From naloxone kits to earplugs: A Saskatoon music venue's plan to make concerts safer and more welcoming
Amigos Cantina, a restaurant and music venue in Saskatoon, is implementing several changes for its guests after conducting a community consultation survey in October.
The venue has been open since 1988, hosts two to three concerts a week and can hold up to 300 people.
According to Amigo Cantina’s Facebook page, it said some guests didn’t always feel safe and wanted to do something about it.
“We didn’t realize all the barriers that certain groups may face while they go out to have a nice time or just go out,” owner and manager Jim Clarke told CTV News.
Several hundred people filled out the “lengthy survey” and some changes have already been implemented, Clarke said.
Gender neutral bathrooms, sound panels to control volume, expanded seating and earlier show times are the ideas that concertgoers will already notice.
Clarke says the venue plans on developing a safe space policy, having naloxone trained staff, designing a mocktail menu and having staff walk concert goers to their car for safety.
The venue also plans to make earplugs available to concertgoers.
Anna Haverstock is a singer and guitarist and has been performing at Amigos Cantina for nearly eight years. She says the new changes will make patrons, artists and other guests feel safer.
“It makes me really happy and feel like there’s a good future for all of us that like to attend or play shows,” Haverstock said.
Haverstock participated in the survey and says the new measures will go a long way.
DeAnn Mercier, executive director of Broadway Business Improvement District, says the venue is taking leadership by posting the changes it's making on social media so the public can hold them accountable.
“So it’s not just saying ‘these are the missions and values’ but actually saying ‘these are the steps operationally that we are going to do that are going to create change,’” Mercier said.
Mercier says the changes are an opportunity for other businesses to follow suit.