The Toronto punk scene has lacked a regular spot for a while now. The EDM scene has various spots such as Comfort Zone or the recently closed Guvernment which will be replaced as the main spot by the Sound Academy, the jazz scene has The Rex, and of course people who are into Top 40 have an endless selection of bars to choose from. But the punk scene still doesn't have a hub for people to go to on a regular basis.
Punk fans have been left to go to different spots every weekend without a guarantee that they will find something to go to every time. Sneaky Dee's does a decent job at bringing cheap shows around quite often, but they still don't offer punk fans something all of the time. So fans are left chasing events at various venues such as The Opera House or the Annex Wreckroom.
Jess Montebello and Erika Supply plan to fill this void through their vegan cafe, D-Beatstro which will be hosting various events for the punk scene.
"Our intention is to have a space where people can host events whether they're social events, music events, artistic events, so we're hoping it's a place where everyone can come together and not only just be an event space but a meeting space," said Montebello.
D-Beatstro is starting themselves off with a four day pop up market with various vendors offering candles, art prints, photography, t-shirts and homemade jewelry among other things.
"It's nice to have this soft opening. For us, the tables were really cheap to rent for four days but every person paying for a table is totally going to fund the next few projects and all the stuff they need to get to finish off everything that they're doing," said Amanda Breeze, a friend of the owners who is helping with renovations.
"The Toronto punk scene seriously needs a solid venue that people can just go to. Toronto doesn't really have that sweet spot where you know there's always something cool going on and some of your friends will be there."
When you walk into D-Beatstro, you can tell that the environment they are striving for comes across in the proper way. With punk songs being played over the speakers and everyone chatting away with each other, you already can see how this will become the meeting place that they want for the punk scene.
"The intention of this pop up market was, we have an empty space, why not use it. We're in the middle of our renovations still but because none of our furniture or anything big is in we wanted to bring the community together and showcase local artists and I think it's been a really great first event for us to have since so much of the community has been involved in vending here and there's a little bit of something for everyone," said Montebello.
The do it yourself attitude of D-Beatstro is easy to see in the pop up market with all of the vendors offering items that they made from scratch. The events that they will be holding in the future are going to be very accessible for everyone and provide a means for the community to get together.
"I honestly think that what they're doing is great because a lot of the events that they are going to be having are by donation, so it's something that you can afford and if you wanted to do your own event they're opening up their doors to people who don't have a lot of money but do want to do an event. It opens doors to people who are just starting out too," said Sofi Estrada, co-owner of Great Spirit Designs and vendor at the pop up market.
D-Beatstro plans to keep up the excitement of the pop up market with a show on March 6 hosting local hardcore bands as well as bands from Montreal and Vancouver. They will also be hosting shows on March 13, 14 and 28 along with a Punk Rock Lottery on March 20.