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iDance Rally and Olivia Chow

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Old 08-01-2014, 12:29 PM   #1
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iDance Rally and Olivia Chow



For those who didn’t know…

Olivia Chow helped save Toronto’s electronic music scene. Fourteen years ago, on August 1, 2000, Olivia and the iDance Rally convinced city council to overturn its ban on electronic music events on city properties.

Months prior, in response to deaths linked to underground parties, Toronto police chief Julian Fantino and Mayor Mel Lastman declared a “war on raves.” Using fear mongering tactics, they convinced city council to ban late night gatherings on city property featuring electronic music, which they could only define as repetitive music having at least 120 BPM. Olivia was the only city councillor who not only recognized the folly of banning a movement that was not yet understood, but was willing to do something about it. She managed to insert an amendment into the council decision requiring the ban to be reconsidered, in three months time, on August 1, 2000.

Olivia took the time to learn about our city’s electronic music scene. After meeting with promoters, artists and community members, she recognized the cultural value as well as the economic impact electronic music has on Toronto, including tourism, fashion and many other industries. As a result, Olivia chose to support the grassroots organizers in the scene and the Party People Project to organize and reverse the ban and promote a sustainable vision for electronic music events in the city.

Olivia worked with leaders in the rave community to organize a rally against the ban at the doorstep of city hall on August 1, 2000, and thus the iDance Rally was born. Olivia also created the Toronto Dance Safety Committee, consisting of rave promoters, community members and members of the Public Health Board. This included a set of rules to be followed by promoters to make parties safer in all communities that host major events. This led to further recognition and support from Caribana and activists within the gay and lesbian community, groups that had faced similar profiling issues in the past. Most importantly, she helped educate the media, politicians and the public about the positive nature of electronic music and rave culture.

The iDance Rally was promoted not just as a political event, but as the party of the year, and boasted what is to this day one of the most impressive gatherings of DJ talent that our city has ever seen. Drawing a crowd of 20,000, making it the largest rally of its kind in Toronto’s history, the iDance Rally and the grassroots campaign succeeded in overturning the city council ban by an overwhelming vote of 50 – 4.

Had it not been for Olivia’s progressive thinking, creativity and ability to work with the community and get all sides working together, our city’s electronic music scene would have been crushed by the ban. Today’s EDM promoters, DJs and followers owe Olivia a debt of gratitude.

On this, the fourteenth anniversary of the iDance Rally, we express our thanks to Olivia Chow. Please pass this on to anyone that may fondly remember, or who may be interested in learning about, this important time in our scene’s history.

This letter was conceived of and drafted by a group of people who represent past members of the iDance Rally organizers, The Party People Project, Toronto Dance Safety Committee as well as current promoters and community members who want to thank Olivia for her commitment and dedication to supporting and protecting electronic music in the city.


Signed,


Aaron Micks of Dose Productions, Lifeforce Industries, Syrous and Turbo Nightclub
Adam Gill of Embrace
Adam K of Hotbox Digital
alexd of the iDance Organizing Committee / TRIBE - tribe.ca
alienInFlux
Boreal Canoe Trips
Box of Kittens
breakandenter
Chris & Robin Frolic of Hullabaloo! Promotions
Cody Blanchard of Toronto Rave Community (TRC)
Dave and Irving of Promise
Don Berns a.k.a. Dr. Trance
DJ Jelo
Harvest Festival
James A, The Communic8r
Jennstar
Jeremy K and Alex M of Platform Entertainment
Jesse Brown of Destiny Events / Projek
Mat Lunnen of Hustlin', Solma
Ozmosis Productions
Pablo J (DJ Spinz) of Soul In Motion / SpinzCycle.com
Ryan Kruger of Destiny Events / Electronic Nation
Stephan Philion and Joel Smye of Coda Nightclub
Steve Mealing of Dose Productions, Lifeforce Industries, Syrous and Turbo Nightclub
Steve Richman of Suma and Om Reunion Project
TorontoJungle.com
TranceAddict.com
Tyler Cho of the iDance Organizing Committee, Lifeforce Industries and Turbo Nightclub
Will Chang of the iDance Organizing Committee
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Old 08-01-2014, 12:34 PM   #2
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Old 08-01-2014, 12:43 PM   #3
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Old 08-01-2014, 12:50 PM   #4
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If you would like to add your support for the letter, please email idancetoronto@gmail.com
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Old 08-01-2014, 03:10 PM   #5
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Is this your official endorsement for this candidate?
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Old 08-01-2014, 03:14 PM   #6
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Wow. I've grown up A LOT. #thatisall
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Old 08-01-2014, 03:24 PM   #7
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Is this your official endorsement for this candidate?
i won't speak for alex, but my guess is he'd say it is not an official endorsement for mayor. (alex's political views are evident in other threads.)

the letter was a community effort by the folks listed as signatories. the purpose of the letter is not to tell people to vote for olivia. (in truth, some of the folks that helped with the letter may not vote for her.) the purpose of the letter is our way of reminding the electronic music community of what olivia chow has done for that community in the past, so that people can take that into account when deciding on the next mayor.

that's all. we expect that voters will consider a large number of factors in deciding which candidate to support. this is a reminder of one factor. in our view, the gratitude is well deserved given how she helped our community back then.
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Old 08-01-2014, 03:27 PM   #8
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it was also a good opportunity to dig out some old pictures and news articles. those were good times!
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Old 08-01-2014, 03:54 PM   #9
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Those candy necklaces would melt and get so gross. Eww.
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Old 08-01-2014, 04:23 PM   #10
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Old 08-01-2014, 05:07 PM   #11
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Mmmmm melty sweaty candy necklaces.
This flash back made me smile and gave me a serious kick of nostalgia.
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Old 08-01-2014, 07:51 PM   #12
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Is this your official endorsement for this candidate?
Nope, I am voting for David Soknacki at this point in time, and TRIBE has never 'officially endorsed' any political candidate in any election. This of course does not mean that I don't appreciate her efforts back in the day and thus my hosting of this thread.
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Old 08-01-2014, 09:35 PM   #13
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iDance was the first time I became aware of Olivia.

I was never much politically involved back then, but I did volunteer for one of the iDance rallies as a "marshal" because I thought the health of Toronto's vibrant electronic music culture was under threat.

Before Olivia I thought all politicos were curmudgeons, panderers, spindoctors and short-sighted.

But look, there was one, up there on stage, speaking some of our language at a time when no other politician would reflect the many voices the thousands present that day in Nathan Phillips Square.

This was a time I'll remind you, that our NooooooBody furniture salesman of a mayor was friendlier to Hell's Angels than he was to raves, the computer leasing corruption scandal was in full swing, municipal cronyism was rampant, cops seemed indifferent or even oppressive to partiers, and most politicians were simply being reactive against Raves to score political points.

Politicians of the day refused to do the homework and were out of touch when it came to electronic music parties.

That impression of Olivia stuck with me. And when I met Olivia in person many years later, I didn't hesitate to mention my gratitude for her presence at iDance. However little, she helped shift my perception of the value of politics, action, organizing and getting involved in the bigger picture.

To say the least, we now again we find ourselves with completely inadequate municipal leadership. So I think it is more important than ever to remember who was there at the beginning, before the Millers, garbage strikes, Fords, crack scandals, subway sloganeering, and the clown show that seems ever present at City Hall today.

Toronto now enjoys mainstream acceptance of electronic music in a large part thanks to those who stood up for it back then. Huge electronic music events like Veld and Digital Dreams seem to take center stage every summer not to mention many of the large weekly events that happen year-round, many of which still involve some of those who worked on iDance. So it's hard to believe that at a time, parties were seen as threatening to Toronto. It was because people like Olivia stood up for the electronic music scene, that we still have a pretty vibrant and robust dance music culture today.

tL;dr, Olivia stood up when it counted. She is the real deal.

Just my two cents.
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Old 08-01-2014, 10:52 PM   #14
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Derrick Carter and Dave Clarke shared a stage with The OC
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Old 08-02-2014, 01:18 AM   #15
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Typical politicians always twisting the truth and always vying for culture cred in the underground music scene, fishing for votes. There are a lot of facts in this letter that are not true. i am happy that Olivia supports "the scene" but i feel she is over stating her involvement to get votes from our community. i feel very mixed about this letter, why can't people just speak truth... blah
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Old 08-02-2014, 07:49 AM   #16
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^ hi there. the letter did not come from olivia. it comes from the community members that signed it.

the content of the letter was written carefully and then debated/edited by various parties, so that all who signed it would be comfortable that the statements in the letter are accurate. if you believe that anything in the letter is untrue or overstated, please elaborate. you can post your views here, or email them to idancetoronto@gmail.com. all views are welcome!
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Old 08-02-2014, 07:51 AM   #17
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p.s. otis - great post. *touches fists*
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Old 08-02-2014, 02:06 PM   #18
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seeing all those logos at the bottom of the flyer brings me back! thanks for this.
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Old 08-02-2014, 04:05 PM   #19
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seeing all those logos at the bottom of the flyer brings me back! thanks for this.
Sadly, nearly all of those entities have vanished.
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Old 08-02-2014, 05:36 PM   #20
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…Olivia was the only city councillor who not only recognized the folly of banning a movement that was not yet understood, but was willing to do something about it. She managed to insert an amendment into the council decision requiring the ban to be reconsidered, in three months time, on August 1, 2000...Olivia took the time to learn about our city’s electronic music scene...Had it not been for Olivia’s progressive thinking, creativity and ability to work with the community and get all sides working together, our city’s electronic music scene would have been crushed by the ban.
What makes this an endorsement as it recognizes the "support for the community" at that time during a mayoral race and thus "this community" will implicitly make the connection of the goodwill she earned in that episode to the present.

Understanding, consideration, fairness are great qualities and she has those in spades from what I can tell. To highlight those qualities is to endorse her character, which will serve to set her apart from the rest of the field for those in the community who remember that time. If you still believe that is not an endorsement, then at least one person thinks you all did in fact endorse her.

Nothing wrong with that, especially for her and she and her husband got my thanks a few years after. I need to see more about her policies though to be able to vote for her for mayor.

I don't doubt other character traits will disqualify another candidate FORD from consideration for many people.
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Old 08-02-2014, 05:52 PM   #21
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Sadly, nearly all of those entities have vanished.
*Pours out glowstick on the curb*
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Old 08-02-2014, 07:11 PM   #22
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iDance was the first time I became aware of Olivia.

I was never much politically involved back then, but I did volunteer for one of the iDance rallies as a "marshal" because I thought the health of Toronto's vibrant electronic music culture was under threat.

Before Olivia I thought all politicos were curmudgeons, panderers, spindoctors and short-sighted.

But look, there was one, up there on stage, speaking some of our language at a time when no other politician would reflect the many voices the thousands present that day in Nathan Phillips Square.

This was a time I'll remind you, that our NooooooBody furniture salesman of a mayor was friendlier to Hell's Angels than he was to raves, the computer leasing corruption scandal was in full swing, municipal cronyism was rampant, cops seemed indifferent or even oppressive to partiers, and most politicians were simply being reactive against Raves to score political points.

Politicians of the day refused to do the homework and were out of touch when it came to electronic music parties.

That impression of Olivia stuck with me. And when I met Olivia in person many years later, I didn't hesitate to mention my gratitude for her presence at iDance. However little, she helped shift my perception of the value of politics, action, organizing and getting involved in the bigger picture.

To say the least, we now again we find ourselves with completely inadequate municipal leadership. So I think it is more important than ever to remember who was there at the beginning, before the Millers, garbage strikes, Fords, crack scandals, subway sloganeering, and the clown show that seems ever present at City Hall today.

Toronto now enjoys mainstream acceptance of electronic music in a large part thanks to those who stood up for it back then. Huge electronic music events like Veld and Digital Dreams seem to take center stage every summer not to mention many of the large weekly events that happen year-round, many of which still involve some of those who worked on iDance. So it's hard to believe that at a time, parties were seen as threatening to Toronto. It was because people like Olivia stood up for the electronic music scene, that we still have a pretty vibrant and robust dance music culture today.

tL;dr, Olivia stood up when it counted. She is the real deal.

Just my two cents.
It doesn't sound like much has changed. But if you count Musik nightclub managed to get it shut down again, for a brief time this year.

Mike Layton got that reversed quickly, but one day there won't be any Laytons left to keep saving the government property scene.

I think what happened in the early 2000's effectively wiped out raves permanently. There were the larger raves on city property, but all the smaller wharehouse venues, basement venues were effectively removed at the same time imo.

All this Veld shit is a concert, not a rave. For the most part I'd admit everyone's having fun, but at the same time too many kids are dying, and fighting because they're the butt end of a huge industry who's interested in making money, over delivering an experience which keeps them from fighting, and pushing themselves to far with experience/leadership. Not pie throwing.

The remaining licensed clubs take up the existing slack, but seem to have a varied shelf life as usual.

Quote:
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Raves were never banned from public property. There were conditions that had to be met to hold raves on gov't owned property such as those at the CNE (Automotive building, Better Living centre etc). The conditions included having enough PDO's, onsite medical staff etc.. if you met those you could hold the party. It drove the cost way up and it happened at a time when most of the bigger promotion companies had run their course and bowed out.

There are no stipulations for non gov't owned property. You can hold a rave there just as they did 10 years ago. It just so happened kids were dropping off from G overdoses every second week at the end of 99 so finding a willing venue owner was almost impossible.

Its now 5 years later.. the atmosphere for renting spaces now is more friendly than it was back then however there is no drive for anyone to take the financial risk. Clubs are a cheaper and safer route.. not to mention fucking boring as well.

I agree that the day promoters stopped using non-club spaces is when raves truly died in this city.. however there are other cities that never got to this point and raves still thrive there to this day. Find a flyer for a party in Quebec City and you'll see what I mean.
http://www.tribemagazine.com/board/n...eply&p=2344544

Last edited by JamesM; 08-02-2014 at 07:15 PM.
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Old 08-02-2014, 09:20 PM   #23
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p.s. otis - great post. *touches fists*
*touches dicks*

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Old 08-02-2014, 10:00 PM   #24
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the iDance was all about saving the scene, because it was kicked like a red ass mule at the time. I know the concept travelled beyond the City owned property, but the damage was done.

What the real problem was still imo, is the lower rave circuit scene was destroyed. Everyone would conglomerate to the mega parties on city land after the summer, etc. But since that sequence ended, the scene died.

any way you slice it, alexd is the man, and really it was a special time for everyone to have experienced all that which was.
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Old 08-03-2014, 02:42 PM   #25
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Aside from noobs, Chow has always had strong support on Tribe.
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