04/18/2014 02:35 EDT | Updated 06/18/2014 05:59 EDT

Muzik Nightclub Facing Boycott After Ban On Dance Parties At Exhibition Place

Instagram: muzikclubs

Toronto's Exhibition Place has banned all-ages dance parties from its grounds, causing a wave of online protest and a boycott against the club that requested the clamp down on the events. 

Muzik is the nightclub on Exhibition Grounds that petitioned the board to stop dance parties that did not take place at Muzik. In response, #BoycottMuzik is the hashtag used on social media to raise awareness to the issue as well as an online petition that currently has more than 5,000 signatures.

On April 11, the Exhibition Place Board of Governors voted 4-3 to ban all-ages electronic dance music parties from its venues, Better Living Centre and the Direct Energy Centre. Safety was a primary concern for members of the board who voted against the dance parties.

Those concerns were brought to the board by Zlatko Starkovski, the owner of Muzik. 

He told the board the parties would attract pedophiles and drug dealers because of the all-ages entry and nature of the events.

Starkovski characterizes the all-ages parties as 'raves', a term made popular in the 1990s to describe large parties with DJs and dancing often fuelled by drugs.

"Allowing these events such as raves...not only damages our good work, but that of the Exhibition Place being a location for top notch entertainment and hospitality and events," said a statement by Muzik. 

Proponents of dance music parties at Exhibition Place prefer to call it EDM (Electronic Dance Music) parties.

The opponents of the ban point to political interference in the decision. Coun. Gord Perks, who sits on the board and voted against the ban, said the only reason the ban was considered is because of Muzik's involvement. He called it a "politically connected nightclub".

Mayor Rob Ford has made several appearances at Muzik, which he says were a part of his re-election campaign. Muzik provided the beer and wine at the mayor's semi-regular FordFest parties.

The board is made up of several city councillors, including Perks, Mike Layton, Gloria Lindsay Luby and Giorgio Mammoliti, and is chaired by Coun. Mark Grimes.

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