Fédération pour les Arts Nocturnes comprenant les Travailleur·euses et Organisateur·ices de Montréal






FANTOM is a non-profit collective created by and for queer/trans/BIPOC/ally underground nightlife and after-hours artists, workers, and organizers in Tiohtià:ke / Montreal. FANTOM’s mission is to ensure the safety, sustainability, and solidarity of a thriving alternative nightlife culture through collective action, policy analysis and advocacy, as well as the creation of tools for knowledge and resource sharing.


FANTOM relies on community input via surveys, meet-ups, and working groups in order to guide projects and set priorities. We organize cross-community meetings as platforms for accountability, consensus building, and generating new relationships and opportunities for collaboration.





SAVE THE DATE


29 Feb 2024  
Collide: Nightlife before dark

@ cafe SAT / 6-10pm / open decks
→ more on Collide


TAKE ACTION


→ send an email urging the Quebec govt to keep tenants’ right to lease transfer

Bill 31 s a direct threat to Montreal’s underground art/ists.

The legislation is still under study, either for the next couple weeks or months. But for the government to reverse course, we must express our disapproval en masse.

Write to the housing minister to urge revisions to Bill 31 to protect underground art/ists, as well as all marginalized communities at the heart of our city and our nightlife. 

Emails and letter template here.



CALL FOR RESOURCES


If you know of resources or organizations in Montreal or other cities/ countries, please send them our way so we can collaborate and build off existing work!

we want to hear about: 

→ organizations that promote safety/ inclusivity within nightlife or beyond (like GRIP and PLURI)

→ books/ zines / guides about safer dancefloors, safer event design, intervention strategies, etc

→ unions or guilds for performers, pay scale recommendations, legal resources, etc

→ platforms that encourage accountability within a community or other network

→ any other resource we should include in an online directory for nightlife organizers, workers, and artists - even if from another city/ country/ sector




PROJECTS



COLLIDE : NIGHTLIFE BEFORE DARK


Collide is an all-evening event co-hosted by Studio ZX and FANTOM, intended to serve as a shared and open space for the many scenes that make up Montreal nightlife to meet, find common ground, and build lasting ties of solidarity—regardless of experience level or other barriers. 

→ more on Collide


GUIDEBOOK FOR ORGANIZERS


Compiling a guidebook of community-determined best practices for safe and accessible nightlife events, along with protocols for inclusivity, sensitivity, equitable compensation, and fair treatment of workers and artists.


ONLINE RESOURCE HUB


We know that there are so many resources and organizations that already do good work - we want to be able to share these via an online resource centre where new nightlife organizers/ workers/ DJs/ performers/ partygoers can find out about them.


SERIES ON THE HISTORY OF MONTREAL UNDERGROUND NIGHTLIFE


Producing video and other documentary media that records the untold histories of underground nightlife in Montreal, helping contemporary communities situate themselves within a broader narrative and to understand the impacts of historical shifts in policy and socioeconomic displacement on their present context.


APP FOR SAFER EVENT SPACES


Developing a web and mobile app to allow nightlife artists, organizers, workers, and community members to lookup, review, and share information about venues and other event spaces, with the goal of improving transparency and communication within an often exploited and marginalized community, as well as holding venue operators accountable with respect to standards of safety, accessibility, inclusivity, and equitable compensation. The app will be modelled around the needs of queer, trans, and BIPOC individuals and communities. 


COMMUNITY-OWNED EVENT SPACES


Establishing programs towards the proliferation of not-for-profit or cooperative community-owned and -operated spaces to host workshops, classes, and meetings, as well as offering safe and well-resourced venues for queer/trans/BIPOC communities to organize nightlife events while ensuring self-sustainability and community reinvestment.





COMMUNITY CONSULTATION





FANTOM’s first survey closed February 28, 2023, with 106 participants giving detailed responses as part of our strategy to assess to needs of queer, trans, and BIPOC nightlife artists, organizers, and workers in Montreal’s underground. 

We presented intitial results of the survey at the 2023 MTL Sommet de Nuit, highlighting common themes from all of the input we've received from those who took a moment to share their dreams and concerns with us.

A full report will be published in the coming months.

We are currently establishing open working groups centred around the key themes identified by the survey. The outcomes of these conversations will form the basis for our guidebook and all of our advocacy work.




PRELIMINARY RESULTS


At the survey deadline, 106 respondents had given thoughtful, detailed, context-rich, often quite lengthy answers, which FANTOM researchers manually coded into 38 categories.

Queer, trans, and BIPOC respondants shared the same top two concerns:

1. Access to safe venues and event spaces

The most frequently mentioned need across all demographic groups was the access to safe venues and event spaces, with 61% of queer and trans, 58% of BIPOC, and 48% of non-QTBIPOC respondents bringing up this issue when asked in an open question to talk about the challenges they face in Montreal nightlife.

Answers often specified that by “safe” spaces they meant sensitive security, respectful crowds, good dancefloor safety policies. Many of these respondants mentioned experiences of physical harassment and other unpleasant or dangerous experiences with crowds.

2. Greater diversity of events

Queer, trans, and BIPOC groups also shared the same second top concern : greater diversity of events in terms of music genre, lineup diversity, and types of artists featured.

Lack of event diversity was brought up (unprompted) by 43% of BIPOC respondants and 29% of queer or trans respondants. By contrast, for those who did not identify as QTBIPOC, this was only the 8th most frequently stated issue, with only 13% of this group mentioning a need for great diversity of events.


The 3rd highest concern for queer and trans respondants was access to after-hours venues. 

For BIPOC respondants, financial accessbility of events was the 3rd highst concern. This was also one of the top concerns for queer and trans people, but very few non-QTBIPOC respondants mentioned financial accessibility.

Concerns about fair compensation for workers and artists, as well as more resources for harm reduction, were other top challenges brought up by queer, trans, and BIPOC groups. Both of these issues did not figure in the top subjects mentioned by non-QTBIPOC respondants.



Survey questions were open-ended, avoiding mentioning any specific issues or concerns to elicit the most candid and diverse answers possible.

As there were no pre-set categories to choose from, if a respondant did not mention a topic, it doesn't necessarily indicate they don't share a certain need or priority, they just did not actively mention it.



︎ A number of direct quotes from the hundreds of open responses are shared anonymously in a highlight on our Instagram page.




OUR
HISTORY



FANTOM was founded in 2022 in response to a groundswell of frustration among workers, performers, organizers, and other members of Montreal’s queer/trans/BIPOC/ally nightlife communities experiencing violence, harassment, exploitation, and misrepresentation. Taken together, these experiences were clear threats to the continued viability of underground and alternative nightlife in Montreal. Incorporating FANTOM as a not-for-profit organization in Quebec was the first step towards being able to better understand and respond to these threats through collective action.




THE
HOUSING
CRISIS
IS A
NIGHTLIFE
CRISIS






TAKE ACTION


→ send an email to the housing minister

Bill 31 is still under study, either for the next couple weeks or months. But for the government to reverse course, we must express our disapproval of the legislation en masse.

Write to the housing minister urging revisions to Bill 31 to keep tenants’ right to a lease transfer.

Emails and letter template here.
 


WHAT ARE LEASE TRANSFERS?


Lease transfers are one of the last defenses against the displacement of queer, trans, immigrant, BIPOC, and working-class communities—the heart of our city and our nightlife.

When moving out, many Montreal residents will choose to transfer their lease—instead of declining to renew— to prevent their landlord from arbitrarily raising rent on the incoming tenant. 

Lease transfers help keep housing costs reasonable for everyone—not just those who rent.  They discourage speculation in real estate by making it harder for landlords and investors to rely on rent increases in their perpetual race for higher profits.

Informal lease transfer networks also provide an essential alternative for those facing housing discrimination from biased landlords.

Lease transfers are also a way for us to look out for each other—they have been essential in preventing displacement of queer, BIPOC, immigrant, and working-class communities.

Even the threat of a lease transfer can put renters in a better position to compel their landlords to meet lease obligations and make essential repairs. They are one of the few actions at our disposal before resorting to disconnected tribunals to defend against exploitation and neglect.

→ info on how to transfer your lease here 



WHY DOES BILL 31 MATTER?


Underground art/ists depend on affordable rent.  Bill 31, the CAQ’s bid to end lease transfers, is a direct attack on our art & communities. 

If Bill 31 is adopted, it will officially give homeowners the right to refuse a lease transfer without bearing the onus of just cause. The proposed changes will enrich landlords, encourage evictions, and eliminate one of our last weapons in the fight against rampant gentrification & rent hikes across Montreal.  

In addition to exacerbating homelessness and other forms of precarity, an end to lease transfers would spell the end of affordable housing in Montreal—ringing the death bell for some of Montreal’s most vibrant and innovative artistic communities.

Montreal is the only city in Canada with more renters than homeowners, and unsurprisingly, underground artists and other essential creative workers are among the most likely to find themselves renting.

Creative experimentation has been able to flourish in Montreal over the decades due in large part to the city’s relatively affordable rent. 

Higher cost-of-living will directly undermine the freedom of independent creators and organizers to work outside of business-oriented frameworks.

When artists are forced to prioritize the bottom line because they cannot find affordable rent anywhere in the city, the connections between social movements and the arts are also undercut. This damages the accessibility of scenes, as well as possibilities for experimentation and diversity essential to an innovative nightlife scene.

Like so many cities at the mercy of unchecked speculation, Montreal risks becoming a lifeless cultural relic. Rising housing costs have been displacing artists, immigrants, and working-class communities for decades—but it’s not too late to stop the city from becoming another San Francisco.

CAQ’s rationale for Bill 31 centres on mom and pop landlords, but the proposed legislation will particularly enrich corporate landlords—who own dozens to thousands of units each. 

The majority of Montreal’s rental housing is owned by commercial landlords—66% of the city’s rental housing is owned by landlords managing 5 or more units, and 54% of rentals in Montreal are managed by landlords with 10 or more units.*

31.7% of the city’s rental units are owned by just 0.46% of Montreal’s residential property owners. 179,606 homes in Montreal belong to just the 600 landlords, each with between 73 and 5,680 units in their portfolios—a group average of 300 units per landlord. 

CAQ housing policies disproportionately benefit this small handful of commercial landlords—at the cost of our city’s culture, nightlife, and basic livability.

If the CAQ wanted to protect smaller landlords, they could have drafted the legislation providing tools specifically for landlords who live in the same duplex / triplex as their tenants.

The story of an artistic golden age never starts with a housing crisis, but it too often ends with one.

If you're an artist, an organizer, a student, a tenant, an immigrant—or simply enjoy underground & alternative nightlife—now is the time to show up.

→ send an email to the housing minister now


*Calculated by Cloe St-Hilaire using 2020 data from “High Rises or Housing Stress” (2023), Journal of the American Planning Association


WHY DOES QUEBEC NEED A RENT REGISTRY?


An official government rent registry would provide access to a unit’s rent history without having to appear before a housing tribunal.

While new tenants have the right to invoke section G of their lease—which compels landlords to disclose the lowest rent paid by the previous tenant in the year prior to the new lease—many are either unaware of their rights or may want to avoid jeopardizing their housing security.

Housing tribunal appearances are publicly logged, and future landlords may refuse to rent to you if they see you have invoked section G.

While landlords are not yet compelled to use it, there is a new non-governmental Rental Registry where tenants can enter their rent—an important act of solidarity with other tenants to help keep landlords in check and help preserve housing affordability across the city. 

→ add your rent to the registry

→ learn more about your rights as a tenant









info@fantomtl.ca        438.940.5048       ︎