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Afrofest cut by a day after city claims it violated noise bylaws

It looks like Afrofest is getting a trim.

Music Africa, which organizes the long-standing Toronto festival, says the city has reduced the event to just one day from its usual two.

The reason?

According to Beaches-East York Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon, the festival has flagrantly disregarded noise bylaws, disrupting area residents.

McMahon told CityNews her office was flooded with complaints from irritated east-end residents after last year’s festival. Most notably, she says the music was played far too loud, and continued well past the 8:00 p.m. deadline on Sunday.

After years at Queen’s Park, Afrofest has taken place at Woodbine Park in The Beach over the last four years.

Organizers say this year’s 28th annual event will suffer significantly because of the lost day and on Monday, Music Africa issued a press release saying the decision could put the future of the festival in peril.

“This move will not only make it difficult to organize a viable festival but also hinder its growth and community impact,” said Music Africa president, Peter Toh.

“This seems in complete contradiction to Toronto’s official “Music City” initiatives.”

In the release, Music Africa also vehemently refuted the city’s allegations that they ignored noise bylaws.

“The sound company we employ does most of the events at Woodbine Park, including Canada Day and Beaches Jazz festival concerts, and use the same sound equipment, crew and sound levels,” Toh said.

“The volume at Afrofest is no different than at those events, but in our case they are being called violations.”

CityNews reporter Cynthia Mulligan will be speaking to both sides. You can watch her full report at citynews.ca/live at 5 p.m.