We are at a two year mark since I first started this 'shitshow' others commonly refer to as Toronto Skyline. It hasn't always been this way. See, Skyline was first started off as a social experiment based on our love for the two best things in the world - partying and hardcore music - and before we started supporting the local hardcore scene, we first began as a social enterprise. To pack as many close friends together in a house, and spend quality time with each other over the long dreadful weekends with otherwise nothing to do.
Then we started putting on bands and had live shows, and got ourselves evicted from numerous establishments. People got arrested, drugs became involved, and without getting into details, stuff got sketchier and sketchier over time.
For as many friends we've made, we've also made an equal amount of enemies. Some people began classifying us as a group of thugs and bandits, destructive to society and our own selves. Others saw it as a booze and drug den for unimpressive goofs to act out. I always dealt with it, because I never lost sight of what we can potentially become if we legitimized what we were running (or rather wanted to run): an open concept venue to support the growth of the independent DIY music scene in the 416.
To say that we've encountered issues reaching this goal would be a serious understatement. Over time our friends split apart, and newer and stupid kids entered our scene to fill in the void. Bands came and went. Damages were made, drugs became prevalent, relationship and girl drama inevitably changed our social and living dynamics, and roommates started splitting. Sooner or later, before the start of 2014, it seems like everybody is at their final straw.
It's true, we really need to move on from holding on to a just party pad. I just turned 25, and I cannot keep doing this anymore.
Although this started off being just about partying, I personally do not want to stop here. In fact, we all promised to not rest until we can lease a sustainable commercial property that would eventually become an open concept studio space which bands, musicians and artists can come and perform.
A place where promoters are capable of booking events without any age restrictions or bar minimum expectations.
A place free of nonsense, drugs, and bad groups of rave kids fucking everything up for everyone.
Finding a property like this is extremely hard if you know a thing about real estate. There's a zoning variance you must apply for, and even if you get it, most landlords and neighbours don't like the possibility of unwanted noise travelling between walls. Also, I am not made of cash. To put forward $10,000 upfront and expect the business to grow sustainably within the first month or two will be an unreasonable expectation. These challenges are hard to overcome and it's what has impeded our road to achievement.
With all this being said though, I am currently working with CYBF and the Business Development of Canada to see whether they can help finance my ownership of a suitable and legal commercial property to advance this venture. Despite of all difficulties, I really want to start this legitimate venue in 2014. Free of all that stupid bullshit that's been plaguing Skyline 2012 - 2013.
Despite of all the fuck-ups and actualities, the vision of Skyline was a solid one from the start. We wanted an independent DIY venue for artists to perform and place for musicians to integrate their creative synergy. It was never about underaged drinkers, doped up ravers, and bitties to begin with. I just wanted to facilitate something that would help the growth of local hardcore and give bands a place to play, touring artists a place to stay, while making some money in the end to live and operate sustainably. Despite of all mistakes and errors, I have never lost my foresight. Yet my hindsight is always 20/20, and the experiences and mistakes is what you ultimately learn from to achieve a higher level of desired outcome.
I sincerely believe a new commercial space can make the live music scene flourish again. I have never lost focus of the greater picture of what this is all about. Because fuck everything that has happened, they are just stepping stones toward something greater.
Can you imagine an inexpensive venue for promoters to book out on a nightly basis for indie, punk, metal and hardcore shows? Do you remember the good old days where there was a show every single weekend and bars didn't charge an arm and leg for bands to play? Do you remember the endless amount of spaces available to host shows and events before the condo boom took over Toronto and tore everything down? Don't you want to bring back the days when all the fun derived from the music itself, the way it should still be?
Despite of those we've alienated and left behind, I don't want the people who has been there from the start to lose faith over what we actually have in store in the future. Because with some optimism, just remember, our goal and vision is still everything you've just read.