Published Feb 08, 2013There's currently a proposal to build a new casino with a concert venue in downtown Hamilton, ON, and many members of the city's music community aren't too happy about it. So much so, they've formed an alliance against the proposed project and issued a statement denouncing it.
Among the artists involved with this campaign are Caribou, Junior Boys, George Pettit of Alexisonfire, Young Rival, Sonic Unyon, Steven McKay of Bruce Peninsula, Pick a Piper, Wax Mannequin, Young Empires, Jeremy Fisher, Cowlick, Catherine North Studios, the Dirty Nil, Monster Truck, Max Kerman of Arkells, Bill Majoros of the Foreign Films, and dozens more.
The casino bid comes from Hard Rock Group and Carmens Group Inc. According to the anti-casino statement, "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."
They argue that the casino would detract from the city's vibrant and locally minded arts community. If the casino is approved without a citywide referendum, they promise to boycott the new music venue.
Read the full letter and the lengthy list of supporters below.
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 Lee Reed
Adam Bentley/ The Rest
Lou Molinaro/This Ain't Hollywood Jessy Lanza
Mike Renaud Homegrown Hamilton
Ollie/ Beautry Industries Aaron Sakala/ Lee Reed Cowlick
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 Cam Malcolm
The Kettle Black
The Dirty Nil
Earth Wind and Choir Magic Shadows Annie Shaw
You, Me and the Machine
Pucumber Sasssquash Family Band Steve Hanson In Transit
The Safety Collective
The Baltimore House
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. Matt Paxton
Timid The Brave
FRANKIE & JIMMY
Spooky Astronauts Drawing Club Shelley Woods
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 Homegrown Hamilton