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Ticket-holders vented their anger on social media after a popular Caribana event was cancelled less than two hours before it was scheduled to begin Saturday night.
Carnival Kingdom, which had been running for seven years, was cancelled out of the blue by the city, said Katherine Andrews, one of the event’s backstage/hospitality co-ordinators.
The event, hosted by Summer of Sound Fest Inc., is the company’s biggest concert, Andrews said. It was supposed to be held at the Improve Canada outdoor entertainment complex on Keele St., near Highway 407. It was the first time SOS Fest attempted to host the event in Vaughan. Tickets ranged from $35 to $95.
“(People) are angry they cannot get into the show that they’ve been waiting for all year. People paid a lot of money for this show,” Andrews said.
CaribanaToronto.com, which promoted the Carnival Kingdom event, is not connected to the group that runs the downtown Toronto Caribbean Carnival parade.
Co-ordinators expected up to 10,000 people for the sold-out event, but Ricardo Rowe, the legal representative for SOS Fest, said the actual number of tickets sold for Saturday’s show was closer to 5,000. However, 8,100 people bought package tickets with acess several events over the weekend, including Carnival Kingdom.
According to Rowe, Vaughan’s chief licensing officer made the final decision to revoke the permit on Saturday morning, after consulting with several York region departments.
However, event organizers were told of the decision via text message less than two hours before doors were scheduled to open.
Rowe said they were told residents had complained of excessive noise and that their event was over capacity, despite it being an outdoor event.
The SOS Fest had a permit for “1,500 to 1,900-plus” people, he said. In order to get a permit, a number is estimated based on indoor venue numbers, but when it’s outdoors, the “plus” acknowledges that there is no way to predict just how many people could show up, and allows for many more people.