Concert-goers got more than they paid for when a gun was fired inside the Smiling Buddha, during a performance. No one at the bar was injured but guests voiced safety concerns following the incident.
On Nov. 9, the Smiling Buddha held the event “Live from the Pressure Cooker,” a concert that promoted Toronto’s upcoming rappers. Performers included local artists Brown Bag Money, Daniel Son, Rigz, Raz Fresco, Falcon Outlaw and many more.
The concert was cut short when a gunshot was heard during the final performance of the night. Bar owner Lucan Wai says the incident began when a fight between a couple took place outside of the Smiling Buddha. The woman ran inside the bar following the argument, and a man followed her inside, rushing past security and firing off a single shot from inside the venue. The band Brown Bag Money voiced its frustration on its Instagram page.
The self-declared “dive bar” is known for its retro decor, limited space and cheap beer. Following the shooting, many are worried about the lack of safety that seems to be a reoccurring issue for the bar.
Brown Bag Money member Daniel Son said they had clearly communicated with the owner of the venue prior to the show to avoid any issues.
“We had constant clear communication with the owner about our expected attendance, which we told them would be at capacity as we had sold close to 70 tickets pre-sale and the venue capacity was 150 people.”
Son said they were assured by the owner there would be adequate staff to ensure the night went smoothly, but on the night of the concert there was only one bartender and one security guard at the front door who was noticeably unqualified,
“He was just marking hands at the door, no patdowns,” said Son.
Falcon Outlaw, a local Toronto rap artist, was on stage performing when the shooting took place. Following the show, they posted on social media saying, “I guess rap and the streets are forever joined.”
Son said that following the incident, the owner made it clear that they would not be taking responsibility and had no intention of refunding the artists for the night. Wai says he declined to refund the artists because of the disrespect and lies he’s seen posted to social media by performers that night. The owner also says he complied to the services he and the performers had agreed upon.
“We agreed on one security guard and one bar tender. We didn’t know it was going to be such a rough crowd, they knew but they didn’t speak up or tell us they would need more security, If we had known what kind of crowd it was we wouldn’t have done it,” said Wai.
The future of the Smiling Buddha is up in the air following the shooting but performers that night say this show will not be there last. Falcon Outlaw posted on a video of his set that night to Instagram with the caption, “The boys will return on stage again!! Stay tuned.”
Toronto Police are investigating the shooting. Anyone with information is asked to contact authorities or Crime Stoppers.