A Guelph musician who put on a driveway performance for neighbours on the weekend got hit with$1,500 in fines.
Late Saturday afternoon, Monty Greig organized and performed a show from his driveway with his band, Monty and the Crew.
Right at the end of the show, police arrived on the scene and Greig received two tickets totalling to $1,500. The tickets were issued for host a nuisance party under a City of Guelph bylaw and fail to comply with a continued section of 7.02 order under the Reopening Ontario Act.
"We were packing up here and they said 'Who's the owner of this home?'" he recalls from the incident, "and I said, 'Oh, I am,' and he said, 'Go get your ID.'
"I didn't realize they were going to be so tough on me, but I guess it is what it is."
Greig said the second charge is kind of a moot point, as there were only four people actually on his driveway, him and his three other band members.
"There were people with chairs that put them out on the front corner, but technically that's not my property, that's a part of the town," he said.
On Facebook, Greig shared a photo of the tickets and wrote a post about the incident, saying he forgave whoever called the police, but that they failed to deter him from sharing the gift of music:
"Today I took it upon myself, to give the gift of music to people who ( I believe) are in dire need of feeling alive again with the presence of live music," said Greig in the post.
"I wish you could have been there to see the joy in people’s faces, the way everyone danced and had fun and that they were feeling that way because of what I was doing for them. The way they seemed to forget how tough the last year and a half has been …. If only for 60 minutes."
The concert drew under 90 people of all ages to Leacock Avenue. While a group of 10 people sat at the front corner of the sidewalk during the show, most residents spread out across nearby sidewalks, curbs or driveways in groups of two or five. At one point, a small group of children and adults broke out dancing in the middle of the street before moving into a neighbour's driveway.
Kelly Farris, one of the adults who was dancing during the show, commented under Greig's post to thank him for the performance.
"Well Monty we are so grateful you did this and I am so sorry to hear that you got the ticket. It was the most fun we have had in a year and a half and really hope you fight this! It was the first time we have felt normal in such a long time! I am one that enjoyed your show more than just about anyone and THANK YOU. I truly needed that and if someone would ask me if live music is essential, I would say it is to me! We will stand with you to fight."
Since it happened, Greig adds he has received a huge outpouring of support on Facebook, with some even offering to help pay the fine.
However, he said he plans to fight the tickets.
"I'd rather fight and fail than have somebody else pay my debt for me," said Greig.
Despite the way the concert ended, this isn't the first time Greig performed for his neighbourhood. In December 2020, Greig performed a Christmas concert on his driveway for his neighbours. At the time, he performed solo and 60 people showed up to watch. No police showed up then, he said.
"There was probably close to the same amount of the people," said Greig about his previous show, "It was all the people seen up the street, all sitting on their front porches equalled more bodies theoretically were there."
Prior to Saturday, Greig also mentions he did speak with the bylaw department to see about obtaining a noise exemption, but he was told the size of the event and expected decibel level didn't meet the criteria for one.
"They said, 'This doesn't fall under anything we can give you a noise exemption for,'" he said from his conversations with bylaw.
"I'm sad it had to end the way it did," he said about the incident, "Maybe people were having too much fun."
Having performed for 30 years, Greig said it felt good to be performing after 15 months of being unable to do so. He also reports his band mates loved every minute of it.
"It was a good show we had a really good time and we were on spot," he said about their performance, "We had a couple of little screwups, but we did a really good job.
"Monty and the Crew will continue to do gigs."