The venue, which opened in 2002, has given upcoming artists a platform to perform live music for the past couple of decades. Grammy Award winning artist The Weeknd started his career on this very stage back in 2011.
“In the city, that [The Mod Club Theatre] was my new home. It was kind of really special for me and magical at the time because there was nowhere else in the world, you could go and see bands,” says Paul Chapman, known as Welshie, tour manager for Andy Grammer.
Chapman worked at the Mod Club Theatre when he first moved to Canada in 2004, and started doing a festival, NXNE: North By Northeast Festival.
The “Mod Club specifically held a couple hundred people so it was insane to experience arena bands playing in a small club,” says Chapman. “It’s a [real] glow for the city. Such an underrated venue,” .
Unfortunately, The Mod Club isn’t the only independent venue that has had to close its doors. According to a Nordicity report “at least 11 Toronto venues have permanently closed” since the pandemic started.
Since March, most venues have had almost zero revenue. Many sectors are hit the hardest in maintaining the business, including live music events, says Erin Benjamin, President and CEO of Canadian Live Music Association.
Around 5,000 musical acts played at these venues every year, which employed about 190 people, says the City of Toronto and Canadian Live Music Association (CLMA) and other stakeholders.
“We’ve seen 12 primary live music venues close in Toronto [and] probably more, then we’re aware of,” Benjamin says.
Among these places, the Round Venue in Kensington Market had to shut down for good.
In March, many non-essential businesses had to close temporarily due to COVID-19, which made it difficult for renters to pay their monthly rents, both commercially and residentially. The provincial government soon after began a rent relief program to aid those in tight financial situations.
However, the Round was evicted by its landlord, who did not want to apply for the relief, Round told BlogTO.
The Orbit Room in Toronto and Starlight Social Club in Kitchener-Waterloo are only a couple other venues that have also closed permanently due to the pandemic.
The Mod Club Theatre along with other independent venues have been a part of Toronto’s live music sector, which over the years morphed the city into a vibrant place to live.
People across the city have been expressing their devastation over the loss of the theatre.
With the COVID-19 cases continuing to rise to alarming numbers and no sign of indoor events being allowed again it only makes sense that more live music venues could be on the verge of shutting down. Not just temporarily but all together.
The Canadian Independent Venue Coalition has been calling people to help keep other venues open so that live music doesn’t disappear in Toronto.
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