[News] Recent Charges Imposed by Canadian Government Threaten Concert Scene

Under The Influence Tour 2013 in Toronto

This sucks. The Canadian Government passed regulations nearly a month ago that pose a potentially serious problem to any thought of a healthy Canadian concert scene. Under the new rules, promoters who wish to book international touring artists have to pay nearly triple what they used to in order to bring them into Canada. Applications used to be $150 per artist; now, they’re $425. Imagine a group of four performers looking to play shows in Canada: under the old rules, a promoter would be paying $600 for the four of them to cross the border for a show; as of July 31st, they now have to shell out $1,700.

It doesn’t take much math savvy to realize that this could really negatively impact any hip-hop acts that aren’t signed to a major label – which is to say, a lot of hip-hop acts. What ripple effect does this have? Promoters charging higher ticket prices? Fewer artists crossing the border? Suddenly, shows that could have turned a decent profit before may not be worth the risk. The whole culture suffers as a result – that’s that ish I don’t like. So, how can we fix this? Well, start by reading the petition below, started by Carlyle Doherty:

An additional $275.00 fee has been added by the Canadian Government to the application for international artists to enter and perform within Canada.

This additional $275.00 fee – applications previously were a one time fee of $150.00, and now total $425 per band member – is required to be paid by talent buyers in Canada when aiming to host an international touring artist. This will inevitably cripple small music venues and small business talent buyers.

As the Calgary Herald reports,

“The new rules, which quietly came into effect July 31, will double, triple or even quadruple the cost of bringing in international artists to perform in bars, restaurants or coffee shops…”

Today we take a stand for the development of culture and performance arts.

The implications of allowing such additional fees will hinder the potential for talented international artists whom simply aim to perform for their fans and expand their recognition. Canada’s introduction of such a fee should not be taken lightly, nor excused. The development of our culture on a global scale and the opportunity to invite talents from beyond our borders is something to be cherished and appreciated, not taxed in such a way that will only discourage Canadian talent buyers from welcoming international talent.

With this inflation of upfront fees associated to bringing an international artist to Canada, the government is taking a clear stance of desired control over a culture that blossoms with freedom and deserve support rather than increased financial responsibility.

As of Thursday evening, the petition has already amassed over 75,000 signatures. Add your voice to the call for change; sign the petition here.