Almost a dozen shows have been cancelled or relocated from the Smiling Buddah following a claim of sexual assault against one of the venue’s co-owners.
According to NOW, promoters have been scrambling to find new venues for a number of shows as they distance themselves from one of Smiling Buddha’s owners Lucan Wai. Toronto Police confirmed that Wai was arrested and charged with one count of sexual assault last month, though they would not comment on the details.
However, Wai maintained his innocence in a now deleted Facebook post, saying the claims were the result of extortion in a now deleted Facebook post.
Several promoters and booking agents have been trying to find new venues for shows in the coming weeks, including Canadian Music Week and Collective Concerts. One promoter, Matt Sandrin said as soon as he heard of the allegations he knew he had to do something. According to NOW, Sandrin says he is in the process of moving over 30 shows from the venue on College Street. Seeing as it’s one of the few places that have live music events every night, it makes moving all the shows around that much more difficult.
The article also states that Sandrin and longtime Toronto promoter Dan Burke tried to set up a meeting with Wai to convince him to step away, though that meeting never happened.
“The only chance to maintain shows at the venue with such an allegation was if the the person in question withdrew from active management of the club until the court case is resolved,” said Burke, according to Exclaim!. “Even then, we’d have to see if bands were still comfortable with the situation. But that idea went nowhere. So the mass exodus of all our shows began last Friday: Sandrin’s, mine, Collective Concerts, CMW. All of us.”
Yknow growing up I used to go to the smiling Buddha in Toronto. They treated me like a second class citizen.
Now. One of the owners is finally locked up for rape. The other two are still free sadly. And they are almost always empty and just got the worst reputation
— 💦 💦 (@nxsayge) March 8, 2018
In the process of moving shows, some bands have agreed to stay under the expectation that Wai would not be present or involved in any way. Burke said he spoke with Montreal group NOBRO with the option to cancel.
“All the bands have agreed to continue with the show – for now,” Burke explained. “I told them that the person in question would not be at the club during the show and my door person Maggie Smith, club manager Brian Renton and myself would assure the space remains safe.”
Other shows including CMW showcase with Billy Moon, Jaunt and more has been moved to the Garrison, as a number of Collective Concerts shows with Screaming Females, Soccer Mommy and more have also been moved.
Image courtesy Danielle Griscti via Flickr