Gronignen
Weekend Riot Club
The Monarch Project (Jo Boudreau)
Stephen Foster/ The Crawlin' Kingsnakes, Simply Saucer
Update: As of February 8, another 58 members of Hamilton's music community added their names to the statement.