Saskatchewan

'It was an easy decision': Sask. musicians cancel shows to protest Bombargo performance

Several Saskatoon musicians have pulled out of performances at the Coors Event Centre after they discovered the band Bombargo will be playing there next month.

Bombargo band members embroiled in allegations of sexually inappropriate behaviour

Many artists scheduled to play at the Coors Event Centre in September have cancelled their shows to protest a performance by Bombargo, a band with some members facing harassment allegations. (CBC)

Trigger warning for those who have experienced​ ​​​sexual violence or know someone affected by it.  

Several Saskatoon musicians have pulled out of performances at the Coors Event Centre after they discovered the band Bombargo will be playing there next month.

Bombargo has been at the centre of controversy since March, when a Saskatoon woman alleged a 2016 video shoot involving members of the band was a "predatory" and "demeaning" environment.

At least five singers and bands say they have cancelled shows scheduled for this month at the Coors Event Centre because Bombargo will be performing there on Oct. 8.

The venue announced tickets were available for the Bombargo show in social media posts on Wednesday, resulting in dozens of critical comments.

Bombargo accused Tiara Jackle of defamation and launched a civil suit against her for nearly $800,000 after Jackle said that she and two other women — including a minor — experienced inappropriate, unprofessional and sexualized behaviour from Bombargo members Nathan Thoen and Anthony Thoen, as well as other people involved in the 2016 shoot. 

The Thoen brothers, Anthony, left, and Nathan are pictured in this file photo. (CBC) (CBC)

Jackle also alleged the minor was subjected to filming takes for a scene involving a naked man.

Through a statement of claim, members of Bombargo deny all allegations, which haven't been proven in court. 

'Easy decision' to cancel show

Indie artist Ava Janzen, who goes by the stage name velours, said it was an "emotional morning" for her when she found out about Bombargo's show, but that "it was an easy decision" for her to cancel her Sept. 29 appearance. 

"Having a safe venue, a safe place for my audience, my bandmates, for me is what matters most. It is emotional because I mean, as artists, as musicians, we love playing, we love performing. So losing out on a show is always upsetting," velours told CBC News.

"However, my morals just beat out everything else."

Pop rock band Too Soon Monsoon also announced it won't be performing on Sept. 19  

Steve Adams, bassist for Too Soon Monsoon and velours, stated in his Instagram story on Thursday, "We did not know that we would be helping rebuild the Saskatoon music scene, only to be warming up the venue for those guys."  

"That's not a venue I or any of my bandmates would like to support.… At the end of the day, we can all feel good about our decision because we stand with survivors."

Other artists that have cancelled shows include Adeoluwa, Kay the Aquanaut and 6M.

Bombargo did not provide a comment about the artists pulling out of performances when asked by CBC News, but once again denied Jackle's allegations.

Venue says it didn't book Bombargo

CBC News reached out to Coors Event Centre several times for comment but did not hear back. 

However, an email from the venue's general manager to velours said that "Coors Event Centre is primarily a rental facility, and the waters can become quite dirty if we start picking and choosing who is allowed to rent the facility."

"We did not personally book Bombargo, Bombargo rented the facility and are hosting their own event."


To find assistance in your area, visit Sexual Assault Services of Saskatchewan (https://sassk.ca/resources/) for a list of support services throughout the province. 

In Saskatoon, SSAIC operates a 24/7 crisis line in partnership with Saskatoon Crisis Intervention Service at 306-244-2224. In Regina, the Regina Sexual Assault Centre operates a crisis and information line 306-352-0434 or toll free: 1-844-952-0434.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Yasmine Ghania is a reporter for CBC Saskatchewan, currently based in Saskatoon.

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