A hip-hop and rap festival taking the stage in Laval, Que., Next week has been canceled amid fears for public safety.
Laval police spokesman Jean-François Rouselle said the city is currently facing an increase in gun violence and conflict linked to street gangs.
So far this year, Rouselle said there have been 32 shootings, while the number of firearms seized is already equal to the total for all of last year.
However, it was only after seeing the festival poster that the police asked [co]move – the promoter of LVL UP – to cancel the event.
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Rouselle said some of the acts are known to promote gun culture on social media, while others boast of ties to street gangs.
The fear was that the lineup might be attractive to gang members.
“For us, it was really a huge public safety issue that the gangs attended the event,” Rouselle said. “We fear that due to the context of the shooting at this time, some serious incidents may occur.”
However, the biggest concern was that if violence broke out during the festival, an innocent spectator could be caught in the middle and injured.
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In a statement on Facebook, [co]Motion said that while it was deeply saddened by the decision to cancel the four-day event, it was not worth risking the health and safety of fans and other participants, including staff and performers.
Antoine Latreille, who runs Raccoon, expressed his disappointment, especially as the concerts and events are only now starting anew after the pandemic closures.
“Of course, we find it a shame,” he said, adding that they will now focus their energy on other endeavors.
“We are not here to criticize, if the festival organizers and the police judge it is the only option, so be it,” he said.
“For us, music has always been a way of approaching these kinds of issues in an artistic way. We will continue to work on our other projects. “
The organizers have promised to pay all LVL UP performers despite the cancellation and to fully reimburse ticket holders.
– With files from Gloria Henriquez of Global News
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