With the Toronto Carribean Carnival or Caribana as it was formally known, wrapping up over the weekend, many Torontonians were looking forward to attending the highly-anticipated Carnival Kingdom.
Organized by SOS Fest Inc., the event was scheduled to take place Saturday evening and would feature performances from artists like Bunji Garlin, Machel Montano, Fay Ann Lyons and Destra.
However, to the disappointment of festivalgoers, the event was reportedly cancelled hours before doors were to open at 9 pm.
Event organizers broke the news over Instagram, saying permits were pulled by the City of Vaughan two hours before the event was scheduled to begin.
The statement also said the event had “all of its permits in place,” ahead of time.
“The permits were pulled by the city just two hours before doors opening. For reasons we don’t know at this time fully. Every event executed has been complete with smooth process and professionalism,” reads the statement.
Statement On Behalf Of Carnival Kingdom – We will be issuing refunds in 72 hours. On behalf of the entire event staff and organizers, we wish to give some explanation on tonight’s cancellation. The event had all of its permits in place and planning was priority throughout the process of presenting such an event. The permits were pulled by the city just 2 hours before doors opening. For reasons we don’t know at this time fully. Every event executed has been complete with smooth process and professionalism. We will be giving updates on how and when people will be refunded. We ask all to be patient and trust in our integrity and history.
According to a statement from the City of Vaughn, the permits were revoked “after it was determined that organizers did not comply with the terms of the permit.”
The statement also said, “enforcement staff are committed to taking the necessary action to ensure all permit conditions are followed in the best interest of the public.”
Staff revoked the permit of the event (SOS FEST) after it was determined that organizers did not comply with the terms of the permit. Enforcement staff are committed to taking the necessary action to ensure all permit conditions are followed in the best interest of the public.
— City of Vaughan (@City_of_Vaughan) August 5, 2018
The cancellation of Carnival Kingdom led to a backlash on social media with many attendees saying how disappointed they were with the City’s decision.
This was beyond disappointing. Please indicate which terms specifically @SOSFestTO were in contravention of!!! We had guests visiting from around the world and this was not how we wanted them to experience Toronto!
— Resh (@TarahDevi) August 5, 2018
City of Vaughan cancels Carnival Kingdom because of noise complaints. Yet thousands more people live closer to where VELD is being held in Toronto and there’s no problem… so much for embracing diversity city administration should be ashamed its 2018 not 1950
— Martini (@416Martini) August 5, 2018
As a New Yorker coming to #caribana seeing #carnivalkingdom cancelled harkens to feelings of racism that I’ve experienced. Cities like Caribbean people when it’s convenient. I hope the residents of Toronto put up a fight because this was disgusting.
— Brunch’alla (@diversemind) August 5, 2018
— Samantha (@Georgie1Love) August 5, 2018
But it wasn’t only festivalgoers who were upset over the cancellation.
Trinidadian singer Machel Montano was scheduled to perform at the event and said in an Instagram post he learned the event had been cancelled as he was getting dressed to go to the venue.
“I’m truly saddened that I was not able to perform for the fans — I never miss a show and this one was not in my, or my team’s, control,” he said. “I love performing here and we were going to have a time together last night.”
Event organizers told festivalgoers refunds would be issued in 72 hours.