Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Kanye West, Pitbull Pan Am Performance Embarrassing for Toronto Arts Scene

It was announced today that the July 26 Toronto 2015 closing ceremonies are going to be a sellout. Not necessarily in terms of the attendance numbers that the Roger Centre will bring, but because of the ridiculous lineup of musical artists who will be performing.

With Kanye West and Pitbull being revealed as artists who will perform at the finale, organizers plucked artists off of the American Top 40 instead of where they should have: the streets of Toronto.

Instead of celebrating Toronto and Canada like the opening ceremonies did, the closing ceremonies look like they will be leaning a lot towards one of the city’s other favourite pass times: trying to be more like America.

What is even more surprising about this is that Toronto’s music scene is one of the most vibrant in all of the Americas. There really shouldn’t be a need to import whatsoever. Of that aforementioned American Top 40, two Toronto natives are currently featured and neither of them are Drake.

Aside from Drake, Toronto boasts a number of music artists that aren’t just well known in Canada, but have international exposure.

Rock band Rush was just inducted into the Rock hall of fame in 2013, deadmau5 is a chart topping DJ, the Weeknd and Shawn Mendes are some of the world’s hottest new artists and Indie band Metric has earned international acclaim. This just names a few potential headliners.

This speaks only for Toronto and not even the surrounding era where there are even more world class musical artists more than capable of bringing excitement and recognition to the Pan Am games closing ceremonies.

Even if a lot of them were booked up, which was probably the case why at least a couple of these artists are not performing, why not give a young Toronto artist an opportunity?

Heck there were even more Canadians at the 2011 closing ceremonies in Guadalajara, Mexico where Drake, Three Days Grace and Nickelback all performed. In that vein Kanye and Pitbull would make sense, if they were somehow in anyway affiliated with the next Pan Am host: Lima, Peru.

At least the opening ceremonies will have some Toronto to them, as local pop singer Serena Ryder will be performing. Ryder is the artist who recorded “Together we are One”, which serves as the anthem for Toronto 2015.

If the idea behind Kanye is to build hype then that was certainly accomplished. The Pan Am games have up to this point been fairly devoid of celebrity.

For his part, Kanye isn’t a stranger to this sort of controversy. Earlier this year he was announced as the headliner for the Glastonbury music festival, which irked fans who wanted a rock band in his place. They said his performance was against the spirit of the festival.

Well this is certainly what against the spirit of the 2015 Pan Am games, or at least what they should be. If this is really about promoting arts across all of the Americas, as has been the excuse used, why not give some Peruvian artists an opportunity to perform?

At the end of the day it is disappointing that a competition that was supposed to promote the culture and arts of the city of Toronto will end with such a slap in the face to its talented arts scene. This isn’t about selling tickets, it’s about selling the city.


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