Administrators for the Ottawa Congress Center in Canada recently told a group of students that they would no longer be allowed to use the venue for a Rock The Vote event on October 1 that Nas was scheduled to headline. According to the CBC News, the Ottawa and Carleton University students who organized the show claim the venue’s officials cancelled the event because Nas is a hip-hop artist. Isaac Cockburn, vice president of student issues for Carleton University’s Student’s Association, says that when the students confirmed Nas as the headliner, they were told they could no longer hold the event. According to him, Peter Seguin, vice president of food and beverage for the venue, said that the Center has a policy banning hip-hop and rap acts altogether. “He in fact said that he’d had over 200 requests for hip hop shows that he’s turned down over the past couple of years,” Cockburn said. “He said that it was an increased security risk and that it was a vulnerability that the Congress Centre was not willing to take on.”
Cockburn also claims to have received a phone call from Paul Keogh, the center’s vice president of client services, in which he stated that the decision to cancel the concert was not because of such a policy, but rather was because of Nas’ violent lyrics. Lynn Martichenko, a spokeswoman for the center who refused to be interview on record by the CBC, said neither Keogh or Seguin were available for comment. Martichenko’s official stance is that the event was cancelled because the center was intended for meetings and conventions, not concerts. On Thursday (August 30), OCC president Pat Kelly continued to deny the alleged comments made by his employees, and announced that musical events of any type will no longer be allowed at the center. Meanwhile, Cockburn and the students organizing Rock The Vote have reportedly found a new venue.