NEWS

Toronto hip-hop concert cancelled over security concerns

06/15/2012 09:53 EDT | Updated 08/15/2012 05:12 EDT

The North by Northeast music festival says a concert set scheduled in Toronto's downtown core this week was cancelled because of concerns over security.

The show, which included several performers including the hip-hop artist Rich Kidd, was slated to be held at the Rivoli near Queen and Spadina on Wednesday. It was cancelled just hours before show time.

The organizer, Brenden Hewko of SmashMouth Entertainment, told CBC News he found out about the change of plans through social media.

"I saw a tweet from Rivoli stating that due to unforeseen circumstances the showcase that was scheduled for that night was cancelled," he said.

The NXNE festival said in an email to CBC News that the show was cancelled over security concerns and that it was beyond their control. Hewko says North by Northeast told him police had voiced concerns about the performers and their alleged connections to gangs.

Hewko said none of the performers promote violence or gang activity in their music and believes police are singling out black hip-hop performers because of the fatal shooting at the Eaton Centre.

Toronto police Chief Bill Blair, speaking publicly for the first time since the aftermath of the Eaton Centre shooting, said that's not the case.

Police insist they are not targeting a particular group or type of music.

"If the guns and gangs task force had information that represented a threat to public safety, I think it was responsible of them to bring that to the attention of the promoter," Blair said. "And if the promoters made the decision to cancel the show, that's fine."

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